During the Capitals 3-2 overtime victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins, there was a fight in the third period. Before I continue, let me put the fight in context: Jay Beagle is a hard-nosed young player. He has no fighting experience. He’s trying to secure himself a roster spot, so he’s been doing what he does best with his limited playing time: playing hard and doing what he can to stand out. Letang and Beagle had been getting physical for most of the game. Beagle took offense to a late hit by Letang. He saw this as an opportunity to stand out. He went after Letang (which is a HUGE no-no). After Beagle got called for roughing (for going after Letang), Aaron Asham did what any enforcer would do: He stood up for his teammate Letang. It was actually a good fight until Beagle left himself wide open, and Asham took advantage by hitting Beagle in the jaw twice, dropping him to the ground. Asham did some inappropriate gestures, but later apologized for them, saying that he just got caught up in the moment (which is completely understandable).
Here’s my opinion on fighting in hockey, particularly in the NHL: I think to a point, fighting is exciting. Hockey is extremely physical, and sometimes players need to fight it out. I understand that. However, Asham broke what is in my mind an unwritten rule by going after Beagle. Asham is respected around the league as one of the best enforcers around. Beagle is just a scrub, for lack of a better term. Enforcers like Asham should stick to fighting other enforcers, for two reasons:
1. Check out the video of the fight here. Beagle got his butt kicked and could have been seriously hurt. When one guy just destroys the other guy, fighting is no longer exciting.
2. When enforcers fight enforcers, it’s a lot more fun, and they usually don’t wind up hurting each other that badly. Enforcers shouldn’t just go after everyone who approaches them. Even Donald Brashear didn’t fight everyone. He’d usually stick to other enforcers.
Here’s how it should have gone down: Beagle should have fought Kris Letang. Kris Letang is a big guy, but he’s not nearly as highly respected around the league as Asham. Better yet, Beagle probably shouldn’t have accepted Asham’s challenge. Leave that battle to the enforcers.
I do respect Asham for showing concern for Beagle, and tapping his stick to cheer him once he got up. However, the fight should not have happened. Asham had no right to go after someone like Beagle. Replace Beagle with Brooks Laich, then Asham probably would have been justified. Fighting can be fun, but when it involves one guy just destroying the other guy, it ceases to be fun and starts to become dangerous.
Here is the fight.