Philadelphia Flyers–Ottawa Senators brawl

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Flyers–Senators brawl
1 2 3 Total
Ottawa Senators 1 1 1 3
Philadelphia Flyers 3 1 1 5
Date March 5, 2004
Arena Wachovia Center
City Philadelphia, PA, United States
Attendance 19,539

The Flyers–Senators brawl was a National Hockey League (NHL) regular season game between the Philadelphia Flyers and the Ottawa Senators that resulted in a league-record for penalty minutes. The game was played on March 5, 2004 at the Wachovia Center, the home arena of the Flyers. Philadelphia won the game by the score 5–3. In all, 419 minutes were assessed, passing the previous NHL record of 406. The 213 minutes assessed against Philadelphia were also a record, as were the number of penalty minutes in the third period.

The incidents were precipitated by an incident in the previous meeting between the two teams, when Ottawa's Martin Havlat had swung his stick at Mark Recchi's head. Just under two minutes before the end of the brawl game, enforcers Donald Brashear of the Flyers and Rob Ray of the Senators engaged in a fight. As they skated off to the penalty box, Brashear got involved in another scrap, and the rest of the players on the ice for each team, including goaltenders Robert Esche and Patrick Lalime began to fight. On both of the next two face-offs to restart the game, further fights occurred. The first instance angered the Flyers' management, who believed that the fights were deliberately unbalanced against their players.

On the third restart after the initial fight, the crowd booed when a fight did not immediately ensue, but in less than 30 seconds two more fights had broken out. The final fight occurred directly after the fourth face-off, involving Jason Spezza and Patrick Sharp. Spezza and Brashear were assessed for the most penalty minutes in the game, receiving 35 and 34 respectively. At the start of the 2005–06 season, the NHL introduced a rule that punished anyone instigating a fight in the final five minutes of a game with a one-game suspension, in order to prevent similar incidents occurring in the future.

Background[edit]

In the previous game between the two sides, the Flyers were angered by a slash by Martin Havlat of the Senators.

In each of the previous two seasons, the Philadelphia Flyers and the Ottawa Senators had met in the playoffs, and on each occasion the Senators eliminated the Flyers.[1] The Flyers had not beaten the Senators in their previous five contests, going 0–3–2.[2]

When the two sides met in late February, a week before the brawl game, during the third period, Flyers winger Mark Recchi was following Martin Havlat of the Senators when he crossed into the Philadelphia defensive zone. As this happened, Recchi hooked Havlat, causing both of the players to collide and fall into the boards. When Havlat got up from the ice, angered by Recchi's hook, he took his stick above him and slashed Recchi, hitting him in the face.[3]

Havlat was given a five-minute major penalty for attempting to injure Recchi, along with a game misconduct penalty. He was later given a two-game suspension by the NHL due to the incident. He was forced to give up US$36,585.36 of his salary as he had already been suspended for kicking Eric Cairns of the New York Islanders earlier in the season.[3]

Revenge was mentioned after the game by Ken Hitchcock, the head coach for the Flyers. During a post game interview with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), he commented that "someday, someone's going to make him eat his lunch. This is something, in my opinion, that the players should take care of."[3] Recchi also mentioned revenge, not specifically from the Flyers, during an interview with the CBC. "It doesn't surprise me coming from this guy. He's that type of player. He's done it before. It might not come from our team. But he better protect himself," said Recchi.[3]

Game summary[edit]

Despite having what Rob Maaddi of the Associated Press described as "bad blood" between them, the first period of the game passed without serious incident. Chris Neil opened the scoring for Ottawa just over 4 minutes into the period, but the Flyers then took the lead when Claude Lapointe and Mark Recchi scored 30 seconds apart. Danny Markov added a third for Philadelphia to give them a two-goal lead. The only penalty assessed in the period was for holding against Philadelphia's Tony Amonte.[4] In the second period, an early tripping penalty against Ottawa's Mike Fisher put the Flyers on the power play, during which Kim Johnsson extended Philadelphia's lead to 4–1. Ottawa received another penalty less than a minute later, which sent Todd Simpson to the penalty box for holding. A Flyers penalty against Radovan Somik for slashing Martin Havlat resulted in a power play goal for the Senators' Zdeno Chara, closing the score to a two-goal gap once again. Fisher subsequently received his second penalty of the game, for high-sticking.[4]

The third period began with Alexei Zhamnov notching the Flyers' fifth goal of the game to make it 5–2. Shortly thereafter the game started to become more heated; Zhamnov and Daniel Alfredsson were assessed coincidental minors for roughing nine minutes into the period, and three minutes later Bryan Smolinski and Mark Greig were similarly penalized. Simpson returned to the box soon after, for slashing Michal Handzus, but Philadelphia's power play when cut short when they received a penalty for having too many men on the ice.[4]

Donald Brashear fighting Sheldon Brookbank.
Donald Brashear (left, playing for the Washington Capitals) instigated the fight which started the brawl.

