Photo: CBS Sports
While the NHL has tried to discourage fighting for quite some time, players around the league haven’t been afraid to drop the mitts when they think it’s necessary, including members of the Washington Capitals. Capitals fans have been entertained in many different ways during the past five years, including some memorable bouts. NoVa Caps lists our favorite Capitals fights from the past five years. [You can cast a vote for your favorite scrap at the end of the post].
The Capitals’ game against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Friday, January 10, 2014, featured two heavy-weight fights five seconds apart, with forward Tom Wilson going up against Maple Leafs forward Carter Ashton in a lengthy bout which ended with Wilson throwing a couple powerful punches. While Wilson was still getting comfortable in the penalty box, defenseman John Erskine danced with Maple Leafs forward Colton Orr.
Off of the ensuing faceoff, Erskine dropped the mitts with Orr. Erskine put all he had into his punches and knocked Orr down to the ice after the two exchanged haymakers to start with.
Wilson was at the center of another memorable bout seven months after he delivered a hit to the head of Pittsburgh Penguins forward Zach Aston-Reese which caused Aston-Reese to miss the rest of the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs. After hitting Aston-Reese, Wilson declined to fight 6’7″ defenseman Jamie Oleksiak, the team’s toughest player. In his first game against the Penguins since that game, Wilson went after Oleksiak right away after Penguins’ GM Jim Rutherford told the media that “[H]e couldn’t run quick enough to get away from [Oleksiak]” in May. Wilson answered Rutherford by going after Oleksiak right off the bat and KOed him after just two punches. Oleksiak missed the Penguins’ next six games and eight of their next 12 before the team dealt him to the Dallas Stars on January 28.
Game 7 of the 2018 Eastern Conference Final saw Wilson in another scrap after he and Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Braydon Coburn returned to the ice after serving penalties for unsportsmanlike conduct. The two went at it again right away and exchanged punches before Wilson started throwing roundhouses. The two took turns falling to the ice before Wilson regained his balance and threw Coburn to the ice.
Tempers flared once again when the Capitals and Lightning met on March 30, 2019, with a scrum breaking out more than halfway through the third period. But the biggest fight came away from the madness with Wilson fighting 6’4″ Lightning defenseman Erik Cernak, a bout that came three games in the making. The two traded punches back and forth to start out with before Cernak threw multiple haymakers at a time. Wilson answered with a knockout punch that put the big rig down to the ice while holding his face.
10 seconds into Game 5 of the First Round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Capitals forward T.J. Oshie dropped the gloves with Philadelphia Flyers forward Brayden Schenn. Schenn’s hands kept flying while Oshie kept trying to fight back. Both lost their balance and fell to the ground in a thrilling bout. This came after Schenn cheap-shotted Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov in Game 4 of the series.
Quick And Dirty
After Colorado Avalanche defenseman Ian Cole hit Kuznetsov in the head, Wilson did not waste any time defending his teammate. Wilson turned Cole into a human punching bag after pulling his jersey over his head so he could not defend himself. Cole got a black eye from the fight and missed the Avalanche’s next 11 games.
After Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin and Carolina Hurricanes rookie forward Andrei Svechnikov checked one another, the two dropped the gloves and Ovechkin beat him with a couple punches to the face in a quick bout in Game 3 of the First-Round series in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Svechnikov would be helped off of the ice and would not return. He would miss the Hurricanes’ next six games due to a concussion.
By Harrison Brown
WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE BOUT?