Asham sorry about showboating after Beagle bout

Arron Asham is sorry for showboating after felling mismatched Washington Capital Jay Beagle.

Pittsburgh Penguins' Arron Asham

Pittsburgh Penguins' Arron Asham

PITTSBURGH — Arron Asham is sorry for showboating after felling mismatched Washington Capital Jay Beagle.

But the Pittsburgh tough guy isn’t apologizing for the Thursday night punch-up that left a dazed Beagle sprawled on the ice with blood pouring from his mouth.

“I woke up this morning feeling pretty stupid from seeing it, but what can you do? Guys make mistakes,” Asham said following the Penguins’ off-day practice Friday.

“But I’m just going in and doing my job. The kid challenged me, what am I going to do? We were down a goal. I want to fight, try to get my team going. It was the stuff afterward that was uncalled for.”

Asham also lashed out at Capitals captain Alexander Ovechkin for suggesting that the Penguins forward knew better than to fight such an inexperienced player as Beagle.

“We just put him on the ice,” Ovechkin said. “He’s not a fighter. It’s not his job to fight. I don’t know, it’s kind of disrespectful.

That angered Asham.

“I don’t know why Ovie’s talking about disrespect, a guy who throws his stick down and warms his hands up over it,” Asham said, referring to one of Ovechkin’s goal celebrations. “He’s just being a hypocrite himself.”

Asham, a 13-season NHL veteran with a reputation for being tough and physical but not dirty, was most upset that he embarrassed the Penguins by taunting the downed Beagle as he skated off the ice. Asham waved his hands as if he were a boxing referee signalling a fighter was counted out, then rested his head on his cupped hands to suggest Beagle was going to sleep.

While even some of the Capitals defended Asham for fighting, the gestures were criticized by those associated with both teams — and, later, by Asham himself.

The Asham-Beagle fight — though it was only Asham that did any hard punching — caused a major buzz around the NHL. The league is attempting to reduce concussions by eliminating head shots, yet still permits fights that can cause those very injuries.

Beagle still had an ice pack on his face a half-hour after the Capitals’ 3-2 overtime victory ended, but apparently wasn’t badly injured. About that time, Asham was sending word to Beagle through Washington forward Mike Knuble, who once played with Asham in Philadelphia, that he was sorry for the way he reacted.

“I talked to Mike Knuble last night and made sure the kid was all right and told him I apologized for the stupid antics I did afterward,” Asham said. “He knows the kind of guy I am.”

Knuble, while displeased at watching a teammate get pummelled in a fight, defended Asham, calling him an “honest” player. And Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau suggested it was the six-foot-one, 208-pound Beagle who made a mistake by getting into a fight with a tested and proven fighter like the 5-11, 205-pound Asham.

Asham has played in 696 NHL games, while Beagle has appeared in 43.

“Arron was just doing his job,” Knuble said. “I’ve played with Arron, he’s an honest player, he’s tremendous at what he does and he’s doing what he had to do. Jay did what he felt what he had to do. It’s a little bit more experience against someone who doesn’t have a lot and that’s the result.”

Beagle didn’t practise Friday, but Boudreau said he wasn’t exhibiting any signs of a concussion. Asham said he hadn’t heard about any possible action by the NHL.

The fight started after Beagle, with his team leading 2-1, confronted Penguins defenceman Kris Letang at 5:54 of the third period, shoving Letang’s helmet off his head. Asham came to Letang’s defence.

“I was kind of telling him to settle down and stop running around or he was going to have to fight. He wanted to fight and it’s unfortunate he got hurt,” Asham said. “I didn’t want to hurt anyone out there. I was revved up, I was pumped up, and it was stupid on my part to be doing that. I was trying to get my team going, get the crowd going and what do you do? It was no class on my part and I take responsibility for what I did.”

Partly because of Asham’s gesturing, some in the sellout crowd of 18,512 were cheering even after Beagle lay bloodied and beaten.

“Arron is dead on when he said the emotions got the best of him. He was certainly jacked up for the situation and the fight,” Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said. “The gestures, he’s right. They were overboard, excessive and classless. I think immediately he felt remorse and regret.”

The Eastern Conference powers don’t play again until Dec. 1 in Washington. The teams also meet Jan. 11 on the Capitals’ ice and Jan. 22 at Consol Energy Center.

Asham’s actions inflamed what already is one of the NHL’s best rivalries.

Said Asham: “The rivalry’s back, and I’m sure the next game is going to be a lot of fireworks, a fun game.”

