Lost in this morning's story about Donald Brashear's less-than-warm reception from the fans of his new team was The Donald's perception of his role in saving the Caps' season. Asked about whether his controversial hit on Blair Betts in Game 6 changed the course of the series, Brashear responded:
"It did. It certainly gave our team some wings," Brashear [said]. "In the playoffs, you want to get that extra edge, and sometimes it's things like that that make a difference. That extra spark got the guys going on the bench."
Ted Starkey's reaction is spot-on: "Of course, with the Capitals tied at 1-1 in Game 6 and facing elimination when the hit happened and the Rangers buzzing around Semyon Varlamov, a five-minute major could have spelled the end of Washington's season." (Hey, a 12.9% chance is still a chance...)
But that's not what happened, and the Caps would go on to win Game 6 (thanks in no small part to the two power play goals scored in the absence of the Rangers' best penalty killing forward) and take the series two nights later. Let's be clear, though - the Caps got lucky and, if anything, it was the injury and not the hit itself from which they benefited, no matter how Brash spins it retrospectively (history's written by the winners, right?).
Anyway, it's just another reminder of what kind of risk you're running and the potential rewards to be gained (ill-gotten or otherwise) when you give a player like that a sweater in a key game. Going forward, the Caps look to play less roulette... though perhaps more Russians.