In each of the past two games, an opponent has done something stupid to a member of the Washington Capitals. And for the second straight night, the Caps have punished the other team by running up the score on them.
I know people still clamor for an enforcer, but these two games are going to have an effect on the rest of the season. Teams know that if they do stupid things like jump call-ups at center ice or throw sucker punches before a guy can engage in a fight, the Caps are not only going to score, they are going to try and embarass you.
Is it as good of a deterrant as having Donald Brashear? Maybe not, but comparing the costs (free vs. $1.4 million plus the roster spot and shifts given to Brashear or a guy like him) I think you can make the argument that it is a better value.
Tonight’s incident involved Daniel Carcillo clocking Matt Bradley after cross-checking him twice, goading him into agreeing to a fight and then drilling him before Bradley could get his hands up to either a) block or b) punch. After watching the replay, it is clear that Carcillo cocks his fist to throw that punch while Bradley’s gloves are still on and he still has his stick in his left hand.
Semantics and frame-by-frame analysis aside, people don’t do that in the NHL unless you are retaliating for someone else pulling an illegal stunt. Carcillo was initiating the fight, which basically makes what he did a completely B.S. move and will likely earn him a suspension given his reputation.
Bradley said he was not knocked out, but his bell was rung and he was a little woozy. He had stitches put in his face, but he thinks he can play Monday in Tampa (just the fact that’s travelling with the team is a positive sign). Bruce Boudreau said the team will wait and see how he is tomorrow before deciding.
Here’s a few more notes from this rout:
* The Caps have scored 36 goals in 8 games without Alex Ovechkin. That’s 4.5 per game, which means the Caps offense has actually been WORSE with the two-time MVP than with him. Don’t think they won’t be welcoming him back with open arms Monday against the Lightning, though.
* David Steckel said he was “grinning from ear-to-ear” after the game. Steckel scored his first goal of the season after driving the net and converting a perfect feed from Mike Green in the third period.
Boudreau said he had Green, Alexander Semin and Nicklas Backstrom were on the ice for the power play to help Steckel get a goal and not to run up the score. Let’s just say it accomplished both objectives.
* Backstrom had his second career five-point game. Green had his second career four-point game. Backstrom now leads the team with 33 points. Ovechkin and Green have 30 each in second place.
* Tomas Fleischmann had two more goals, giving him eight in eight games without Ovechkin. He has one in 10 games with Ovechkin in the lineup.