Sunday’s contest between the Washington Capitals and the Minnesota Wild was a testy one. Many expected some kind of scrum between Tom Wilson and Ryan Reavse, but instead, it was Matt Dumba and T.J. Oshie who dropped their mitts in the third period of the game.
Capitals star player Evgeny Kuznetsov had already thrown a punch at a Wild player in the second period, and in the third, he moved the puck out of the defensive zone. Without Kuznetsov noticing anything, Matt Dumba stepped up and absolutely steamrolled him with a huge hit.
Many believed the hit to be dirty and in Kuzentsov’s blindside, but the officials didn’t call Dumba on the hit.
Dumba was forced to drop the gloves with T.J. Oshie after the hit, but officials quickly broke up the fight.
Kuznetsov had to leave for the locker room after the hit and didn’t return to the game. Postgame, Capitals’ Dylan Strome praised Oshie for going after Dumba.
”Good on Osh to step in,” he said. “That’s a veteran guy, leader on the team. [The hit] takes out one of our best players, so Osh steps up and fights someone. Got some momentum for us.”
But Matt Dumba also said a very great thing about the fight, as he explained why he didn’t hold a grudge against Oshie for dropping the gloves with him.
“I understand it,” Dumba said. “Hit like that goes the other way, I’m expecting our guys to step in and have each other’s back. That’s part of the game and something that I don’t think fighting can ever leave the game. It’s a way to police it.”
And although Dumba didn’t get penalized by officials, he way get reviewed by the NHL Department of Player Safety.
“I don’t like the hit,” Capitals head coach Peter Laviolette said postgame. “You know what I mean? A player’s vulnerable like that, takes a pop at his head, I don’t like the hit.”