Monday’s game featured an ugly beatdown of the Carolina Hurricanes over the Washington Capitals and an ugly beatdown of Andrei Svechnikov by Alex Ovechkin.

Ovechkin told reporters after the game that Svechnikov asked him to fight, but that was not good enough for Carolina head coach Rod Brind’Amour who voiced his displeasure after the game.

“Svech means a lot to us,” Brind’Amour said to the media after the game. “Young kid, just turned 19. He has a special bound I think with our group and me too. So when you see that, it makes you sick. I’m still sick to my stomach about it.”

Seeing Svechnikov go down the way he did was certainly unsettling. No one wants to see anyone get hurt. Brind’Amour, however, indicated he was not happy about Ovechkin taking on the young rookie.

“I just heard Ovi talk about it,” Brind’Amour said. “He said our guy challenged him so if that’s the case, that’s a little different. But if you watch the video, because I’ve got to watch it, he slashes him twice, Ovi. Whack, whack. And then Svech gives him back. I don’t know if there’s words exchanged, but one guy’s gloves comes off way first and that’s Ovi’s, it’s not our guy’s. It’s a little bit frustrating because he got hurt and it’s his first fight. He’s played 90 games, he’s never fought in his life and I’m pretty sure Ovi knew that. That stuff bothers me, but it’s done.”


Here’s a replay of the fight and the events that preceded it:

Clearly, both players are giving it to one another before the fight. Who started it, who gave it worse, that seems irrelevant. They were sparring with one another.

Brind’Amour must not have been watching the video very closely if he doesn’t know if words were exchanged. You can clearly see both players talking to each other before the punches start getting thrown.

We don’t know what was said, all we have is what Ovechkin told us and that was that Svechnikov challenged him. Even if you do not believe him, however, you cannot watch the video and claim Ovechkin took him by surprise. Yes, his gloves came off first, but this was not a Brad Marchand jumping Lars Eller situation or Max Domi sucker-punching Aaron Ekblad. Svechnikov and Ovechkin knew what they were doing and they knew what was about to happen.

Sure, Ovechkin probably knew Svechnikov was a rookie. You also do not have to compare the two for very long to know that Ovechkin is a lot bigger than Svechnikov. But if Svechnikov is ready and willing to fight, is it on Ovechkin to walk away?