Wednesday afternoon, the Washington Capitals announced the signing of center Mike Richards to a prorated one-year, one million dollar contract. The fiery Richards has won two Stanley Cups with the Los Angeles Kings, which is awesome. He’s also one of three players to ever drop the gloves with Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin, which is really awkward if you think about it.
The Richards/Ovechkin brouhaha occured during a 2006-07 preseason game between the Caps and Flyers. It was Ovechkin’s first career NHL fight.
Ovechkin skates over and shoves Denis Gauthier, prompting Richards to skate over and give Ovechkin a face wash with his glove. The two continue to push and shove while everyone on the ice gathers around just before the two drop the gloves and locking horns. Richards throws two body shots and an overhand right. Ovechkin returns fire in the form of a right hand of his own. Ovechkin then throws another right and Richards is able to rip Ovechkin’s helmet off. Richards lands five overhand rights to the back of Ovechkin’s head and Ovechkin goes down to a knee. Ovechkin returns to his feet and the linesmen are ready to break things up when Ovechkin gets in a right cross. The linesmen grab the two and send them on their separate ways shortly after. Other Penalties: Ovechkin received a cross checking minor; Denis Gauthier a charging minor.
What a sport! Only in hockey does the potential of having to work with someone you once tried to knock out exist.
That reminds me of one of my favorite RMNB stories of all-time from five years ago. When Dale Hunter was hired by the Capitals, his assistant coaches were Jim Johnson and Dean Evason. I did some research and found out that Hunter had fought both of them during his NHL playing days. So just to summarize, Hunter’s coaching staff consisted entirely of people he had punched in the face before.
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