NEW YORK – His left eye surrounded by shades of purple and green, remnants from Wednesday night’s fight with New York Rangers left wing Tanner Glass, Capitals defenseman Tim Gleason was in no mood to get into a war of words with his combatant in the hours leading up to tonight’s Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals at Madison Square Garden.
“It is what it is,” Gleason said after being informed of Glass’ stated desire to beat him up before their third-period fight in Game 4. “It’s hockey, man. You play the game.
“I’m not going to stand here and say I won the fight. I don’t really care about if I did or didn’t. I’m not buying into it. It is what it is. I’m going to worry about tonight. The most important thing for us is getting the win tonight and moving on. All that other stuff is part of the game, I guess.”
Gleason and Glass dropped the gloves early in the third period of Game 4 after Gleason was checked into the goal post by Rangers winger James Sheppard. Sheppard, who drew a boarding penalty on Tom Wilson in Game 3, called his hit on Gleason “more of a hockey play.”
Gleason agreed, saying “it kind of escalated from there.”
Glass, who has 62 regular season fights in his NHL career, said he saw Gleason throw a punch at Sheppard and immediately stepped in, A 6-foot-1, 210-pounder, Glass, 31, landed several right hands on Gleason, 32, a 6-foot-1, 214-pounder with 46 career NHL fights. But while Glass told reporters “What do you think?” when asked who won the fight, Gleason rolled his eyes when told of Glass’ comments.
“That’s all you’re getting out of me, man,” Gleason said. “I could care less, really. You’re asking a guy that, I’ve been beaten up 100,000 times and I’ve won 100,000 times, so I could care less.”
Gleason said the only sympathy he got was from his children at home, who wondered how he got what he called his “boo-boo.”
Gleason, who has been paired with Mike Green on the Caps’ third line of defense, seemed far more interested in stopping the speed of the Rangers than quieting Glass.
“They’re a speedy team. Their transition is really good,” he said. “They’re good from the goalie on out, but their speed is their number one trait.”