The story of the weekend in the NHL was the brawl that erupted between the Philadelphia Flyers and Washington Capitals on Friday. The Flyers were getting dismantled by the Caps in the game 7-0 so the Flyers toook it upon themselves to shake things up.
Specifically that meant dropping the gloves and getting puncy. Included in that scene was goaltender Ray Emery skating the length of the ice and using Capitals goalie Braden Holtby as his own personal punching bag.
It wasn't a pretty scene and it was kind of telling that the Flyers needed something like that to light their fire. However that's exactly what they say happened.
Per Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer, both Scott Hartnell and Vincent Lecavalier, who was injured in his fight, credited that melee with bringing the team together.
"Obviously, fighting is part of the game. It's been a while since you see three or four fights in one stoppage and a goalie going down and attacking another team's goalie," Hartnell said after Monday's practice in Voorhees. "People are all over Razor [Emery] for doing that. But look what he did. He played solid for us and got us a shutout. We were excited. Even though the crowd booed us the whole game, it felt like a win after that little scrum. We love it, fans love it here in Philly. It's part of our heritage. We definitely fed off it. We gotta keep doing it. We can't win one and lose two every time. It's got to continue."
"You can definitely build from that. It's team bonding," forward Vinny Lecavalier said of the carryover effect from the brawl. "You see your teammates going at it and they played a great game that next game and did other things to play as a team. Hopefully, it will snowball and we'll start a streak here and get going."
How effective was it? Well the Flyers were able to squeek out a 1-0 victory over the New Jersey Devils and their woeful offense on Saturday. Indeed, the fire seems to have been lit.
can do debate until they are blue in the face about the carryover effect from fights whether they be in a game or over multiple games. Scoring just one goal in the next game, albeit in a win, wouldn't seem to lend one to putting a whole lot of stock to the team bonding of Friday's fight in an embarrassing performance but the fact is if the Flyers believe it worked then it worked. In cases such as that perception can become reality.
The questions now are how long will it work and does it actually make a difference for the Flyers? The might be a tighter group after rallying around the incident but that doesn't mean they're any better.