No discipline for Matt Bradley in fight with Tampa Bay Lightning's Steve Downie
The Washington Post reported today that the Capitals' Matt Bradley will not received league discipline for his fight Tuesday with Tampa Bay Lightning wing Steve Downie.
It seemed at the time that Bradley left the Washington bench to intercede on behalf of teammate Alex Ovechkin, who was squaring off with Downie late in the third period to finish off a previous confrontation in which Downie punched Ovechkin. Originally, Bradley was given 17 minutes of penalties (the usual for an instigator) and, it was announced on the St. Pete Times Forum PA system, a game misconduct. It was also possible Bradley could have been suspended if he had come off the bench to join the ruckus.
But the Post reported Bradley,as he contended, came onto the ice as part of a line change. The game misconduct, apparently, was rescinded Tuesday night after a review by the officiating supervisor at the game. A miscommunication between the upstairs officials and ice-level officials led to the referees' original call and the subsequent announcement, the Post reported.
As for Downie, he said on Wednesday he was not surprised that Bradley charged into the mix.
"I had a feeling something like that was going to happen as soon as the play developed," he said. "If someone did that to Stammer or Marty, I'm sure we would do the same for them."
Asked if he would have liked to have fought Ovechkin, Downie said, "That would have been interesting."
Downie said he did not want to speak Tuesday night because he did not want to say the wrong thing. But asked Wednesday if he believes, as does teammate Jeff Halpern, that Ovechkin deliberately stuck his knee out on the original hit that caused the first altercation, Downie said, "I didn't see the replay. I haven't watched it. He's done it a couple of times. He plays hard. He likes to finish his hits. I have nothing wrong with that."
Asked if he thought the hostility would carry into the Jan. 31 meeting between the teams in Washington, Downie said, "Who knows? But it doesn't bother me, and it doesn't bother anybody here. But we need two points, so we have to think about that before anything."
Still, Lightning left wing Todd Fedoruk, who has seen his share of fights, said the incidents at the end of Tampa Bay's 7-4 victory -- including Zenon Konopka's TKO of David Steckel -- could bring the team together.
"You stand as a team," Fedoruk said. "They challenged us. ... It plants a seed in a team like that. Those are measuring sticks for our group. It builds confidence. Now, as a team, you kind of tell yourselves you can do it, so you can't let anything come in now that's bad. You've shown yourselves you can do it. Now, we have to own up to that."
Finally, coach Rick Tocchet, who missed Wednesday's practice, and said in a text message he was out with the flu, really played with the lines against Washington. That continued at Wednesday's practice. Here is how they lined up:
Brandon Bochenski-Steven Stamkos-Marty St. Louis
Alex Tanguay-Vinny Lecavalier-Jeff Halpern
Ryan Malone-Paul Szczechura-Steve Downie
Stephane Veilleux-Zenon Konopka-James Wright