Lecavalier on Erskine fight: 'It was instinctive'

Lecavalier on Erskine fight: 'It was instinctive'
March 6, 2014, 2:15 pm

Vinny Lecavalier was ejected in the first period of the Flyers' 6-4 win over the Capitals Wednesday. (USA Today Images)

Vinny Lecavalier says he could count on one hand how many times he's been tossed from a game.

Except the Flyers' centerman says it's so few, he isn't sure exactly how many times it's been.

Lecavalier was ejected on Wednesday night for a second fight that broke out between him and Washington Capitals defenseman John Erskine.

It was the fourth game misconduct of his career.

“Not too many times -- doesn’t happen often,” he said.

The Flyers won the game, 6-4.

“It happened so quickly, there was no time to think,” Lecavalier said. “I didn’t think I was going to get kicked out. Obviously, the rules are the second fight, the person gets kicked out."

Last time Lecavalier fought was Nov. 1 against Caps D-man Steven Olesky during a 7-0 Washington blitz, which left him with a battered face and jaw and forced Lecavalier to wear a cage on his helmet.

That was also the last time he was ejected.

“Didn’t even think about it,” he replied when asked if he gave pause to fighting Erskine. “It was instinctive.”

What isn’t instinctive is a tough guy like Erskine going after a skill player. Which is why there was a scrum as players tried to separate the two.

“A lot of guys were falling everywhere and kinda grabbing each other,” Lecavalier said. “It’s part of the game.”

Wayne Simmonds didn’t see it that way. He said Erskine's going after Lecavalier was akin to Jay Rosehill fighting Nicklas Backstrom.

Simmonds piled on, trying to get Erskine with one hand while fending off Connor Carrick with the other.

There’s a code here and Erskine violated it.

“Guys were just grabbing guys, and Vinny is not known as a fighter,” Simmonds said. “John Erskine, that’s what he does. Big, tough, physical defenseman who fights and I was just trying to grab a piece of him. I didn’t want anything to go wrong there. I won’t say all rules don’t apply, but it’s like having Rosey [Rosehill] go after Backstrom. I don’t think they would like that too much.

“We’re going to do something about it. We play for each other on this team. We’re never going to let anything like that happen.”

The Flyers said what happened back in November didn’t factor into this brawl.

It all began with a legal check from Luke Schenn on Ryan Stoa that erupted into a fight between Schenn and Tom Wilson.

“I made a hit and got asked to fight,” Schenn said. “That’s the way it goes sometimes. Obviously, you don’t want to see guys get kicked out of the game like Vinny. It’s a bad tradeoff for us for sure, but sometimes guys are standing up for each other and that’s the way it goes sometimes.”

Flyers coach Craig Berube didn’t have any problems with the brawl, but he didn’t like the nine penalties his team incurred either.

After watching video, Berube feels the three roughhouse calls against the Flyers in the third period weren’t justified. He said those calls enabled the Caps to get back into the game with two power-play goals.

Take away the penalties, Berube said, and the game never goes from 4-1 to 5-4.

“Ask me another question about penalties and I probably shouldn’t say anything about it because it doesn’t work,” Berube said. “I don’t know what to do. Keep playing. Try to do our best to reduce them somehow. We’re working on it.”

The funny thing is, the Flyers never seem to panic in these situations.

Berube has instilled a sense of confidence in the players that they can overcome adversity, which is one reason why he will be a fine candidate for the Jack Adams Award as NHL Coach of the Year.

Even when the Flyers' usually stellar penalty kill units gave up three power play goals -- which they did against the Caps -- there is no panic.

“Our team had to fight hard this year to get where they’re at,” Berube said. “It’s ingrained in them now, I really believe it. Whether we’re down or up, or protecting. They battle, they have good character. I love the way we’re coming out right now in games.

“We’re playing hard and fast and physical. I don’t want to stop doing that, but I don’t want to go to the penalty box because of it. I want them to be disciplined. I want them to be a hard team to play against.”

That is exactly what the Capitals discovered this week in losing a home-and-home series to the Flyers.

Emery update
Goalie Ray Emery did not practice while Cal Heeter had his first practice with the team. Emery has a groin pull.  

General manager Paul Holmgren said Emery remains day to day.

Loose pucks
Sean Couturier had a maintenance day. ... The Flyers scrimmaged for 30 minutes, then got off the ice. They don’t play again until Saturday in Toronto.