Arron Asham and Jay Beagle dropped the gloves on Thursday night during the always-hyped matchup between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals, and well... Beagle's not going to forget this one for a while.
Asham is an accomplished NHL fighter who's gone up head-to-head with some of the league's toughest. Beagle had a preseason fight one time against Steve Downie -- in 2008. You can probably see where this is going.
Warning: These videos are not for those with a weak stomach.
The video is extremely short, but you do see Asham's celebration at the end. What you don't see is the blood pouring out of Beagle's mouth, the teeth that are gone forever and the training staff huddled around the Capital for several minutes following.
Here's a video that shows a bit more of that detail, from the CSN Washington feed (which doesn't show that celebration).
The imagery here is terrible: Asham dusting off the remains of Beagle while he lay folded in a bloody heap.
There's no doubt that the anti-fighting crowd will be out in full force following this one. Asham will probably even get a fine for that celebration, even though it's tough to say he would have done the same thing if he knew the extent of Beagle's condition. After all, he's always been a stand-up guy and he tapped his stick in respect from the penalty box as Beagle got off the ice.
Personally, I've been on the anti-fighting train for a while. Enforcers have no point in the NHL, in my opinion. They're a waste of a roster spot. But the Asham vs. Beagle fight is precisely the type of fight that does still belong in the NHL. Asham was unhappy with what Beagle did in that scrum right off the start there, and he asked Beagle to pay for his actions. Beagle obliged... and well, that's part of it.
It's not just two fighters beating each other up to beat each other up. This fight served a real purpose, and yeah, the results were not pretty for Beagle. But it's a fight. Both parties mutually engaged and Beagle's inexperience showed. He opened up and Asham caught him in the mouth. That's what happens when fists are thrown at the face. There's no doubt Beagle learned his lesson, too.