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Matt Bradley steals Ovechkin's fight

The Caps' 7-4 loss in Tampa provided few moments of good cheer. Here's one of them. It's a four-man drama featuring perpetual fan favorite Matt Bradley, reigning MVP Alex Ovechkin, a dude in black and white stripes, and this fella named Steve Downie, who has already gotten two suspensions of at least 20 games, who once cross-checked his own teammate (reportedly over a past disagreement when the teammate refused to go into a bus bathroom with naked teammates as part of a hazing ritual), and who was once described on an NHL scouting report as "a bit of a rat."

Here we go. The actual video is at Capitals Outsider, if you're so inclined.

In scene one, young Downie and Ovechkin have both exited the penalty box, and happened to run into each other during a carefree trip down the ice. They exchange pleasantries, talk about the late-night TV shakeup, and express utter bewilderment at the USC situation. It's like, Lane Kiffin? Really? Never saw that coming.

Come to think of it, though, real men don't say hello with their gloves on. Why don't you shake those things off, boys, and greet each other like our ancestors did.

(Continued, while thinking about how Ovi once told Donald Brashear, "I want to learn how to fight.")

Wait wait wait wait just a second. It appears these two players might be approaching each other with harmful intentions. That changes everything. And in the centuries old ritual, first Alex reaches for his chin strap.

Then Downie does the same. Cue the music, Myrna, because this square dance is about to begin.

And here, drama comes to the fore, via Ovechkin's tortured internal dialog, which I'll quote in full.

"Steve, I'm right here!" he's thinking. "Right here in front of you! Hello! Dude, can't you see me? Why are you looking off to your left, which is my right? Steve, have you forgotten what we came here to do? Hey! Yo! Over here! Steeeeeeeeeeeve....."

"Oh," concludes Ovechkin, as No. 10 flies warp speed into the picture. "Right."

Now, I know I'm not the only one who, as a high schooler, once brought a young lady to a formal dance, only to see her wind up in the arms of another man. This is approximately what that felt like.

And this is what it felt like when that young lady started making out with the other man directly in front of me.

And this is what it felt like when that other man then began striking the young lady repeatedly in the face. Tell me again, how do you say "third wheel" in Russian?

And as Ovechkin's starring role fades into obscurity, Bradley takes over the scene. "Do you see my fist?" he asks Downie, and the world, really? "It was fists like these that built quaint Canadian cities out of the harsh Canadian wilderness, etc. etc."

And as the scene ends, Bradley reminds the world that he has extendable rubber superhero punching arms, and also that this is the reason why fans love him so.

"I didn't see him actually," Ovechkin said after the game. "So I dropped my helmet, dropped my gloves, ready to fight, and Brads jumped in the fight for me. He do a great job."

"We had a guy like that going after our best player, obviously we can't let that happen," Bradley added. "I'll bet they would do the exact same thing if someone was squaring off with Stamkos. I mean, you don't let guys like that go after your best players, and he's our best player. And no matter who it is, we're not gonna allow someone like Downie to go after him."

By Dan Steinberg  |  January 12, 2010; 11:24 PM ET
Categories:  Caps  
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Best. Bog. Post. Ever!

Posted by: rucks35 | January 12, 2010 11:45 PM | Report abuse

Chill out. It's only hockey.

Posted by: Section117 | January 12, 2010 11:46 PM | Report abuse

vid link rocked. thanks.

Posted by: DadRyan | January 12, 2010 11:59 PM | Report abuse

I'm of the opinion that Ovechkin can, and should be allowed to, handle business as needed.

Bradley is of the opinion that we pay Ovechkin almost $10 million a year.

I think, somehow, we're both right.

Posted by: false_cause | January 13, 2010 12:52 AM | Report abuse

Matt Bradley is my hero!

Posted by: stwasm | January 13, 2010 7:57 AM | Report abuse

From the video linked above:
"Dan Seinberg of The Washington Post has a hilarious frame-for-frame recap of the fight."

And all this time you tricked us into thinking your last name was Steinberg. How dare you?

No respect...

Posted by: Fro_ | January 13, 2010 8:08 AM | Report abuse

Genius post, love it!

Posted by: fourteenth_and_otis | January 13, 2010 8:12 AM | Report abuse

The fight was the most exciting part of the game.

I love Ovie's quote: "he do a great job."

Brads for Prez 2012!!!

Posted by: capswench | January 13, 2010 8:18 AM | Report abuse

I am not a big hockey guy, but one thing I will always respect about the sport is that the commentators in the video are not discussing the fight itself but wether the guy did not break the rules when he got on the ice. Hell they were giving props to the guy for stepping in for 8.