With 1 minute and 45 seconds left in the third period, the Flyers' enforcer Donald Brashear hit Rob Ray, an enforcer for the Senators, from behind, instigating a fight between the pair.[5] When he was asked after the game why he started the fight, Brashear replied with his own question; "Did you see the last game?"[6] His reply was interpreted as being a reference to Havlat's slashing penalty against Recchi.[6] Brashear was generally considered to win the fight, with Tim Panaccio of The Philadelphia Inquirer claiming that Brashear "destroyed Rob Ray".[7] The fight left Ray bloodied, and as Brashear was being escorted off the ice by the linesman, he exchanged blows with both Brian Pothier and Todd Simpson.[8] Philadelphia's Patrick Sharp attempted to restrain Simpson, who then pushed Sharp to the ice and started throwing punches at him. Markov intervened, and fought Simpson.[9] At the same time, Branko Radivojevic and Shaun Van Allen had paired off for a fight, and Ottawa's goaltender, Patrick Lalime, skated the length of the ice to fight fellow goaltender Robert Esche; both received penalties for leaving their crease as well as fighting majors.[2]

The game restarted with two new goaltenders and the Senators on the power play, but within three seconds the fighting started again; Ottawa's Chris Neil poked Radovan Somik with his stick, and the pair started scrapping.[7] At the same time, Zdeno Chara started a fight with the Flyers' Mattias Timander, for which he received an instigator penalty.[4] Both fights angered Philadelphia's head coach, Hitchcock, who claimed that "Their tough guy (Ray) got beat up and then their next two lines fought guys who don't fight."[2] The Flyer's general manager, Bob Clarke, was also critical, saying "I understand Rob Ray fighting Donald Brashear. That's okay. [...] But don't go after guys who don't know how to defend themselves like Somik and Timander."[9] As Chara had been ejected from the game, his penalty was served by Martin Havlat, who had been placed there to protect him from any possible attempts at retribution.[7] Chara's penalty meant that at the next restart, the teams were back to even strength, with four players each. Immediately after the ensuing face-off, Michal Handzus and Fisher took part in the seventh fight of the game.[9]

There were no fights straight after the next restart, which resulted in booing from the crowd. Within 24 second of that restart, the crowd had their way; Mark Recchi hit Wade Redden, who immediately launched himself into a fight with John LeClair. While those two fought, Recchi and Bryan Smolinski engaged in a second fight in the middle of the rink.[9] LeClair received an additional penalty for holding, placing the Senators on the power play. At the next face-off, a fight once again broke out straight away, between Jason Spezza and Sharp. Spezza received a fighting major, a misconduct and double game misconduct, totalling 35 penalty minutes, the most of any player in the game.[10]

The rest of the game proceeded without any fights; the Flyers only had four players left on their bench, while the Senators had two.[9] The Senators tallied the final goal of the game with 13 seconds remaining, Peter Bondra scoring on the power play, to make the final score 5–3.[10] At the end of the game, it took the officials 90 minutes to allocate all the penalties that had been given to the two sides.[11] The two teams combined for 413 penalty minutes, an NHL record, breaking the previous total of 406 in a 1981 game between the Boston Bruins and the Minnesota North Stars. Philadelphia's 213 penalty minutes was also a new league record, as were the 409 minutes assessed in the third period. Interviewed after the game, Fisher said that the Senators "knew we had to fight back. We had to stand up for each other."[1]

Aftermath[edit]

The media drew comparisons between the game and the "Broad Street Bullies" era of the Philadelphia Flyers in the 1970s, when they played very aggressive hockey with lots of fights.[12][13][14] At the conclusion of the game, Philadelphia's general manager, Clarke, tried to enter the Senators' dressing room to confront their head coach, Jacques Martin. He was held back by his team's public relations director, Zack Hill.[7] Clarke said that he would not have hit Martin, but that he had wanted to challenge Martin about the unbalanced fight pairings.[9] Clarke subsequently lodged a complaint with league supervisor Claude Loiselle.[7] The only player to receive a fine or suspension as a result of the game was Markov, who got a statutory one-game ban for collecting his third game misconduct of the season.[9]

