WASHINGTON -- The Capitals won 5-2 on Monday against the Anaheim Ducks in a game that very much took a backseat to the fight that erupted in the second period.
You can read a recap of the game here.
Observations from the win
Take off your fan hat for a minute when watching Hathaway
I love fans. I have a job because of fans. You guys love hockey so much you want people like me to write about hockey so that you can read about hockey when you're not watching hockey. But when you watch the Hathaway fracas, you guys have to take a step back and take off the fan hats.
Hathaway spit on a dude. You can't have that.
Yes, Erik Gudbranson socked him while he was being held back by the refs. That's bad. Yes, I can understand why he would be pissed. Honestly, he should have just tried to punch him back. But...
Hathaway spit on a dude. You can't have that.
I got a lot of reaction from fans saying "It was his mouth guard," "Some spit came out of his mouth when he was punched, but it wasn't a spit," "What about Brad Marchand licking people?" "The rules say game misconduct, not an automatic match penalty, so clearly the suspension should be rescinded!
Let's try to look at this objectively.
Hathaway after the game admitted to spitting on Gudbranson, albeit in the most awkward way possible.
"The refs were trying to break it up," he said, "And it felt like there was a couple sucker punches thrown and I got there one quick and then reacted a little emotionally and unfortunately spit came out of my mouth after I got sucker punched and it went on to him.”
One player spit on another, it was caught on camera and he admitted to it afterward.
The gaggle of penalties the referees called was a mess and half of them were wrong. Having said that, they got Hathaway right by tossing him and supplementary discipline is likely coming.
"It has no place," Hathaway said. "It was an emotional play by me. You don’t plan any of that stuff in your head and it was a quick reaction and unfortunately the wrong one for me to a sucker punch.”
Hathaway did not have to talk after the game. A lot of players don't talk after a bad game or a bad situation like this. Hathaway did. That does not absolve him from spitting, but I thought it was worth noting that he did not hide away from the media. He came out and answered our questions. I'm sure it wasn't fun, but he did it. Good on him.
Oh yeah, there was a hockey game....
It was easy to forget that an actual game was being played with everything going on in the second period. I have to admit that I did not even notice that Stephenson scored. When Brendan Leipsic came in and decked Derek Grant, my eyes were glued to everything going on below the goal line. I literally did not know there was a goal until I watched the replay and realized, oh...Stephenson scored?
By the way, the Ducks and Caps play again on Dec. 6.
Panik has played well since returning from injury and finally, finally he was rewarded with a goal. He spoke after the game about how his game improved after the injury and that has been clear to me ever since he returned.
Travis Boyd is an NHL player
Boyd added another assist in this game as he set up Panik 50 seconds in. He now has six points in eight games played. Most importantly, he has a cap hit of only $800,000. He needs to stick around in Washington.
Stephenson's goal simultaneously marked the moment the game was out of reach, and the moment neither team cared what the score was anymore.
Play of the game
This was a real pretty move by Evgeny Kuznetsov. I thought he was shooting, John Gibson thought he was shooting, the Ducks thought he was shooting, but he wasn't.
Stat of the game
There were 50 total penalty minutes handed out for the second-period brawl:
Hathaway received a five-minute major for fighting and a 10-minute match penalty
Brendan Leipsic received a double-minor for roughing
Gudbranson received a minor for roughing and a 10-minute misconduct
Brendan Guhle received a double-minor for roughing
Nick Ritchie received a game (10-minute) misconduct
Quote of the game
The entire scrum erupted when Leipsic knocked Grant over with an incredible hit. From there all hell broke loose. Stephenson was asked about Leipsic after the game:
"Since growing up, playing against him since I was 15, and you know he's been the exact same. He catches guys by surprise. I've seen him knock guys that are twice his size on their ass. So he's pretty stocky and a little fire hydrant out there."
This is impressive. Hathaway fought...the entire Ducks team. Ovechkin and Jakub Vrana both scored while Boyd assisted on the first goal.
Nailed it. This makes me feel sorry for the one fan who predicts a Radko Gudas goal every single game....
Yikes. This is awkward.
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