Any sport that has rules about fighting gets my respect.

Posted by: alex35332 | January 13, 2010 8:37 AM | Report abuse

Man Brads flew in there like a bat out of hell! He is so cool! OV looked a bit peplexed! I think OV wanted Downie almost asmuch as Downie wanted him.

Posted by: capscoach | January 13, 2010 8:44 AM | Report abuse

Well played, Dan. Well played.

Posted by: HornGuy | January 13, 2010 8:49 AM | Report abuse

Brads did his job well but did you want to see Ovi pound that little rat Downie... we all know how soft Downie makes things.. hockey players included

Posted by: heathdog1119 | January 13, 2010 8:55 AM | Report abuse

It's like McSorley and Gretzky all over again. Old Time Hockey. Bradley deserves to have a spot on the bench with a name plate on it.

Posted by: blanknerc | January 13, 2010 9:01 AM | Report abuse

Brilliant! After that loss last night, it was great to get a LOL outta something. Thanks Steinz!!

Posted by: CapsKH | January 13, 2010 9:15 AM | Report abuse

This was a rough game to watch (other than the 2nd period) but seeing a furious Ovi made it all worth it. I would have LOVED to see Ovi pummel Downie, but Brads did the right thing and stepped in.

Posted by: MillBurray | January 13, 2010 9:17 AM | Report abuse

Let the excuses fro mthe lightning fans rain in("he came out of nowhere", Downie didn't see him", etc.).

Don't fight, if your head isn't on a swivel.

Posted by: Rocc00 | January 13, 2010 9:22 AM | Report abuse

Steinberg. Way to get back to hockey.

Brads and Ovy rule. Almost makes you forget they got spanked by Tampa.

Posted by: CF11555 | January 13, 2010 9:25 AM | Report abuse

how nice it must be for ovechkin to have his big sister to fight for him. from a tampa perspective the whole thing should embarrass any self-respecting "superstar."

Posted by: sruss13 | January 13, 2010 9:26 AM | Report abuse

You need to take up Brads' offer of getting punched in the face next time. You can totally brag you've been KO'ed by THE Matt Bradley.

Thanks for getting back into the hockey groove of things! Funniest Bog post in a long while.

Posted by: kinokonoko | January 13, 2010 9:37 AM | Report abuse

This was a fantastic post.

I love Brads more and more after every game. What a team player.

Posted by: JD09 | January 13, 2010 9:38 AM | Report abuse

Go Brads, go!

Posted by: info_stuporhighway | January 13, 2010 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Way to go Brads! Nice one, Dan.

Posted by: ridgely1 | January 13, 2010 9:45 AM | Report abuse

Steve Downie please go back the the AHL where you belong. OV makes more money in a month than you make in a year.

Posted by: madflava | January 13, 2010 10:05 AM | Report abuse

this just proves that, at a minimum, Brads should have received an "A" on his sweater.

Posted by: doughless | January 13, 2010 10:22 AM | Report abuse

Ovie takes a run at Downie after getting his new twig, goes knee to knee and still doesnt knock him down. Downie connects on Ovie's nose (watch 8 check for blood on the way to the box). Later Downie sees Brads coming and still takes him down by the boards. And Steckel should be embarrassed getting his hide tanned by 5'11" Knopka. Zebras had to break in to rescue him from the pounding he was taking. Looks to me like the Caps got beat in the alley as well

Posted by: MoeLoog | January 13, 2010 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Post of the year, hands down.

Posted by: nafspac | January 13, 2010 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Bradley is a man...

Unlike like you Steinberg!

Posted by: Hondo5 | January 13, 2010 10:36 AM | Report abuse

When Brads gets fined, the team shouldn't let him even think about writing a check.

Posted by: JoeTink | January 13, 2010 10:39 AM | Report abuse

McPhee is an idiot not to have a real enforcer. Ovechkin shouldn't have to deal with scum like Downie and Bradley instills fear in no one, despite his big heart. Not to mention that having Ovie in the penalty box all third period isn't helpful. McPhee needs to get a real enforcer.

Posted by: poguesmahone | January 13, 2010 10:46 AM | Report abuse

McPhee is an idiot not to have a real enforcer. Ovechkin shouldn't have to deal with scum like Downie and Bradley instills fear in no one, despite his big heart. Not to mention that having Ovie in the penalty box all third period isn't helpful. McPhee needs to get a real enforcer.

