It's not a common scene to see the NHL's most skilled players, and captains, dropping the gloves in a fight. When they do, there's usually good reason. When Alex Ovechkin fought Brandon Dubinsky at center ice on Sunday it was a combination of frustration boiling over and trying to spark his teammates.
At about the 30 second mark of the clip of the fight below, you can see Ovechkin looking in the direction of the Capitals bench wave his arm upward as if to say 'Let's go' to his teammates.
Ovechkin said the fight was "just a moment in the game, nothing special happened." But to any who saw, it appeared to be more than that -- the biggest 'Let's go' gesture he could come up with for his team.
"He did what great leaders do," Coach Bruce Boudreau. "Trying to get their team going and that's what he did....He's an emotional player that wants to win and this is what captains do. I hope he doesn't have to do it anymore ever."
While it's not unusual to see a captain get involved in a fight to spark his team, captains who belong to an elite skill club - like Ovechkin, Sidney Crosby, Henrik Sedin, Nicklas Lidstrom, Jonathan Toews, Vincent Lecavalier and so on - may not do so on a regular basis. So when they do, it makes it that much easier for the rest of a team to stand up and take notice.
Perhaps for the Capitals, seeing Ovechkin leading the charge to break out of this slump, even if it didn't manifest itself against the Rangers, is exactly what they needed in terms of a spark or wakeup call to get back on track.
AROUND THE WEB
More on the power of a statement fight from Justin Bourne. (USA Today)
Capitals' ups and downs from the week that was, and they aren't pretty. (Japer's Rink)
Five reasons for the Capitals' struggles. (Puck Daddy)
Alex Ovechkin, along with Sidney Crosby and Jeremy Roenick are going to be on the Price is Right. Really.