Philadelphia-based Comcast SportsNet (CSN), which had aired the game live, described it as an "instant classic", replayed the game the following Wednesday (March 10).[5] The replayed received a Nielsen rating of 1.0, a higher figure than most telecasts involving the Philadelphia Flyers. League officials from the NHL were unhappy with the replay being shown, as they perceived the game to tarnish the league's image, and they requested that CSN not replay the game again.[9]

The Flyers and the Senators met once more during the season, and despite some bluster from Clarke that Philadelphia would seek further revenge, there were only six minor penalties assessed in the match, which the Senators won 3–1. Ottawa defenseman Chara explained that "both teams were really focusing on the two points. We weren't going to risk that by fighting."[15] Both teams qualified for the 2004 Stanley Cup playoffs; Ottawa were eliminated in the first-round by the Toronto Maple Leafs, while Philadelphia defeated the New Jersey Devils and Toronto Maple Leafs to reach the Conference Finals, but were then beaten by the Tampa Bay Lightning.[16]

The brawl, along with an incident between the Vancouver Canucks' Todd Bertuzzi and Steve Moore of the Colorado Avalanche, (in which Bertuzzi hit Moore from behind, breaking his neck, in retaliation for a hit by Moore on one of Bertuzzi's team-mates a month earlier), brought the issue of violence in ice hockey into focus. Particular attention was given to retaliation; when Brashear was interviewed on the subject of the Bertuzzi incident he defended such on-ice revenge, and suggested that Bertuzzi should not receive a suspension, because "all they have to do is go after him when he comes back."[17] That mindset echoed the comments made by Hitchcock and Recchi about Havlat,[18] and Sam Donnellon of the Philadelphia Daily News suggested that it was prevailing opinion amongst all the players in the league. He suggested that rather than wanting stricter penalties to clamp down on dangerous play, (which he advocated), the players believed that removing the penalty for instigating a fight, and allowing players to therefore get their retribution by that means, would have the same effect.[19] Mike Heika of The Dallas Morning News also believed that the league should be stricter in handing out fines and suspensions, suggesting that Hitchcock should possibly have been penalised for his revenge comments, and that if Havlat had received a lengthier ban for his actions the brawl between the Flyers and Senators may not have happened.[20]

The 2004–05 NHL season was cancelled because of a labor dispute, but upon the league's return in 2005, a rule was added which meant that any player being assessed for an instigator penalty in the last five minutes of a match would receive an automatic one-game ban, and the player's head coach could also be fined. This was designed to avoid situations such as happened in game between the Flyers and Senators, and addressed the fact that physical play tended to increase towards the end of a game, particularly when the result was not in question.[21]

Boxscore[edit]