Posted by: poguesmahone | January 13, 2010 10:46 AM

Shhhh! The pacifists might hear you! haha More to the point, everyone who STILL thinks the Caps don't need a bona fide "don't mess with our stars" tough guy needs to read this book:

The Code: The Unwritten Rules of Fighting and Retaliation in the NHL (by Ross Bernstein)

And, major props to Dan for this very creative and funny blog post. Good job man!

Posted by: MetalCapsFan | January 13, 2010 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Can someone please explain to me how the first Ovechkin-Downey exchange ended up 4 on 4? Ovechkin's hit was clean. Downey takes exception and starts pounding away at Ovechkin. And on the second exchange what was unsportsmanlike conduct on Ovechkin?

Posted by: ouvan59 | January 13, 2010 11:12 AM | Report abuse

I absolutely adore Matt Bradley and I despise anyone who hates on him.

That being said, I wonder if Tampa is feeling bad because they ran the score up on us?

(that last snarky comment will be directed to those whole read Ted's blog post about how he'd prefer the Caps win games 2-1 instead of 8-1 after we decimated the Thrashers the other night)

Posted by: bumperhead | January 13, 2010 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Fists that built "quaint Canadian cities" ..

Very good.

Posted by: tslats | January 13, 2010 11:41 AM | Report abuse

@MoeLoog Dude put down the crack pipe.
OV's hit was a clean shoulder to shoulder no knee you turd. He didn't leave his feet, etc etc. Then if I recall OV held Downie on his back for some time cursing in Russian I would imagine and Downie didn't like it. The only good thing downie did was to get enough under OV to get him in the box again. I would have loved to see OV pound the crap out of Downie, but oh well. Now the Stecks fight...ugh.

Posted by: Iceman10 | January 13, 2010 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Downie probably thought he had an easy fight with Ovie, but then a blur skates into the picture and starts shooting "The Big Hand" down on Downie's head

You gotta love Big Bad Matt Bradley for that. And I'm sure Ovie got him a nice Rolex for that..

Posted by: ENJOYA | January 13, 2010 12:05 PM | Report abuse

As of this moment in the season, Matt Bradley is the team's MVP

Posted by: MikeL-Caps911 | January 13, 2010 12:19 PM | Report abuse

So, to summarize:
1. TB fans are hypocrites [no way they'd let StL, Vinny, Stamkos, etc. tangle with the likes of scum like Downie ]
2. Steinberg's a genius
3. OV's brave - maybe too brave for his own good [Downie grew up fighting on skates]
4. Bradley has huge heart
5. GMGM is a freaking idiot to still not realize that OV, Semin, Nick and Green are targets.

Posted by: govtimbo | January 13, 2010 12:45 PM | Report abuse

The Caps do not need a goon. Fun to stand up and watch a fight? Yes. Does it help in April? No. Does it protect stars? Hell no. It just means that after a star is hurt, one team's goon squares up with the other team's goon. Ho-hum.

Did Brashear help Semin when Backes took him out last year with a dirty hit last year? No. How about Green when Pronger crunched him in Anaheim? Again, no.

Posted by: HeShootsHeScores | January 13, 2010 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Give me a Bradley over a Brashear any day. Is Bradley half the fighter that Brashear is? No. However, he is twice the hockey player and actually produces at both ends from time-to-time. All Brashear produced was the occasional fight with a fellow goon and very little hockey skill.

Posted by: HeShootsHeScores | January 13, 2010 1:07 PM | Report abuse

"Ovie takes a run at Downie after getting his new twig, goes knee to knee and still doesnt knock him down. Downie connects on Ovie's nose (watch 8 check for blood on the way to the box). Later Downie sees Brads coming and still takes him down by the boards. And Steckel should be embarrassed getting his hide tanned by 5'11" Knopka. Zebras had to break in to rescue him from the pounding he was taking. Looks to me like the Caps got beat in the alley as well"

what now we have Tampa fans on our site dissing our guys too. Long story short, Tampa's arena was screwed by the "circus" (figures) so their ice sheet was disgusting. We couldnt have a morning skate becuz of some stupid call to try and fix the ice before practice instead of having ur visitor skate first than work on the ice for about 4-5 hours. And this knee on knee Halpern is talking about, didnt happen. Downie slashed-hacked Ovi's stick(which isnt that considered dirty as well) and like someone said before, if that had happened to St. Louis or Stamkos Tampa would have been up in arms. Solid shoulder to chest hit by Ovi and Stewie didnt like it so he threw in an uppercut. I would say that yah Stecks got handled but the Lightning by that time were getting full of themselves and starting that kind of stuff, i wouldnt back down either. But Stewie got what he deserved, he could have broken someones hand with that (2 handed Crosby slash hack) so Brads gave him about 5-6 good shots to the side of the head. Hahahahaha is what i say to the Lightning, dont cry becuz your little enforcer got handled by ours when he was obviously trying to pull a David Koci and hurt someone. Its funny how Ovi gets suspended once for a call like that so now everytime he gets a good hit the haters use this as an excuse. They should all thank Cindy and Don Cherry, without them hating Ovi im not sure anyone would. (Well maybe Mike Richards would, but he's alrite)

