Yesterday’s Bruins/Capitals game was a very interesting contest for a couple reasons. First, it was a chance to the Caps to prove they are at least a half-decent team (they aren’t), but moreover it was perhaps the first in a long line of impressive wins by Boston, which is for my money the best team in the East on paper.
The Bruins physically intimidated, beat up, and most importantly crumpled the Caps up like tissue paper en route to a dominant 4-1 win, and Washington didn’t like it one little bit.
I don’t know what they thought they might see when they went into TD Garden, but the sight of a team with the third-most fighting majors in the league this season, with four guys who have engaged in three or more scraps, should have been enough for the Caps to say to themselves, “Well, we have approximately no actual fighters in the lineup, so maybe we just try to stick to our game so we don’t get the absolute Christ beat out of us.” It didn’t happen that way, which should have come as a surprise to no one considering the Bruins just lost to this same not-good team in overtime not that long ago.
The festivities really and truly began when Alex Ovechkin crosschecked Brad Marchand in a way that one of the dirtiest players in the NHL didn’t particularly care for. Obviously, Ovechkin wasn’t about to drop the gloves with anyone for any reason, so Marchand went around looking for someone else to oblige him. Mike Ribeiro stepped up to the plate for reasons I still don’t remotely understand (it was his first career fight) and got fed a number of decent shots.
Then Matt Hendricks and Nathan Horton fought when the former more or less jumped the latter off a draw, and Horton left the ice bleeding. Boston didn’t like that, so a little later on, Shawn Thornton tried to get Hendricks to answer, and the Capitals’ one actual kind-of fighter wisely demurred. But when Adam McQuaid got involved, he took that opportunity instead and got pounded for his efforts. Boston ended up winning 4-1, because of course they did, and the Caps weren’t feeling too good about any of it after the game.
There was a lot of talk about what a “joke” it all was, and how the Caps shouldn’t have allowed themselves to stoop to Boston’s level in this way. I don’t know about the joke part; you don’t go into Boston and expect a gentlemanly game free of checking, especially if you’re going to throw around crosschecks like Ovechkin did, and you sure don’t jump one of the team’s better goalscorers in an effort to swing some momentum back your team’s way. What did they expect to happen? Thornton wasn’t about to challenge him to pistols at dawn; don’t walk down that side of the street if you don’t want to get pulled into a dark alley and mugged.
Even after this, the Caps kind of acted like babies, with both Ribeiro and Hendricks getting into it verbally with fans who taunted them, and I guess that kind of underscores just how frustrating yesterday was for a team everyone thought would be much better than it is.
But this is what the Bruins do. This is what they’ve done for years. You kind of can’t be shocked when one of them tries to hit your teammate in the face at this point. You really can’t be mad about it. But I guess when you’re 14th in the East, you have a lot to be mad about in general.
Don’t forget to donate to 826 Boston. Thanks again.