The question has been posed many times this season. Do the Washington Capitals need to trade for a legit enforcer? If you have watched the Capitals the last four days, I think that answer is pretty clear.
After Matt Bradley stepped in for Alex Ovechkin on Wednesday at St. Pete Times Forum and went toe to toe with Tampa Bay Lightning tough guy Steve Downie, Shaone Morrison followed Bradley's lead on Friday night; not hesitating to duke it out with Toronto Maple Leafs tough guy Colton Orr.
Orr has a well earned reputation as one of the top enforcers in the National Hockey League, but after a hit late in the third period that sent Capitals defensemen Mike Green crashing hard to the ice, Morrison made a be-line for Orr, dropped his gloves and quickly landed two right hands to the side of Orr's head.
Just over three minutes later, Capitals left wing Jason Chimera traded blows with Toronto's Jay Rosehill after tying Rosehill up on the near boards.
"Guys will get in there and we're not carrying around heavyweights," said forward Mike Knuble, who had two goals on the night. "But, you have guys that will jump in and help out and that's what you want to see from your team."
Morrison and Chimera were both penalized for instigating and also received five minute fighting majors and a game misconduct. The fight was Chimera's second in as many games after his tussle with the Florida Panthers Gregory Campbell Wednesday night. The penalties were small prices to pay for standing up for teammates, according to Capitals Coach Bruce Boudreau.
"I'm all for protecting our guys," said Boudreau. "We don't start a lot of the [fights], but we're there. It doesn't matter how tough the guy is we want to protect our guys."
There were questions as to what might happen to the Capitals' team chemistry after the trade that sent Captain Chris Clark and defensmen Milan Jurcina to the Columbus Blue Jackets for Chimera. Judging by the last four days, it doesn't seem like there is any reason to worry about the Capitals' chemistry.
"When you hit one you hit them all," said Boudreau when asked if his team's recent physical play says they have grown closer together. "I'm not in the [locker] room all the time, but they've been together a long time and they get a long well. So, I'm hoping it does."