Andre Hidi showed up for the Washington Capitals' training camp session yesterday with his left eye blackened and a cut on a brow. They were reminders of his Friday night fight with Dave Brown of the Philadelphia Flyers.
Hidi, 6-2 and 205, has a master's degree in international relations from the University of Toronto and is pursuing a doctorate in economics and political theory. Brown, 6-5 and 205, has National Hockey League credentials that include four goals and 266 penalty minutes.
The comparison might make some wonder what Hidi was doing on the Capital Centre ice, challenging Brown to a fight. But Hidi had no doubts at all.
"I knew what I was getting into," Hidi said. "To play in this league, you have to be aggressive. If Dave Brown is going after a guy Louie's (Franceschetti, 6 feet and 190) size, I have to show up.
"Hey, you show me somebody who's never lost a fight and I'll show you somebody who hasn't had any. They don't come much bigger than Brown and he's one of the best fighters in the league. But he didn't sucker me; I called him out.
"I was hoping I could get him along the boards, because I'm stronger, but I didn't manage it. I learned something, though. Next time just might be a little different."
The fight was the second of the night for each participant, as the 4-4 exhibition tie proved highly physical, as most games between the Patrick Division rivals are.
Hidi had more success in an earlier bout with Rick Tocchet. Brown, meanwhile, still was fuming because he had been lured into a seven-minute penalty when he attacked Franceschetti and the Washington winger covered up. The Capitals did not take advantage of that imbalance and went zero for 10 on the power play.
This is Hidi's second shot with the Capitals since he led the University of Toronto to the Canadian college championship in 1984, scoring 45 goals in 49 games.
Hidi surprised a lot of people by earning a starting role at left wing during last year's training camp. But after six games, it was decided he was too inexperienced and he was demoted to Binghamton of the American Hockey League, where stretched knee ligaments ended his season.
"Last year was a real roller coaster for me," Hidi said. "I was up early, then I went down and I was upset about it and I played poorly. When I finally turned it around and started playing better, I got hurt.
"The knee was immobilized for five weeks and it took me three months to get it back to full strength. But it's 100 percent now and it feels good.
"I have to work hard on my quickness. They consider that my big question mark. I've improved it and I've also learned a lot about the difference between pro hockey and the colleges. One thing, obviously, is that you've got to stand up to anybody who tries to push you or your teammates around."
The Capitals' management has passed the word that anyone who backs down from a confrontation can pack up. This attitude was a contributing factor in the repeated brawling in Friday's rookie scrimmage against Philadelphia and it had its effect on the night game, too.
Afterward, Terry Murray, who replaced brother Bryan behind the Washington bench, said he was delighted with the way the Capitals responded.
"I was impressed with our desire and intensity," Terry Murray said. "Andre Hidi and Ed Kastelic (who fought Joe Paterson) responded to the call and they got their marks for it."
For a guy whose previous high marks came in the classroom, those were welcome words.