Asham emphasized he wasn’t trying to cause a distraction to a talented Penguins team that’s off to a 3-0-2 start, but was simply doing what’s expected of a player like himself.

“The last thing I want is my face plastered all over the news, saying I’m a big bad guy, when it (fighting) is a part of the game,” Asham said. “If I want to stay in the league, I’ve got to do certain things. … It’s unfortunate it ended the way it did. Obviously, you don’t want to hurt anyone. But can only say you’re sorry so many times.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A vial of the Medicago vaccine sits on a surface. CARe Clinic, located in Red Deer, has been selected to participate in the third phase of vaccine study. (Photo courtesy www.medicago.com)
Red Deer clinical research centre participating in plant-based COVID-19 vaccine trial

A Red Deer research centre has been selected to participate in the… Continue reading

Asymptomatic testing will now be available for "priority groups" who are most likely to spread the COVID-19 virus to vulnerable or at-risk populations. File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS
Red Deer jumps to 449 active COVID-19 cases on Sunday

1,516 new cases identified in Alberta

The QEII was closed Sunday morning due to a pole fire. (Photo courtesy City of Red Deer)
UPDATE: QEII near Red Deer reopens

The QEII has been reopened after being closed due to a pole… Continue reading

Innisfail RCMP are investigating a single-vehicle crash that happened west of Bowden on March 21, 2021. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Bashaw RCMP investigate fatal collision in central Alberta

Bashaw RCMP are investigating after a fatal collision Saturday afternoon. Police were… Continue reading

A damaged unicorn statue is shown in a field outside of Delia, Alta. in this undated handout photo. It's not often police can report that a unicorn has been found, but it was the truth Saturday when RCMP said a stolen, stainless-steel statue of the mythical beast had been located in a field not far from where he'd been taken. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Mounties get their unicorn; stolen statue of mythical beast found in Alberta field

DELIA, Alta. — It’s not often police can report that a unicorn… Continue reading

Investigators from the Vancouver Police Department were in Chilliwack Saturday, collecting evidence connected to a double homicide. (file photo)
Police investigate shooting death of man outside downtown Vancouver restaurant

Vancouver police say one man was killed in what they believe was… Continue reading

Dr. E. Kwok administers a COVID-19 vaccine to a recipient at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to start registering people 18 years and older for COVID-19 vaccines

VICTORIA — The British Columbia government says it’s inviting people 18 years… Continue reading

San Jose's Tomas Hertl, center, celebrates with teammates Patrick Marleau, left, and Rudolfs Blacers, right, after Hertl scored a goal during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Minnesota Wild, Friday, April 16, 2021, in St. Paul, Minn. (AP Photo/Stacy Bengs)
Patrick Marleau set to break Gordie Howe’s games record

For Patrick Marleau, the best part about Monday night when he is… Continue reading

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks during a press briefing at the White House, Tuesday, April 13, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Half of U.S. adults have received at least one COVID-19 shot

WASHINGTON — Half of all adults in the U.S. have received at… Continue reading

People are shown at a COVID-19 vaccination site in Montreal, Sunday, April 18, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Federal government to send health-care workers to Ontario, Trudeau says

MONTREAL — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says federal departments and some Canadian… Continue reading

People cross a busy street in the shopping district of Flushing on Tuesday, March 30, 2021, in the Queens borough of New York. Access to the COVID-19 vaccine in the United States is growing by the day. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Kathy Willens
Despite COVID-19 vaccines, Americans in D.C. not feeling celebratory — or charitable

WASHINGTON — This might make Canadians jealous of their American cousins for… Continue reading

A man pays his respects at a roadside memorial in Portapique, N.S. on Thursday, April 23, 2021. RCMP say at least 22 people are dead after a man who at one point wore a police uniform and drove a mock-up cruiser, went on a murder rampage in Portapique and several other Nova Scotia communities. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Memorial service in Nova Scotia marks one year since mass shooting started

TRURO, N.S. — A memorial service is planned for today in central… Continue reading

In this April 23, 2016, photo, David Goethel sorts cod and haddock while fishing off the coast of New Hampshire. To Goethel, cod represents his identity, his ticket to middle class life, and his link to one the country's most historic industries, a fisherman who has caught New England's most recognized fish for more than 30 years. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
‘It’s more than just a fish:’ Scientists worry cod will never come back in N.L.

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — The latest assessment of Atlantic cod stocks, whose… Continue reading

Most Read