It has taken me a couple of days to filter through what has been said and organize my thoughts on “The Fight.”
If this comes across in a “Get off my lawn,” tone, I apologize, but some things just need to be said.
It amazes me how one fight has set the hockey world on fire.
Let’s set the scene, shall we?
The Penguins were down 2-1 in the third period of Thursday’s game against the Washington Capitals.
Washington’s Jay Beagle got into a minor shoving match with Kris Letang and ripped the defenseman’s helmet off of his head.
Arron Asham saw it and skated over to Beagle to tell him to think twice about doing it again.
According to Asham, Beagle challenged him and he obliged. Two punches later, the fight was over and the Internet exploded over Asham’s go to sleep motion en route to the penalty box.
Asham called it a classless move on his part and apologized as such.
The thing is, it’s not all that rare to see someone gesture to the crowd after winning a fight. (Here’s a few from Dan Carcillo.)
However, I can see where people would have an issue with the particular one Asham employed.
In my opinion, the outcry over it is completely absurd and it has nothing to do with it being a Capital being on the wrong end of things. If it was a Penguin who got knocked out, I’d still be writing this.
Side note: the last three games I’ve gone to at CONSOL Energy Center, Colton Orr got knocked out by Deryk Engelland, Rick DiPietro was dropped by Brent Johnson and now Asham beat Beagle.
A major factor in everyone taking notice of this is because it was a game between the Capitals and Penguins.
Would I be annoyed if an opposing player made the same gesture after a fight? Sure, but let’s not go off the deep end and start trying to draw false conclusions between unrelated discussions.
What I found particularly unsettling in the aftermath was some writers out there trying to lump fighting and headshots into one discussion.
The last time I checked, in a fight you willingly engage with your opponent knowing the risk of injury is one punch away.
A headshot is what the league is cracking down on in terms of hitting. Direct blows to the head while trying to deliver a check are the issue.
To clarify, checking and fighting are two entirely different issues at the forefront of the NHL at this time. Trying to link them together is utter nonsense.
Like it or not, fighting is a part of the game. However, incidents like this one bring the anti-fighting contingent out of the woodwork.
Somewhat lost in all of this is Alex Ovechkin criticizing Asham for taking on an inexperienced fighter.
Would Ovechkin have felt better about watching a teammate get dropped if Pascal Dupuis, Ben Lovejoy or some other “inexperienced” Penguin had done it?
Will Ovechkin be the first guy in line to challenge Asham when the two teams meet again on Dec. 1?
I wouldn’t put money on it considering Ovechkin only has two regular season fights to his credit according to HockeyFights.com
Even if this did happen, would Ovechking continue to criticize Asham for taking on inexperienced fighters? It would be one thing if Matt Hendricks had been calling out Asham.
We also don’t need to bring up the embarrassing 50th goal celebration Ovechkin displayed in 2009 do we?
Also, if Asham was really such a bad guy, would he have gently let Beagle fall to the ice?
After the second punch, Beagle was out on his feet. Had Asham just let go of the jersey, Beagle would have slammed his face against the ice, which could have caused even more damage.
Instead, Asham guided him to the ice and skated away knowing the fight was over.
You never want to see a guy get hurt and it’s unfortunate Beagle went down that hard, but let’s just put this issue to bed already.
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