Posted by: CapsBoy52 | January 13, 2010 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Stevie is waht i meant, kept wanting to hit w i guess

Posted by: CapsBoy52 | January 13, 2010 1:17 PM | Report abuse

"what now we have Tampa fans on our site dissing our guys too."

And yet you felt the need to mention Crosby twice in response to a bog post that had nothing to do with him.

Posted by: RoachVA141 | January 13, 2010 1:24 PM | Report abuse


BRADS: Way to send the "message":


ON STECKS: IMHO, he did OK considering this was what? his first NHL fight...ever? ...and against a guy who fights all the time?

Posted by: Rhino40 | January 13, 2010 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Halpern is just bitter that he had the misfortune to spend his best years on a terrible Caps squad and left just as things were ready to take off. It has to kill him that the Caps are now a top team and the Caps' C is the best player in the world.

Posted by: HeShootsHeScores | January 13, 2010 1:28 PM | Report abuse

More Brads: And no bleeding, either!

Posted by: Rhino40 | January 13, 2010 1:30 PM | Report abuse

You can retire after that post, Dan. Wonderful.

Posted by: JohninMpls | January 13, 2010 1:33 PM | Report abuse


1. Vinny fights... plenty more times than the Ovary.
2. MSL plays a clean game, doesn't lead to many fights.
3. In two years, Stamkos has the exact same number of fighting majors as Ovary. Once again though, apples to oranges, although talented, Stamkos doesn't play the same cheap shot game that the Ovary plays.

Long and the short of it, Ovechkin, as talented as he is, plays a dirty game, and one of these days he's going to have to answer for it. Props to Bradley for making sure that last night wasn't the night, but for the team to lose that badly and for them to see their "captain" get his ass kicked probably wouldn't have been a great morale booster.

One of these days, Ovary is gonna get put into the boards like he did Jamie Heward last year and no one is going to feel bad.

(Also, always remember, Crosby isn't afraid to drop the gloves either. Ovary is a punk.)

Posted by: rhinob5959 | January 13, 2010 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Also, this is fun, watch this video of Vinny kicking the crap out of Shaone Morrison..

Posted by: rhinob5959 | January 13, 2010 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Q - How do I remove Pepsi spray from my keyboard after reading that play by play?

Posted by: quinn6 | January 13, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse

This is the first time that Tampa Bay has beaten the Caps since November 2007. Since then, the Caps have developed into one of the NHL's elite while Tampa Bay has remained irrelevant.

The nice thing about being up 14 points in a laugher of a Divisional race is that morale is not too much of a concern.

Posted by: HeShootsHeScores | January 13, 2010 3:25 PM | Report abuse

yah see these are the haters im talkin about, and i brought up Cindy's name twice because i am a caps fan and i think he is a punk. just like everyone else who comes in here tryin to be controversial and stir things up. like this guy callin Ovi ovary. ill bet that took all night for him to think up. oh and stamkos isnt the best player in the world, Ovi is. so naturally everyone is gonna watch more closely how he plays, and people who hate are gonna turn little things into nothing to try and sully his name, like CRYSBY. Long story short is that Downie got what he deserved from Bradley, and their is no way the lightning, i dont care what their fans say, would have let St. Louis or Stamkos fight some goon like that. Lecavalier maybe, and thats a big maybe, but he's also not the player he used to be. if he fights and gets hurt thats nothing compared to losing MSL or Stamkos. And maybe just maybe bolts fans if you watch the replay on the hit Ovi layed on Downie, maybe you can get over yourselves enough to see there was no knee on knee contact, Downie just didnt see it and he didnt like it so he threw an uppercut and a tantrum. Thats a badass for ya

Posted by: CapsBoy52 | January 13, 2010 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Good for Bradley. A pile of sh*t like Downie has absolutely no business breathing on Ovie. I would encourage the bench to hop onto the ice to take on Downie if that's what it takes. The only person Downie should be allowed to fight is a fellow convicted felon.

Posted by: MACCHAMPS04 | January 13, 2010 4:13 PM | Report abuse

"the Caps have developed into one of the NHL's elite"- can't seem to take that final step though, can they?

