Capitals escape ugly game with victory
The Penguins and Washington Capitals began their game Thursday by honoring victims of the plane crash that wiped out a Russian hockey team. By evening's end, they were throwing haymakers on and off the ice.
Right wing Arron Asham's apparent knockout of Washington center Jay Beagle -- and subsequent celebratory gesture while Beagle remained on the ice -- ignited harsh words following the Capitals' 3-2 overtime victory at Consol Energy Center.
"It happens in fights," Washington defenseman Karl Alzner said. "It's crappy to see. Have a little class, you know?"
Asham apologized for the gesture after the game. Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau said he thought Asham knocked out Beagle, who was temporarily motionless on the ice, with 14:06 remaining in the third period. Asham then made a "knockout" gesture with his arms while skating to the penalty box. Reaction to Asham's gesture became an Internet sensation, even registering with WWE fans, who believe the reference was aimed toward wrestler CM Punk.
"I didn't want to hurt the kid," Asham said.
Coach Dan Bylsma admitted that it was a regrettable situation.
"It was the heat of the moment," Bylsma said. "Emotions got the best of him. Wishes he could have it back. He stuck up for a teammate. I don't think anyone likes what ensued after that."
Asham was coming to defenseman Kris Letang's defense on the play. Beagle had punched Letang moments earlier, earning a penalty. Before play came to a stop, Asham had challenged Beagle to the fight.
Washington captain Alex Ovechkin, who scored his first goal of the season, didn't appreciate Asham's behavior.
"I don't know what other people think, but I think it's kind of not respectful," said Ovechkin, who yelled at Asham while they were in their respective penalty boxes. "Beagle, it's his first year in the NHL. Asham, I don't know if he knows it or not. He's not a fighter, it's not his job to fight. It's kind of disrespectful."
Left winger Mike Knuble, who scored Washington's first goal, played with Asham in Philadelphia and came to his old teammate's defense.
"You hate to see your teammate go down," Knuble said. "I played with Arron. He's an honest player."
Beagle was helped off the ice by teammates and Capitals trainers. Knuble said he was in good spirits after the game.
"Jay got popped a pretty good one," Boudreau said. "He's going against a tough customer, a guy who has been used to fighting. Jay's not used to fighting, and he got tagged a good one."
This was merely the latest heated installment in what many feel is hockey's best rivalry. Right winger James Neal scored both Penguins goals, and center Evgeni Malkin, playing for the first time after missing two games with a knee injury, received assists on both goals.
The Penguins (3-0-2, 8 points) have opened the season with points in each of their five games over eight nights.
Still, this game will be remembered for Asham's knockout punch and the reaction that followed.
"Always a close game when we play because they're good and we're good," Letang said. "It was intense, just like always."
How they scored
» Penguins, 1-0 (2:27): Left wing Steve Sullivan passed from left dot to right dot, where Right wing James Neal one-timed low shot past slow-moving Washington goalie Tomas Vokoun.
» Capitals, 1-1 (1:20): Right wing Mike Knuble took pass from Right wing Alex Semin, barreled way to the net and scored when puck glanced off defenseman Deryk Engelland and through goalie Brent Johnson.
» Capitals, 2-1 (:40): Left wing Alex Ovechkin tipped defenseman Mike Green's shot past Johnson on a play that was originally ruled no goal.
» Penguins, 2-2: (16:15) Right wing Neal took a pass from center Evgeni Malkin and, streaking down the left wing, fired a shot between Vokoun's legs.
» Capitals, 3-2 (2:48): Defenseman Dennis Wideman wristed a shot past Johnson on a 4-on-3 power play with center Jordan Staal in the penalty box.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Penguins’ Sutter, Downie, Greiss being tested for mumps, out tonight
- Downie, Farnham bringing a much-needed edge to the Penguins
- Ex-Penguins defenseman Niskanen still miffed by coaches’ firings
- Minor league report: Other prospects on Penguins’ radar
- Penguins notebook: Memorable night for Pouliot, Trocheck
- Penguins notebook: Kunitz ‘really close’ to return
- Penguins star Crosby talks about his experience with mumps
- Pouliot scores in NHL debut as Penguins tame Panthers
- Penguins notebook: Players back team doctors in mumps aftermath
- Penguins notebook: Zatkoff returns to team as Fleury’s backup
- With 3 more players possibly affected, Pens’ mumps fight escalates