- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 7, 2004

Seen and heard last night at MCI Center:

BROAD STREET BULLIES — Led by pugnacious captain Bobby Clarke, Philadelphia brawled its way to its only Stanley Cups in 1974 and 1975. The Flyers were the foe in the most penalty-filled game (294 minutes) in Caps home history in February 1991, not including then-Flyers assistant Ken Hitchcock getting into a screaming match with some unruly Washington fans.

So with Clarke as general manager and Hitchcock as coach, it wasn’t surprising that the host Flyers combined with the Ottawa Senators for an NHL-record 419 penalty minutes Friday. Even goalies Robert Esche of Philadelphia and Patrick Lalime of Ottawa took part in the five brawls that littered the final two minutes and left seven Flyers and six Senators who hadn’t been given game misconducts. Clarke had to be prevented from invading Ottawa’s locker room afterward.

The bad blood began with Ottawa’s playoff eliminations of Philadelphia the past two springs and heated up when the Senators’ Martin Havlat hit the Flyers’ Mark Recchi in the face with his stick last week, drawing a two-game NHL suspension. Matters boiled over Friday when enforcers Rob Ray of Ottawa and Donald Brashear of Philadelphia dropped the gloves with 1:45 left and Philadelphia winning 5-3.

“Why wouldn’t I start it? Did you see the last game?” Brashear said. “I fought a tough guy. They went after guys who don’t fight. I could have fought one of their good players and hurt them, but I didn’t.”

GOING, GOING, GONE — This week’s trades that sent Sergei Gonchar and Michael Nylander to Boston left nine of the 20 Caps who played in last April’s playoff series against Tampa Bay on the Washington roster. Sergei Berezin and Ken Klee weren’t re-signed. Calle Johannson retired. Steve Konowalchuk, Jaromir Jagr, Peter Bondra, Robert Lang, Gonchar and Nylander have been traded. Brian Sutherby and Ivan Ciernik are in the minors.

LESS THAN THREE — Shopping days that is. The NHL’s trade deadline is 3 p.m. Tuesday and as of last night, goalie Olie Kolzig, defenseman Brendan Witt and wingers Mike Grier and Anson Carter — all being dangled by Caps GM George McPhee — were still in Washington uniforms.

David Elfin

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