May 22, 2018

Asham incident throws more fuel on the Caps-Pens fire

“It’s really crappy to see. Have some class a little bit, ya know?”

“It was uncalled for, classless on my part.”

“It looked kind of not respectful.”


The day after the Washington Capitals beat the Pittsburgh Penguins — with Evgeni Malkin but still without Sidney Crosby — in overtime 3-2 in Pittsburgh, all anyone is still talking about is the brutal knockout of Jay Beagle by Pens’ tough guy Aaron Asham, and the fall-out of Asham’s immature and regrettable gestures following the fight. 

Gestures that included Asham signalling “It’s over,” and that he’d put Beagle to sleep.  Gestures that Asham probably immediately realized would not look good on television, to the league offices, and his opponents.  Gestures that Asham owned up to and apologized for in the locker room, but still taken to task by members of the Capitals in the opposing dressing room.

Then today, informed of Ovechkin’s comments on the situation, Asham shot back. 

“[Beagle is] not a fighter, it’s not his job to fight,” Ovechkin said. “I don’t know, it looked kind of not respectful for players on different team. I don’t know what people think but I think it’s not respectful.”

Asham told Josh Yohe of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: “Ovi is a hypocrite. The rivalry is back.”

I didn’t know it had gone anywhere.  This is one rivalry that didn’t actually need any more fuel on the fire. 

Beagle seems to be okay, according to coach Bruce Boudreau.  Though he suffers from a “fat lip”, Beagle has not displayed any symptoms of a concussion, though he did not practice this morning.

It’s somewhat of a juxtaposition that on a night the two teams came together to honor the memory of those that perished in the Lokomotiv plane crash, more bad blood would be spilt.  The fight was part of the game (a part many would like to see phased out), but Asham’s conduct afterward is not, and the player was well aware of that following the game.

“It’s unfortunate the way the fight ended,” he said. “I obviously want to win, but I don’t want to go out there and hurt anyone.  My gestures after it was done, I was into the game. It was uncalled for, classless on my part.  I think that those guys over there know I’m not that kind of guy to be going off.”

“It was a big game. I wanted to get my bench going – and classless move on my part.”

Asham even went out of his way to contact former teammate Mike Knuble to check up on Beagle.  Knuble told the media Asham admitted to being caught “showboating” and wanted to make sure Beagle was okay.

All that is well and good, but don’t expect the incident to simply fade away.  These teams play each other a lot, and the next meeting is Dec. 1.  It would not be shocking to see D.J. King get a sweater for that match.

This rivalry is a gift that just keeps on giving.

About Dave Nichols

Dave Nichols is Editor-in-Chief of District Sports Page. He is credentialed to cover the Washington Nationals, Capitals, Wizards and Mystics. Dave also covers national college football and basketball and Major League Soccer for Associated Press and is a copy editor for the Spokesman-Review newspaper in Spokane, WA. He spent four years in radio covering the Baltimore Orioles, Washington Redskins and the University of Maryland football and basketball teams. Dave is a life-long D.C. sports fan and attended his first pro game in 1974 — the Caps’ second game in existence. You can follow him on Twitter @DaveNicholsDSP


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  3. […] On Friday, Laich spoke with Chuck Gormley of CSN Washington about the concussion protocol that was utilized with Jay Beagle on Thursday night after Beagle was briefly knocked unconscious at the end of a fight with Pittsburgh’s Arron Asham. […]

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