My One-and-a-Half Problems with the Beagle-Asham Fight

So, we've all heard everything we need to hear about The Fight. Allow me one more perspective, and I promise I'll at least make it reasonable (unlike some people named Damien Cox).

The half-problem is, of course, Arron Asham. No matter what the situation, Asham's actions post-fight were arrogant, buffoon-ish, and rude. The reason it's only a half-problem is Asham's actions starting immediately after he made those gestures. He was concerned for Jay Beagle, tapped his stick when Beagle got up, and only stopped apologizing when he had to finally get ready for the Sabres. It was a classless move followed by enough classy ones to offset a lot of the idiocy.

The full problem isn't with anyone involved in the fight. It's with everything else that happened.

I was actually at the game, and in a great position to see Beagle get totally destroyed, to no one's surprise. For those not at the game, here's a rough recap of what happened post-fight:

Asham knocks out Beagle, makes rude gestures, and gets thunderous applause. He skates right to the penalty box while Beagle is still prone on the ice. WHILE BEAGLE IS STILL DOWN, fans are cheering their guts out. "Let's Go Pens" was echoing through the arena. The big HD scoreboard in the center of the arena went to crowd shots, then to shots of Asham in the box (garnering more thunderous applause), then back to crowd. Loud music was played the whole time. As Beagle was being helped off the ice, the scoreboard went to a shot of the Caps helping Beagle, one of whom happened to be Alex Ovechkin. There were unmistakable boos in the crowd because Ovechkin was on the screen. After Beagle was off, the game presentation folks went to a noise meter and more loud music. Then the power play finally started.

For perspective, some background on me: I have worked in the control room for one of those HD scoreboards at another NHL arena, and in my personal opinion we had an extremely fun and professional show. We worked hard and had good people leading us to make sure fans had a lot of fun, win or lose. So I do have experience in the matters of which I'm about to speak.

My full problem with the Asham-Beagle incident was with the crowd and the people working the HD scoreboard. The crowd should know better, even in a rivalry game, than to cheer when a guy is down, injured, and bleeding on the playing surface. But crowds, especially modern crowds, basically do what they're told to do. Loud, pump-up music was being played and shots of fans were up on the HD screen while a player was down on the ice. That, my friends, is completely inappropriate. When someone's injured, no matter the team, the scoreboard should go to a generic graphic, music should cease, and respect should be paid to the trainers and the injured player. When the player (hopefully) gets up, he gets put up on the screen and the fans cheer him in the hope he isn't seriously injured. That's not what happened.

While a player on the ice is uncontrollable, especially after an adrenaline-pumping fight, a crowd is. I have no doubt the crowd would have cheered Asham on their own, but the people running the game presentation did nothing to calm the fans in the face of an injured player. It was awkward, somewhat sickening, and completely avoidable. That is my full problem with the fight.

If this FanPost is written by someone other than one of the blog's editors, the opinions expressed in it do not necessarily reflect those of this blog or SB Nation.

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