Scoring summary[4]
Period Team Goal Assist(s) Time Score
1st OTT Chris Neil (8) Todd Simpson (4), Martin Havlat (31) 4:07 1–0 OTT
PHI Claude Lapointe (4) Radovan Somik (9), John Slaney (1) 10:41 1–1
PHI Mark Recchi (25) John LeClair (24), Michal Handzus (32) 11:11 2–1 PHI
PHI Danny Markov (6) Michal Handzus (33), John LeClair (25) 16:10 3–1 PHI
2nd PHI Kim Johnsson (9) (PP) Alexei Zhamnov (17), John Slaney (2) 5:22 4–1 PHI
OTT Zdeno Chara (15) (PP) Jason Spezza (29), Peter Schaefer (20) 14:32 4–2 PHI
3rd PHI Alexei Zhamnov (10) Simon Gagne (20), Tony Amonte (28) 6:54 5–2 PHI
OTT Peter Bondra (24) (PP) Daniel Alfredsson (40), Peter Schaefer (21) 19:47 5–3 PHI
Number in parenthesis represents the player's total in goals or assists to that point of the season
Penalty summary[4]
Period Team Player Penalty Time PIM
1st PHI Tony Amonte Holding – Obstruction 05:17 2:00
2nd OTT Mike Fisher Tripping 03:57 2:00
OTT Todd Simpson Holding 06:06 2:00
PHI Radovan Somik Slashing 13:08 2:00
OTT Mike Fisher High-sticking 17:07 2:00
3rd OTT Daniel Alfredsson Roughing 09:03 2:00
PHI Alexei Zhamnov Roughing 09:03 2:00
OTT Bryan Smolinski Roughing 12:18 2:00
PHI Patrick Sharp Roughing 12:18 2:00
OTT Todd Simpson Slashing 14:21 2:00
PHI Served by Patrick Sharp Too many men on the ice - bench 15:57 2:00
PHI Donald Brashear Instigator, Roughing, Fighting (double major), Misconduct, Game misconduct 18:15 34:00
OTT Rob Ray Fighting 18:15 5:00
PHI Branko Radivojevic Fighting, double Game misconduct 18:15 25:00
OTT Shaun Van Allen Fighting, double Game misconduct 18:15 25:00
PHI Danny Markov Fighting, Game misconduct 18:15 15:00
OTT Todd Simpson Fighting, Game misconduct 18:15 15:00
PHI Robert Esche Goaltender leaving crease, Fighting, double Game misconduct 18:15 27:00
OTT Patrick Lalime Goaltender leaving crease, Fighting, Game misconduct 18:15 17:00
PHI Radovan Somik Fighting 18:18 5:00
OTT Chris Neil Fighting 18:18 5:00
PHI Mattias Timander Fighting 18:18 5:00
OTT Zdeno Chara
Instigator two minute minor served by Martin Havlat
Instigator, Fighting, Misconduct, Game misconduct 18:18 27:00
PHI Michal Handzus Fighting, Misconduct, Game misconduct 18:21 25:00
OTT Mike Fisher Fighting, Misconduct, Game misconduct 18:21 25:00
PHI Mark Recchi Fighting, Game misconduct 18:45 15:00
OTT Bryan Smolinski Fighting, Game misconduct 18:45 15:00
OTT Wade Redden Fighting, Misconduct, Game misconduct 18:45 25:00
PHI John LeClair
Holding two minute minor served by Simon Gagne
Holding, Fighting, Misconduct, Game misconduct 18:45 27:00
PHI Patrick Sharp Fighting, Misconduct, Game misconduct 18:47 25:00
OTT Jason Spezza Fighting, Misconduct, double Game misconduct 18:47 35:00

Team rosters[edit]

Ottawa Senators[10]
# Player Position PIM
2 Pothier, BrianBrian Pothier D 0
3 Chara, ZdenoZdeno Chara D 27
4 Phillips, ChrisChris Phillips D 0
6 Redden, WadeWade Redden D 25
9 Havlat, MartinMartin Havlat LW 0
10 Bondra, PeterPeter Bondra RW 0
11 Alfredsson, DanielDaniel Alfredsson RW 2
12 Fisher, MikeMike Fisher C 29
15 Schaefer, PeterPeter Schaefer LW 0
18 Hossa, MarianMarian Hossa RW 0
20 Vermette, AntoineAntoine Vermette C 0
21 Smolinski, BryanBryan Smolinski C 17
22 Van Allen, ShaunShaun Van Allen C 25
23 Rachunek, KarelKarel Rachunek D 0
25 Neil, ChrisChris Neil RW 5
27 Simpson, ToddTodd Simpson D 19
31 Prusek, MartinMartin Prusek G 0
32 Ray, RobRob Ray RW 5
39 Spezza, JasonJason Spezza C 35
40 Lalime, PatrickPatrick Lalime G 17
Head coach: Jacques Martin
Philadelphia Flyers[10]
# Player Position PIM
3 Timander, MattiasMattias Timander D 5
5 Johnsson, KimKim Johnsson D 0
6 Therien, ChrisChris Therien D 0
8 Recchi, MarkMark Recchi RW 15
9 Sharp, PatrickPatrick Sharp LW 27
10 Leclair, JohnJohn Leclair LW 27
11 Amonte, TonyTony Amonte RW 2
12 Gagne, SimonSimon Gagne LW 0
13 Lapointe, ClaudeClaude Lapointe C 0
19 Radivojevic, BrankoBranko Radivojevic RW 25
20 Somik, RadovanRadovan Somik RW 7
23 Zhamnov, AlexeiAlexei Zhamnov C 2
24 Kapanen, SamiSami Kapanen RW 0
26 Handzus, MichalMichal Handzus C 25
41 Burke, SeanSean Burke G 0
42 Esche, RobertRobert Esche G 27
44 Pitkanen, JoniJoni Pitkanen D 0
45 Slaney, JohnJohn Slaney D 0
55 Markov, DannyDanny Markov D 15
87 Brashear, DonaldDonald Brashear LW 34
Head coach: Ken Hitchcock

