- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 23, 2016

It took not even 10 seconds for T.J. Oshie and Brayden Schenn to circle the ice, drop their sticks and gloves and go to work.

Upset with what the Washington Capitals perceived as a cheap shot by Schenn on Evgeny Kuznetsov two days earlier, Oshie tried to gain a measure of retribution by fighting Schenn in the opening moments of the Capitals‘ 2-0 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers in Game 5 of the teams’ first-round playoff series on Friday.

Oshie, who had fought just four times in his career, and Schenn, a veteran of 16 fights, discussed the impending duel during the opening faceoff. The bout lasted 15 seconds before Oshie fell to his knees, causing officials to separate the two players.

“We were really unhappy with a play that he made on Kuzy last game, so it had to be done,” Oshie said.

Kuznetsov was trying to jam the puck into the net in the second period when goaltender Michal Neuvirth covered it. Schenn then skated in from behind Kuznetsov and delivered a cross-check to the back of Kuznetsov’s right knee.

Coach Barry Trotz said on Thursday that it was a “dangerous play,” and teammates universally objected to it.


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“[The fight] definitely lights a fire under you,” defenseman Karl Alzner said after the game. “We definitely weren’t expecting that. I think the team already was pretty fired up to play this game, and to see that — not just a grappling match, but throwing them, gets everyone going.”

Schenn said on Friday that the decision to hit Kuznetsov was “a pretty dumb play.” Still, he accepted Oshie’s challenge, likely knowing that gaining the upper hand would motivate his teammates as well.

Asked why he was the one who decided to fight Schenn, Oshie replied simply, “Why not?” The Capitals were unable to parlay it into much, though, given that Justin Williams was sent to the penalty box nearly a minute later for high-sticking.

“I love when your top players step up and say, ‘We’re in,’” Trotz said. “He did, and I know everybody in the locker room — there’s a lot of honor in that when a guy steps up for someone else.”


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