One thing MSL and Vinny have that Ovary never will is a skate with the Cup...

Posted by: rhinob5959 | January 13, 2010 4:39 PM | Report abuse


Crysby is pretty original too... must have taken you a few years to come up with.

Posted by: rhinob5959 | January 13, 2010 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Ovechkin will never skate with the Cup? Only a biased moron would make that statement with certainty.

Conversely, I think most people would gladly wager that Vinny and Marty will never skate with the Cup again in Tampa Bay. I'm not trying to take away your fond memories, especially since hockey in Tampa could be nothing but a memory in the near future, but you're really just proving my point about the current state of your favorite team.

Today, January 13, 2010, Tampa Bay is one of the worst teams in the East. Conversely, the Caps are one of the best teams in the NHL. Things were different in 2004, but that was a long time ago. Today, Tampa Bay has a better shot at moving to Hamilton than it does of winning the Stanley Cup.

Posted by: HeShootsHeScores | January 13, 2010 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Fine, I'll qualify my statement. Ovary will never skate with the cup as long as Malkin and Crosby are in the league.

Never said the Bolts were anywhere near where they were in '04, but like I said, at least they have a Cup...

Posted by: rhinob5959 | January 13, 2010 4:55 PM | Report abuse

I think CapsBoy52's been listening to a little too much of "Caps Rap".

Posted by: RoachVA141 | January 13, 2010 5:03 PM | Report abuse


You've got a very small willy, haven't you?
You're obviously trying to compensate for something. Then again, it could be brain size.....

Posted by: richardware | January 13, 2010 5:16 PM | Report abuse

When I think about how these guys play for each other, I well up a little, no kidding. This is a special team and they will win the cup one day. This year, next, or in the not too distant future. Bradley is a stud. Massive heart in that one.

Posted by: kevbnyc | January 13, 2010 5:26 PM | Report abuse

Dan Steinberg for Norris Trophy!

Posted by: JakeShapiro | January 13, 2010 5:28 PM | Report abuse

Thank you richardware, I know my work here is done since now we are resorting to comments about the size of genitalia... nice! Glad I could get you ladies worked up!

We'll see you girls on 1/31. I'm hoping the Bolts bring Big Mitch Fritz up from Norfolk to deal with the ovary... or maybe Downie will finish him off.

Posted by: rhinob5959 | January 13, 2010 6:04 PM | Report abuse

funny Dan very funny... LOL

BTW to troll rhinob5959, how many paint thinners or cheap shht do I have to inhale to understand ya post?

Posted by: samiismoni14 | January 13, 2010 6:19 PM | Report abuse

@rhino: yeah, like when Crosby suckered the guy off the draw, that time? yeah, it takes a real tough dude to sucker somebody with their head's down and their hunched over; you're right about Crosby, he's a tough one alright. Malkin's better anyway.

I'll take it back about Vinny though.

As to all the others parroting GMGM's line about not needing an enforcer - of course there's no fighting in the playoffs, that's a given. But the regular season is 82 freaking games long. That's a lot of opportunities for punks like Steve Downie to take runs at OV and the rest.

Posted by: govtimbo | January 14, 2010 11:56 AM | Report abuse


I loved Brashear, not because I liked fights but because there are role players out there willing to lay their body on the line for their team. The problem with the enforcer arguement though is that if the Caps have an enforcer, it reinforces the myth that one is needed. Who takes runs on our star players? Goons/Enforcers. So, really perpetuating the myth that enforcers are needed is just counterproductive.

No enforcer prevents guys from hurting skilled players. They can retaliate, but that is usually meaningless. The morale aspect of a fight breaking out to fire up your team is a point, but I think most of us would rather see a skilled player out there instead, scoring goals.

Noone dismisses the fact that there are knuckle draggers playing hockey who can't handle a puck to save their lives. Its just that when you come right down to it, two wrongs don't make a right.

P.S. Don't Feed the Trolls.

Posted by: CapsKnewbie | January 14, 2010 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Downie got Ovechkin off the ice for 4 minutes and got a PP for the Lightning. Victory for Downie.

On the original flare up after the 3rd man in was a Capital, Stamkos came to help Downie.

Pound for pound, NO player in the NHL is tougher than Martin St. Louis.

And Vinny fights his own battles. He fought Jerome Iginla in the Stanley Cup Finals.

You should be ashamed of Bradley. It's just further evidence of Ovechkin's growing rep as an instigator. He seems to dish it out and then cry "superstar" when payback comes.

Posted by: Madmaxbolt | January 14, 2010 5:04 PM | Report abuse

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