Fights in hockey are an accepted part of the game, more so than in pretty much any other major sport that’s not actually based around fighting. Something happens, a couple guys brawl, and that’s that. Ultimately, no harm, no foul – both sides know that’s how hockey works. So when you see that someone involved in a fight actually apologized for his actions afterward, as the Penguins’ Arron Asham did after scrapping with the Capitals’ Jay Beagle last night, we wondered if he’d done something that seriously crossed the line. Specifically, Asham’s apology was for taunting Beagle after winning the fight. Here’s what went down:
One: some of Beagle’s teammates were upset with the fight to begin with because Beagle’s not usually a fighter, and Asham, um, took advantage of that fact – this is a pretty easy knockout. Beagle held his own at the beginning, but once Asham started landing punches, it was over. We’re just glad Beagle was in good enough shape to skate off.
Two: honestly, we expected Asham’s taunting to be worse. It came and went in a flash. Obviously, any form of taunting while a guy you just knocked out is still lying (and bleeding) on the ice isn’t the best idea, which Asham seemed to recognize immediately – see the respectful stick-tap as Beagle leaves the ice. Even so, lines like this:
“My gestures after it was done … I was into the game. It was uncalled for, classless on my part.”
…aren’t what we expect to see in the wake of a hockey fight, And if you’re going to criticize Asham for the taunts, he deserves at least some measure of credit for owning up to the gestures. Could this be the start of a kinder, classier NHL fighting culture? …Probably not.