Asham fights to save face
A day after knocking out Washington Capitals center Jay Beagle, Penguins right winger Arron Asham fought to save face Friday, repeatedly apologizing for his post-fight antics that drew criticism from both benches.
Asham called his showboating "classless" -- a sentiment echoed by Penguins coach Dan Bylsma -- and used the word "unfortunate" five times to express regret for making an "out" gesture and motioning "asleep" with his hands after landing two titanic right hands to Beagle's face during the teams' game Thursday at Consol Energy Center.
"I didn't know he was unconscious," Asham said. "I obviously want to win the fight, but I don't want to hurt anyone. I held him up at the end so he didn't smash his face (on the ice)."
Beagle had to be helped off the ice. Asham yesterday repeatedly made it clear he was upset about Beagle's state.
The Capitals were more upset about Asham's dropping a player with no NHL fights than his gestures.
Asham, who was coming to defenseman Kris Letang's defense when he approached Beagle, offered this explanation:
"I didn't go up and ask him for a fight. I told him to settle down. He challenged me," Asham said. "I wasn't going after him asking to fight. We had a power play. I was telling him to settle down and stop running around, or he was going to have to fight. He wanted to fight."
Asham was annoyed that Washington captain Alex Ovechkin accused him of being disrespectful after the game, but the Capitals were receptive to Asham's apologies following their practice yesterday.
"He made good," Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau said. "I think his apology was really sincere, and it wasn't like it took him two weeks to apologize."
Capitals winger Matt Hendricks, Washington's most regular pugilist, also accepted Asham's apology. "He's an honest player," Hendricks said.
There was a feeling from both sides of the rivalry that Asham simply lost his judgment for a moment.
"I'm not that type of player," Asham said. "Guys around the league know I'm a pretty honest player."
That doesn't mean the next time the teams meet, it will be a nondescript game.
"I'm sure the next game is going to have a lot of fireworks," Asham said. "I'm sorry about what happened. It's part of the game. I know it was wrong, what I did. It's over and done with."Additional Information:
The Penguins and Washington Capitals have engaged in numerous controversial moments during the Sidney Crosby-Alex Ovechkin era:
>> Jan. 21, 2008: Ovechkin takes a number of runs at Penguins center Evgeni Malkin, prompting speculation of a feud between them. Malkin dumps a hard-charging Ovechkin behind the Penguins' net in a classic collision.
>> Feb. 22, 2009: Crosby and Ovechkin engage in a confrontation by the benches in Washington, and Crosby later says, 'Like it or lump it, that's what he does.'
>> May 8, 2009: Ovechkin's controversial hit injures former Penguins defenseman Sergei Gonchar's knee in Game 4 of a second-round playoff series.
>> Jan. 1, 2011: Former Washington center David Steckel levels Crosby with a hit to the head, which some suggest laid the foundation of Crosby's concussion symptoms.