Although the final score read 5-2 in favor of the Philadelphia Flyers, the Washington Capitals had a few moments in the game that made it an entertaining watch. The goals from right wingers Alexander Ovechkin and Eric Fehr were things of beauty, but everyone’s favorite part of last night’s game could not have been a goal. With 15:17 gone in the second period, Caps’ rookie fourth liner Tom Wilson brought the body on a thunderous check that sent Flyer’s forward Brayden Schenn crashing head first into the boards. Schenn attempted to get up and skate back to the bench but fell a few times before staying on his knees. Naturally, a brawl erupted as the Flyers went to answer Wilson’s check.
Wilson received a game misconduct penalty accompanied by ten minutes for charging and fighting. On the five minute power play for the Flyers, they were able to score twice, a lead that only grew before the game was over. I must admit though as I watched the game at Buffalo Wild Wings last night, there was such satisfaction watching Wilson obliterate someone on the Flyers. My friend and I burst into laughter watching it because it was one of the greatest things we’ve seen from the Caps this season. The Flyers and Pittsburg Penguins are two teams that more often than not have an edge against the Caps because they are dirty, gritty, hard hitting teams. It’s nice to see the Caps starting to fight back, especially someone so young.
Following the game, Caps head coach Adam Oates and Ovechkin both defended Wilson’s hit saying that they felt it was clean. Flyers’ forward Jakub Voracek was inclined to disagree.
“Obviously don’t want to see our teammates in the front go down like that. Obviously it was an ugly hit. He king of turned into it too, though. It’s hard to read that before the play was coming down, but he had a full speed. The league’s trying to take it out of the game, so you’ve got to make sure there’s a little respect between the players there. It shouldn’t be in the game right now” said Voracek in his post- game interview.
My issue with this statement is that there is no respect for the opposing team by either side when these two teams meet. So although a nice sentiment, the man in the mirror has to change before the world does. The Flyers continue to be one of the dirtier teams in the NHL and last night was no different. En route to their victory, they got away with several penalties that were clearly intentionally, including a mean high stick on Caps defensemen Steven Oleksy. Even the first Caps goal came on a power play where Flyers’ defensemen Kimmo Timonen thrust the end of his stick straight into the face of Capitals’ captain Alex Ovechkin.
I understand and respect the game-time decision against Wilson because I do believe it was a necessary call to make. Having said that, I still think that it was a clean hit and that hit was absolutely amazing to see. It probably ended up blowing the game for the Caps, but they still have the last laugh as they remain in second place in the division. The loss is also a lot more bearable if you take the time to watch the video of the hit here: http://www.csnwashington.com/hockey-washington-capitals/talk/tom-wilsons-vicious-hit-sparks-fight-vs-flyers-video
In the meantime, we wait to see if Wilson is will receive further consequences from the NHL.