Arron Asham Apologizes For Post-Fight Gestures

PITTSBURGH – Evgeni Malkin and Alex Ovechkin began the night shaking hands in an effort to show respect for the victims of the Lokomotive plane crash.

After 62 minutes of action the rivalry was alive and well once again. Blood, sweat, excitement and drama — Penguins and Capitals just as we’ve always known it.

Dennis Wideman beat Brent Johnson at 2:48 of overtime to give Washington the 3-2 victory over Pittsburgh on Thursday, but a late-game fight was getting the most media attention in the aftermath.

Trailing 2-1 in the third period, Pittsburgh’s Arron Asham was looking for an opportunity to spark his team to a third period rally. When Washington’s Jay Beagle knocked Kris Letang’s helmet off in a scrum at center ice, Asham took exception.

Looking to stick up for his teammate and spark the home crowd at the same time, Asham took on Beagle in a fight that didn’t end pretty:
[Video removed from source]

Beagle had just two NHL fights on his resume, but hockey purists would argue that he paid the price of going after a star player.

“I wasn’t going in there looking for a fight,” Asham said after the game.  “I went in there to tell him to stop running around, you know, what you’re supposed to do [in that situation].  It’s unfortunate he went down the way he did and I wasn’t trying to hurt anyone out there.”

Beagle remained on the ice for a few minutes after absorbing the heavy punches before making his way to the locker room with a face covered in blood and confusion.

After the game, focus immediately shifted to the appropriateness of Asham’s post-fight gestures let loose in the heat of the moment:

 

[GIF via @TPBAdam]

“I was excited and [the gesture] was uncalled for,” Asham said.  “You try to get the crowd into the game and it’s kind of classless on my part, I wish I could take that back.”

Judging from reaction of the hockey world, many agreed that Asham’s taunting gestures were disrespectful and insisted they have no place in the game.  But any athlete will tell you adrenaline can be a crazy thing in the midst of a heated battle against a hated rival.

Asham even wondered how much his inappropriate celebration differed from Ovechkin’s ‘Hot Stick’ dance a few years ago against Tampa Bay:

“It’s no different than ‘Ovie’ throwing his stick down and rubbing his hands over it,” Asham said.  “It’s a part of the game.  I didn’t want to hurt the kid but it’s just the way it happens.”

In a league that allows bare-knuckles brawls to freely take place, it’s hard to argue with a straight face that celebrating after a two-punch knockout is unacceptable. If Asham had simply skated to the penalty box and left Beagle in a heap of blood and broken teeth, would that really be okay?

What’s your call?  If taunting your opponent really is ‘part of the game’, where should the line be drawn?

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Mike Colligan is the Pittsburgh Penguins correspondent at TheHockeyWriters.com and an NHL analyst at Forbes SportsMoney.

You can email him at MJColligan@gmail.com or follow his updates on Twitter: @MikeColligan

Mike Colligan

Mike Colligan

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Mike Colligan is an NHL analyst at Forbes SportsMoney and The Hockey Writers. Email: MJColligan@gmail.com
Mike Colligan
@EricBowser no problem, I'm obviously more interested in the business angles - 52 mins ago
Mike Colligan
Mike Colligan

9 Comments

  1. Ahhh I miss having Asham in Philly, he’s a Broad Street Bully if ever there was one. If that happened at the Wells Fargo, Flyers fans would have gone nuts. He was trying to show that he didn’t want to hurt the kid, he apologized, what’s the big deal?

  2. Justin Johnson says:

    This may have been a taunt but I think Asham was just trying to be funny and he clearly imitated the trademark taunt of WWE wrestler CM Punk as it has been stated on the internet several times. @CMPunk even retweeted and acknowledged it. I think it was probably just a joke by Asham that went too far. Asham’s not a bad guy I covered him in Philly though I do agree it’s not smart to get people riled up with anything that can be construed as taunting after a fight like that. I don’t see this one as being as bad as some of the others we’ve seen in the past.

  3. Cookie Monster says:

    Asham dared to compare it the “hot stick” celebration? Ridiculous. “Hot Stick” was in celebration of a goal scoring milestone (50 goals), not gestures made after knocking a non-fighter out in a fight.

    Asham’s gestures were in line with the throat slashing gesture another player made and was suspended for during the pre-season. At the least, he should have been fined.

  4. season ticket holder says:

    Classless move, but fitting for a classless team like the Pens. Let’s hear Mario complain more about head shots while he employs the biggest headhunter in the league Cooke, and loads up his team with goons like Ashom, MCintyre, and Englannd.

    Karma comes around, right Sid ?

    And by the way, original penalties should have been LeTang for cross check, and Beagle for roughing. Look at the tape. And Ashom for instigating.

    • WTF does Matt Cooke have to do with any of this? “Blah blah blah blah blah Matt Cooke blah blah blah. Argument over. I win!” You people sound ridiculous.

  5. I love how all these Caps fans are insulting the Pen’s for being classless when they have Ovi, who is one of the dirtiest players in the NHL. No, he doesn’t fight cuz he’s all talk and just a wimp in the long run. As for the “cindy crosby” comments, you are just jealous that you don’t have a player that can play as well as #87 can.

  6. It was a classless move on his part like he said. I think the ironic part is that he plays for the pens, who are going through the most public problems with concussions. If team karma existed, he just added a couple weeks onto Cindy Crosbys recovery, and I hope team karma is real!!

  7. Just another classless d-bag on a squad full of em, especially Cooke. Asham is going to get his face pulverized by DJ King the next time the Pens play the Caps.

  8. I have no problem with the gesture. He was clearly caught in the moment, as happens to anyone when they are pumped up. Its not like he took an extra swing at him, he skated away as soon as Beagle dropped. He didnt even look back to see it was as serious as it was. It appears that as far as Asham knew, Beagle lost his footing. I understand the outrage from the Wash camp, just because it was their player. And Asham apologized. Event over.

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