The reaction to the fight between Pittsburgh Penguins forward Arron Asham and Washington Capitals forward Jay Beagle has been a bit strong.
Alex Ovechkin and Karl Alzner both stated they felt it was unnecessary for Asham to engage with Beagle due to Beagle's inexperience playing in the National Hockey League. Ovechkin went as far as to say Asham's actions were "not respectful."
Asham actually text former teammate Mike Knuble after the game and apologized for the unsportsmanlike gestures after the fight (Asham used the "safe" sign that baseball umpires use to signal that Beagle was done then used then put his hands together and layed his right cheek on them to signal that Beagle had been knocked out) and even called his actions "classless" during his post game interview.
However, Asham has since called Ovechkin a hypocrite for saying his actions were not respectful and referenced Ovechkin's "hot hands" celebration after scoring his 50th goal of the season in a game against the Tampa Bay Lightning in March of 2009.
Asham went as far as to say "the rivalry is back."
To me, the overall response to the fight is unnecessary.
As captain of the team, I understand Ovechkin wanting to stick up for Beagle. Beagle is in his first year in the NHL and is not a fighter. However, Asham properly engaged Beagle and even said Beagle is the one who asked to fight.
Alzner's reaction is simply because he and Beagle played together for several years with the Hershey Bears.
However, Asham is also going a bit too far with saying that Ovechkin is a hypocrite. The "hot hands" celebration happened over two years ago, and since then Ovechkin has not unnecessarily celebrated any goal he has scored. Asham simply didn't appreciate Ovie's comments and through out the first example he could use to rebutle.
I, personally, thought it was interesting that Asham said the rivalry is back after this incident. Last time I checked, these two teams have had one of the most heated rivalry's in the NHL for the past 20 years and it has become more intense since Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby came into the league. It doesn't hurt that both teams are a perenial Stanley Cup contender either.
Players on both teams need to relax. It was an honest hockey fight that had an unfortunate ending. When they meet next on Dec. 1 at Verizon Center the Capitals don't need to focus on getting revenge on Asham. They need to worry about not getting outshot 41-19 like they did on Thursday and play a full 60-minute game.
Fighting has it's place in hockey and that fact was proven by this incident. The fight sparked the Penguins who proceeded to outshoot the Caps 18-2 in the third period and force overtime.
If players and traditionalist don't want fighting eliminated from the game then they need to stop overreacting to incidents like this one.