Boudreau: Brawls result of tight standings

Boudreau: Brawls result of tight standings
February 12, 2011, 5:10 pm
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Saturday, February 12, 2011, 12:08 p.m. UPDATED 3:20 p.m.

By Ryan OHalloran

Bruce Boudreau is not only a hockey coach, but hes also a hockey fan and in particular an old-time hockey fan.

With that in mind, it wasnt surprising Boudreau gave a non-verbal nod of approval to the chaotic Penguins-Islanders game Friday night that featured 14 fighting majors, 21 game or 10-minute misconducts and 346 penalty minutes.

I took a little peek at it, Boudreau told reporters with a smile two hours before the Capitals hosted Los Angeles today. It reminded me of former Capital Alan May playing a couple of games in the '80s and stuff.

The Islanders, who won 9-3, sounded the bugles and pounded the drums nine days after goalie Rick DiPietro sustained facial fractures in a fight with Penguins goalie Brent Johnson and forward Blake Comeau suffered a concussion on a hit from Max Talbot.

Pittsburghs Eric Godard came off the bench during one brawl Friday night to help Johnson fight Islanders tough guy Micheal Haley. Leaving the bench generally carries an automatic 10-game suspension plus discipline for the coach.

It was quite a game, Boudreau said. Im really looking forward to seeing what Mr. Colin Campbell has to say.

Campbell is the NHLs discipline czar.

Fridays game was the third example of mayhem since the All-Star break, starting with the first Penguins-Islanders match and Wednesdays Montreal-Boston fiasco.

Boudreau pointed to the tight standings as a reason for emotions boiling over. Entering Saturdays games, 11 points separate No. 4 Washington (68) and No. 10 Buffalo (57) in the Eastern Conference. In the West, seven points separate No. 3 Dallas (68) and No. 11 Chicago (61).

The races have been so close since the beginning of the season, teams are getting more ramped up, playoff-ready earlier than they have in the past, Boudreau said. Theyre not waiting until after the trade deadline. The sense of urgency is starting earlier than Ive seen in the past.

Defenseman Mike Green took the ice for warm-ups and returned after a one-game absence from a head injury.

Green generally doesnt wear a helmet during warm-ups but did today as a precaution.

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