Following a vicious knockout of Washington’s Patrick Wey during Sunday’s 4-3 shootout win, Preds tough guy Rich Clune discussed the series of events that led to the fight — and the aftermath.
“I reached out to the kid on Washington just to express the fact that I hope he’s OK and it wasn’t my intention to hurt him,” said Clune, per the Tennessean. “He was the one kind of engaging me, and I had no idea who he was. I don’t even look at the other team’s roster before the game.
“I just see the names they write on the board. The kid said he was OK.”
Here’s the fight:
Clune’s response came after Washington voiced displeasure with how the scrap went down. Head coach Adam Oates and forward Troy Brouwer both remarked that Clune shouldn’t have gone after a fighter as inexperienced as Wey — he had one prior career tilt, back in his junior days — and Tom Wilson was upset Clune didn’t engage him in a subsequent fight.
Clune said he didn’t want to fight Wilson because the Preds had a lead and he didn’t want to risk taking a penalty, but understands why Wilson, Oates and Brouwer reacted they way they did.
“I can understand the Washington organization and the Washington fans being mad, but there’s not much more I can say other than we’ll see each other at another date,” Clune said. “Patrick is going to bounce back.”
On Sunday, Nashville forward Rich Clune — he of the 32 career NHL fights — took on Caps rookie Patrick Wey, who had exactly one scrap on his resume…which came while playing junior in the USHL five years ago.
Needless to say, things didn’t go well for Wey:
Wey left with an apparent head injury and didn’t return. Following the game, Washington took issue with the fact such a seasoned fighter as Clune took on an inexperienced opponent, though the Caps players and coaches did acknowledge Wey was a willing participant.
“They had a little tangle before the fight and they were talking to each other a bit and Weysie seemed to be a willing combatant,” Troy Brouwer said, per the Washington Post. “But at the same point guys who are known to be fighters, they have to have enough respect to pick their spots to know when guys are able to fight fighters.”
“I’m surprised the guy [Clune] would do that,” added head coach Adam Oates. “But they had contact, they kind of looked each other in the eye and Patrick also didn’t back down.”
Following the tilt, Caps rookie Tom Wilson — Washington’s fighting leader this year, with 13 — tried to engage Clune in a second tilt in order to force Clune “to defend his actions,” but the Preds tough guy declined.
That decision also drew the Caps’ ire, and one has to wonder if the pair’s history had anything to do with it. Clune and Wilson had previously fought this season on Dec. 7, which Wilson won in a clear decision (93.3 percent, per the voters over at HockeyFights.)
The Washington Capitals have had issues on the blue line all season and things aren’t getting any clearer now.
The team recalled defensemen Julien Brouillette and Patrick Wey from Hershey in the American Hockey League in time to face the Winnipeg Jets at Verizon Center tonight.
Wey has played in one game for the Caps this season and played 14:36 while getting one shot on goal. He has one goal and two assists for Hershey this season and started the year in the ECHL with the Reading Royals. He was a fourth-round pick out of Boston College back in 2009.
Brouillette has yet to play in the NHL but that could change tonight. He has nine goals in Hershey this season, good for the team lead amongst defensemen.
With two blue liners being called up, the question is: Who else could be out? Mike Green is dealing with a concussion and Jack Hillen has already been out for weeks with a broken leg. It’s not getting any easier for coach Adam Oates.