PITTSBURGH — Arron Asham skated to the penalty box as Jay Beagle lay face-first on the ice. The Penguins tough guy was the victor in the fight between the two, and he celebrated that by motioning "it's over" with his arms, and then making a sleeping gesture.
Fans at Consol Energy Center went wild, as the Capitals attended to Beagle, who needed help to get off the ice, while sporting a bloody mouth. That's how this 3-2 Caps overtime victory will likely be remembered — not for Tomas Vokoun's bounce-back performance (39 saves), Dennis Wideman's wicked game-winning wrist shot or Mike Knuble's continued dominance of the Penguins.
And more than a couple players in the Caps' locker room were fired up about the incident. Asham now has 83 career NHL regular-season fights, while that was Beagle's first.
“[Beagle is] not a fighter; it’s not his job to fight,” captain Alex Ovechkin said. “I don’t know, it looked kind of not respectful for players on [a] different team. I don’t know what people think, but I think it’s not respectful.”
Caps coach Bruce Boudreau — and a few other players — didn't pick on Asham for the fight itself.
"Jay got popped a pretty good one," Boudreau said. "He was playing a really good game, I thought, and challenged a pretty tough customer — and a guy that's been used to fighting. And Jay's not that used to fighting."
Matt Hendricks, who led the Caps in fighting majors last season, shook it off as "those things happen." He and Boudreau did not see the gesture.
Even though defenseman Karl Alzner didn't see the gesture either, he wasn't the least bit happy that it occurred.
"I know that happens in fights. It's really crappy to see," said Alzner, who is good friends with Beagle. "Have some class a little bit, you know?"
Asham apologized afterward.
"I was into the game. It was uncalled for, classless on my part.," he said. "I think that those guys over there know I'm not that kind of guy to be going off."
Knuble, who extended his points streak against Pittsburgh to 13 games, played with Asham in Philadelphia and didn't have anything bad to say other than the matchup was a "mismatch."
"I personally played with him and feel he's a real honest player and did what he had to do and caught Jay with a good one but kind of even helped him down," Knuble said. "He's just doing what he had to do. It's just one of those things that happens."
After the game, Beagle was seen walking around the locker room area with an ice pack on his mouth, but was not available for comment.
While the Caps expressed some displeasure about incident — including Boudreau asking why there was no instigator on Asham — they had nothing but praise for Beagle for taking on a known tough guy.
"Beags answered the bell there, and it was a good punch, " Hendricks said. "Beags will be back; he'll be ready. Give him credit."
© Copyright 2015 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.