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Sharks coach livid over Capitals’ ‘premeditated’ revenge on Thornton

Late in the second period of the Washington Capitals’ eventual 4-1 win against the San Jose Sharks from Monday, Joe Thornton delivered a questionable hit on T.J. Oshie, which ended the slick forward’s night with an upper-body injury.

The retaliation came early in the third, as Tom Wilson exacted revenge against Thornton by dropping him with a hard punch in a quick-but-violent fight. It was quite a spectacle between two teams you wouldn’t expect to build bad blood.

(You can see video of the fight above this post’s headline, while the hit is below. This post initially covered this situation.)

As it turns out, Sharks coach Peter DeBoer’s reaction to this carnage was arguably even more entertaining than the violence itself.

For one thing, cameras caught DeBoer jawing with Capitals assistant Lane Lambert following the Wilson - Thornton skirmish:

DeBoer didn’t clam up about it after the game, unloading on the Capitals for such a “premeditated” response. He used dirtier words to the media and unquestionably in arguing with Lambert.

“Well like I said, if someone would have grabbed Joe in the heat of the moment after the play because they thought a liberty was taken, then I’ve got no problem with that,” DeBoer said, via Kevin Kurz of The Athletic. “To go into the dressing room, think about it, come in the first shift, and do that premeditated crap is just garbage.”

Wow, that’s spicy. To DeBoer’s credit, he didn’t meltdown at a John Tortorella level, so we didn’t get to see a weird-awkward-awesome locker room argument.

Now, from the Capitals’ perspective, it’s not as though there was *that* much time between the hit and the fight.

Again, the check came late in the second, while Wilson dropped the gloves early in the third. Yes, there was the intermission, which could have served as an opportunity to diffuse the situation ... but it’s not necessarily a given that anyone in the Caps room said “go after Jumbo Joe.” Wilson easily could have decided to stand up for his teammate on his own.

Speaking of moments from that game, the AP’s Stephen Whyno wonders if supplemental discipline is coming for Brenden Dillon:

If you want more drama, the good news is that the Capitals and Sharks meet one more time during the regular season. They’ll need to have long memories, though, as that second date doesn’t come until March 10.

Both teams seem like they’ll be battling for positioning - or perhaps their playoff lives - so the shenanigans could be limited anyway. Still, that game gets a little more sizzle to go with the Alex Ovechkin - Nicklas Backstrom - Joe Thornton - Joe Pavelski steak, if nothing else.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.