By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Lars Eller is not a fighter. At all. In fact, in 605 NHL games prior to Wednesday night, Eller had engaged in zero fights. The 29-year-old didn’t even have his own page on HockeyFights.com.
That changed late in Wednesday’s blowout win by the Capitals, though it wasn’t by Eller’s own choosing.
It changed because Brad Marchand took exception to Eller’s goal celebration — the goal celebration that came following the Capitals’ seventh goal of the night in what was a thorough rout by the Capitals, who were celebrating the raising of their Stanley Cup banner.
So, Marchand grabbed a hold of Eller and, essentially, forced the Dane to dance near the Boston net. Despite giving up five inches and almost 30 pounds, Marchand dominated the fight. Eller was left bleeding from his head.
That domination was due at least in part to the fact that Eller did not really want to fight. And given that clear resistance to the violence, and given Marchand’s history of being a player who often gets disciplined and suspended by the league, many viewers questioned how and why Marchand could be allowed to do what he did.
While that part remains unanswered, Marchand at least admitted why he went after Eller in the first place.
“The celebration was unnecessary,” Marchand told reporters after the 7-0 loss. “He took an angle in front of our bench in a 7-0 game. So I just let him know.”
(It should be noted that while Eller does not fight, neither does Marchand, really.)
Realistically, Marchand won’t face NHL discipline for a fight. Fights are still allowed in the NHL (for now). Players can still get suspended (in the preseason) for punching unsuspecting opponents, but if the officials on the ice allow for a fight to take place, then what happens in that fight is largely fair game.
Still, in a hockey world where few folks outside of Boston tend to like No. 63 on the Bruins, this incident will likely get added to the list of the reasons why.