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(Gene J. Puskar)
(Gene J. Puskar)

Can the NHL legislate respect? Add to ...

It looks like Brendan Shanahan has a little more work ahead when it comes to getting NHL players to show a little more respect for each other.

A familiar team was the source of the latest controversy, the Pittsburgh Penguins, as their latest game with their hated rivals, the Washington Capitals, featured some silliness.

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This time, Pens winger Matt Cooke was not the villain. Arron Asham was the man in the spotlight for first decking Capitals rookie Jay Beagle and then celebrating with a WWE-style knockout gesture.

Asham apologized after the game for the classless move and his coach dismissed it as a boys-will-be-boys stuff. But if Shanahan, the NHL’s new lord of discipline, is going to drag the players to a better standard of behaviour, people like Asham need to be taken to the woodshed.

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review has the whole sorry story here.

Alas, Shanahan and his bosses are not of the same opinion, since it looks like Asham will not be suspended for making like a pro wrestler while his opponent was lying unconscious on the ice. Interesting position for a league trying to convince everyone it is serious about reducing concussions.

Fortunately, the Capitals reported Beagle was not seriously injured.

Around the league, Asham’s fellow players are cutting him some slack because he has a reputation as a player who does not normally taunt the vanquished and because he quickly wised up and apologized.

“You’ve got to have respect for guys,” Leafs winger Jay Rosehill, no stranger to fighting, said Friday. “You don’t celebrate. That could just as easily be you [on the receiving end]

“I know [Asham]a bit and he seems to be a good guy. He said he was caught in the heat of the moment and he regretted it.”

Like a couple of his teammates, Rosehill did not see any point to suspending Asham.

“I don’t think you’ll see him do that again,” Rosehill said. “Guys that do that are few and far between. If you suspend him, what does that do?”

Asham called former teammate Mike Knuble, who now plays for the Capitals, to check on Beagle and offer an apology. But then he heard what Caps star Alexander Ovechkin had to say, so he started firing back, according to the Washington Post, so this story has not run out of legs yet.



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