It used to be that Washington Capitals enforcer Chris Simon would fight every few games, the nature of his job. But now the 6-foot-4, 235-pound winger can't remember the last time he dropped the gloves. Well, the last time he dropped the gloves before tonight, that is.

Simon fought Buffalo Sabres forward Wayne Primeau in the first period of Washington's 3-2 victory at Marine Midland Arena. The oft-injured Capital was barely able to lift his arms the last few years, the result of a badly separated shoulder. The best anyone around the team can recall, Simon's last fight was during training camp in 1997, when the shoulder problems began.

"My last fight, man, it must be two years ago," Simon said. "I tried to fight once last year in Edmonton and my shoulder popped right out. I felt great tonight. You never know how it's going to feel until you try it and I raised my arm and it felt great. I think I was smiling through the entire fight. My arm felt great. That's one thing I don't have to worry about now."

Primeau (6-3, 225) began the altercation by going after Simon after he landed a big check on rookie Brian Campbell. Simon immediately got his left loose, landing powerful blows to Primeau's face before the men tumbled to the ice, with Primeau on top. Simon was limited to just 93 games in his first three seasons in Washington. He played just 23 games last season before undergoing season-ending surgery in December. The 27-year-old is considered a key player for a team that was challenged often in the preseason now that tough guys Dale Hunter, Mark Tinordi, Craig Berube and Enrico Ciccone are no longer around.

Opening Celebrations

The Capitals will hold Hocktoberfest from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday on F Street, with a performance by the band Everything scheduled for 4:30 p.m. The festival will feature interactive games and contests and leads into the home opener against Los Angeles. . . .

The Capitals are looking into the possibility of hosting the all-star game sometime in the next few years, President Dick Patrick said. . . . The team is expected to retire Hunter's No. 32 this season. . . . Rookie Jeff Halpern was the target of playful teasing. The veterans painted his brown Doc Martens white, prodding the youngster to indulge in more expensive footwear.