WASHINGTON -- Washington Capitals defenseman John Erskine might be hearing from the league office soon.
At the tail end of the first period in Friday night's game against the Philadelphia Flyers, the puck came back to the point where Erskine fumbled for a second, leading Wayne Simmonds to sense a takeaway opportunity and move in. That's when Erskine got his elbow up and right into the face of Simmonds.
Initially, it looked like it might have been inadvertent, that was until seeing the replays. Erskine appeared to look up from the ice and notice Simmonds coming his way. Very soon after his elbow was on the way up and it was receiving Simmonds' face.
Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren spoke after the game to give an update on Simmonds' status as well as his thoughts on the hit.
"When I saw it live I didn't think ... two guys colliding for the puck," Holmgren said. "When you see the replay, I don't know why his elbow came up. I don't think John's that kind of player, he's not a dirty player. Those things happen."
Then there was coach Peter Laviolette, who was clearly steamed after the game (here's his brief, angry postgame press conference video via Travis Hughes at SB Nation).
"It looked dirty when I first saw it," he said sternly. "Tough hit."
As for Capitals coach Adam Oates, well, he kind of took the fifth.
"I haven't seen that yet, no."
The worry now becomes the status of Simmonds. He didn't return in the game and Holmgren said they went through the standard protocols after such a hit.
"Obviously he's got a head injury and probably a little bit of whiplash going on right now," Holmgren said. "He seemed OK after the game, we're just going to have to wait and see tomorrow.
"The doctor saw him tonight and he didn't say anything about that [concussion], so we'll so how he is tomorrow."
No penalty was called on the play but that's not likely to save him from chief disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan. The fact that his elbow appeared to come up intentionally and then hit Simmonds in the face will most definitely be frowned upon.
The Flyers were upset there was no penalty called.
As Simmonds sat on the bench being treated for his now bloody nose, Zac Rinaldo went after Matt Hendricks of the Capitals before the ensuing faceoff and just hammered away. It was one of the more furious and angry fights you'll see. Rinaldo didn't look like he wanted to stop, either.
Both Rinaldo and Hendricks received game misconducts for dropping their gloves before the puck had been dropped.
"We had a mutual agreement, between me and Hendricks to go when they dropped the puck," Rinaldo said. "They just didn't."
Asked if there were anything he would do differently, Rinaldo was short.
Laviolette wasn't happy with much after the game, but he was at least a little pleased with Rinaldo.
"Zac always brings a lot of energy on his line," Laviolette said. "He's just trying to get his team going."
It was a rough night all around for the Flyers, potentially losing another key cog in Simmonds -- although that will be determined later -- and losing another game, 3-2, to drop to 2-6-0 on the season.
(h/t ProHockeyTalk for the video)