Scratches[edit]

Officials[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Maaddi, Rob (March 6, 2004). "Flyers, Senators Rivalry Heats Up". AP Online (Associated Press). Retrieved January 22, 2015 – via HighBeam Research. (subscription required (help)). 
  2. ^ a b c "Flyers beat Senators 5-3 in game that ends in brawl". AP Worldstream (Associated Press). March 6, 2004. Retrieved January 22, 2015 – via HighBeam Research. (subscription required (help)). 
  3. ^ a b c d "Senators' Havlat suspended for two games". CBC Sports. March 5, 2004. Retrieved May 3, 2009. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f "Ottawa Senators vs. Philadelphia Flyers - Boxscore - March 05, 2004". ESPN. March 5, 2004. Retrieved January 22, 2015. 
  5. ^ a b Sheridan, Phil (March 10, 2004). "NHL brass prefers vigilante justice". The Philadelphia Inquirer (Philadelphia, PA: Knight Ridder). Retrieved January 22, 2015 – via HighBeam Research. (subscription required (help)). 
  6. ^ a b Blockus, Gary (March 6, 2004). "Flyers slug their way past Ottawa, 5–3". The Morning Call (Allentown, PA: Tribune Media). Retrieved January 22, 2015. 
  7. ^ a b c d e Panaccio, Tim (March 5, 2004). "Flyers brawl past the Senators". The Philadelphia Inquirer (Philadelphia, PA: Knight Ridder). Retrieved January 22, 2015 – via HighBeam Research. (subscription required (help)). 
  8. ^ D'Ambrosio, Brian (2010). Hockey Fights: The NHL's Toughest Fighters 2000–2010. Jabberwocky Press. p. 27. ASIN B009305TKY. Retrieved January 22, 2015. 
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h Kimelman, Adam (2008). "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Philadelphia Flyers". Triumph Books. pp. 133–7. ISBN 978-1600780219. Retrieved January 22, 2015. 
  10. ^ a b c d "Ottawa Senators at Philadelphia Flyers – 03/05/2004: Boxscore". National Hockey League. Retrieved January 22, 2015. 
  11. ^ "Flyers, Senators Fight Way Into Records". AP Online (Associated Press). March 6, 2004. Retrieved January 22, 2015 – via HighBeam Research. (subscription required (help)). 
  12. ^ "Five brawls break out in final two minutes". ESPN. Associated Press. March 5, 2004. Retrieved January 22, 2015. 
  13. ^ "Ottawa vs. Philadelphia". USA Today (Gannett Company). March 5, 2004. Retrieved January 22, 2015. 
  14. ^ Lennox, Doug (2008). Now You Know Hockey. Dundurn Press. p. 41. ISBN 978-1-55002-869-0. Retrieved January 22, 2015. 
  15. ^ Podell, Ira (April 3, 2004). "Flyers and Senators behave in rematch". AP Worldstream (Associated Press). Retrieved January 22, 2015 – via HighBeam Research. (subscription required (help)). 
  16. ^ "2004 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs Summary". Hockey-Reference. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved January 22, 2015. 
  17. ^ Panaccio, Tim (March 10, 2004). "Brashear understands Bertuzzi's intention of intimidation". The Philadelphia Inquirer (Philadelphia, PA: Knight Ridder). Retrieved January 22, 2015 – via HighBeam Research. (subscription required (help)). 
  18. ^ Sheridan, Phil (March 10, 2004). "NHL brass prefers vigilante justice". The Philadelphia Inquirer (Philadelphia, PA: Knight Ridder). Retrieved January 22, 2015 – via HighBeam Research. (subscription required (help)). 
  19. ^ Donnellon, Sam (March 12, 2004). "NHL's problems are wide in scope". Philadelphia Daily News (Philadelphia, PA: Knight Ridder). Retrieved January 22, 2015 – via HighBeam Research. (subscription required (help)). 
  20. ^ Heika, Mike (March 13, 2004). "NHL's sense of justice tough to accept". The Dallas Morning News (Dallas, TX: Knight Ridder). Retrieved January 22, 2015 – via HighBeam Research. (subscription required (help)). 
  21. ^ Coates, Dennis; Battré, Marcel; Deutscher, Christian (2011). Jewell, R. Todd, ed. Violence and Aggression in Sporting Contests: Economics, History and Policy. Springer Science+Business Media. p. 48. ISBN 978-1-4419-6629-2. Retrieved January 22, 2015.