This is something we don’t see every day…
A huge brawl broke out after the Tampa Bay Lightning’s loss to the Nashville Predators on Thursday night. It’s not unusual for teams to react or lash out in different ways, but what Austin Watson did was over the line, and the Predators had every right to be mad about it.
Tampa trailed the Predators 5-1 with just two seconds left of the game when Austin Watson decided not to let the clock just run out.
Instead, he unleashed a big slap shot right down the center of the ice. The puck caught Jeremy Lauzon, who wasn’t expecting anything like that to happen.
Lauzon was in immediate pain, and as he went down on the ice, his teammates went after Watson, forming a mob around him, seeking vengeance for their teammate.
On the broadcast, Lauzon could be seen slamming his stick on the ice in pure frustration and anger over Watson’s move, and he was slow to get back up after getting drilled by the slapper.
The Nashville Predators were extremely upset with Watson’s behavior, but according to Alex Daughtery of Penalty Box Radio, Watson attempted to visit the opposing team’s locker room postgame to apologize to Lauzon and ensure he was okay.
Postgame, Nashville coach Andrew Brunette slammed Watson’s antics.
“I did not like that at all. There’s no place in hockey for that. No place whatsoever in hockey for that,” he said.
On social media, fans were absolutely furious, with many calling for the league to suspend him.
“Just no point to this. He needs to be suspended for this one. Just no place for it,” one social media user said on Twitter.
“Garbage. Down 5-1 in your end with a second left. Tampa always been sore losers,” another said.
“100% intentional,” a third added.
But many also think that it was unintentional from Watson.
“Kinda just looked like he was firing the puck at the goalie for one last shot. Happens every other game. Sucks, but like… idk. Don’t think he drilled it at him on purpose,” one said.
“Meh, that’s just an unfortunate situation. Nothing malicious about it,” another said.
“Not intentional at all. Had his head down,” a third added.