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The Caps Year In Fights

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En route to their first playoff appearance in half a decade, the 2007-08 Caps racked up only 33 fighting majors, good for 22nd in the League. Whether or not this is a positive or a negative can be debated (though without the context of each individual fight, I fail to see the usefullness of doing so), but what isn't up for discussion is the fact that the 33 fights were the fewest for a Caps team since the 2000-01 season. Here are the annual totals for the last seven seasons:
Of the 33 fights this past season, nine came with Glen Hanlon still behind the bench (which would pro-rate to 35 over the course of a full season) and 24 came under Bruce Boudreau's watch (which pro-rates to 32).

Now, Boudreau is hardly a pacifist - his 2005-06 and 2006-07 Hershey Bears combined for 182 fights in 160 games (thanks in large part to Louis Robitaille) - and his Caps had to pick their spots more carefully than Hanlon's did. Nevertheless, some will undoubtedly question the team's toughness. I won't (mainly for three reasons: 1) there's a world of difference between total fights and team toughness, 2) Donald Brashear, 3) the Detroit Red Wings), but that's neither here nor there right now, as the point of this post is to take a look back at the year that was in Caps fisticuffs.

Nine different Caps received fighting majors during the 2007-08 regular season, lead, of course, by Brashear (with 12). Matt Bradley was right behind Brash with an even ten (the most he's had in a season since 2003-04), and John Erskine fought four times in his 51 games. David Steckel's rookie season included two fights, and Chris Clark, Brooks Laich, Shaone Morrisonn and former Caps Matt Pettinger and Brian Sutherby all had one fight apiece.

How'd these pugilists fair? Using the incredibly scientific vote tallies, here's the breakout (note - if neither player in a fight was voted the winner by a majority, it's counted as a draw here):
That's a total of 10-10-13 overall and 3-7-9 for guys still with the team not named Donald. This team may be tough, but they're not going to physically intimidate anyone if #87's not in the lineup (which, I suppose, is why he is in there).

The most lopsided win for a Cap (again, by vote percentage) was this Erskine TKO of Boston's Milan Lucic:

Interestingly, the most convincing loss for a Cap also featured Lucic, and was this butt-kicking of Bradley:

Ouch (though I think I'd rather absorb that beating than listen to a full game called by Jack Edwards).

Finally, the highest-rated fight overall, not surprisingly, was this heavyweight bout between Brashear and Georges Laraque:

So what do you think - is this team tough enough? Do they need an enforcer in the lineup on a nightly basis? In light of the current cap concerns, did they need a million dollar pugilist?