Fighting has been on the decline in hockey over the last few years. But, like the Rangers/Devils escapades last month, there are always big brawls that make headlines. Asked if fighting has run its course in hockey ESPN Hockey Analyst Barry Melrose replied, ‘fighting is there for a reason. It’s a tool. It’s part of our history. It’s exciting as hell.’
Listen to the entire interview here:
The NHL Playoffs are as exciting as hell, too. Melrose joined The Norris & Davis Show on Baltimore’s 105-7 THE FAN to preview The Washington Capitals upcoming matchup against The Boston Bruins. The best of 7 series begins Thursday night.
When asked what kind of chances the Caps have of beating the defending Stanley Cup Champs in round 1 Melrose responded, ‘Slim.’
Melrose was polite and pointed out some solid aspects of the team but noted the series will be ‘a tough job for the Caps.’
After starting the season 7-0, The Capitals stumbled badly, fired coach Bruce Boudreau and barely made the playoffs. Melrose was surprised by the poor play because the Capitals ‘should be one of the best teams in the NHL and right now it is not that far from being one of the poorest in the NHL.’
Injuries may have been part of the problem for the Capitals this season. Defenseman Mike Green missed much of January and February with a groin injury. Center Nicklas Backstrom missed 40 games due to concussion.
Currently, goalies Tomas Vokoun (groin) and Michel Neuvirth (ankle) are sitting. Twenty-two year old Braden Holtby will start the series in goal. The rookie has been great thus far posting a 14-4-3 record.
Despite having a very solid team surrounding superstar Alexander Ovechkin, The Capitals have fallen short of expectations. When asked if the team would retool if it got bounced from the playoffs early again this season, Melrose responded, ‘Who are you going to move? The guys that people would want are the ones you can’t move. It’s going to be a very interesting offseason for the Washington Capitals if they perform poorly (in the playoffs.) Will (coach) Dale Hunter be back? (coach) Boudreau maybe wasn’t the problem. There are other issues with that team.’