Watch: Cheap shot on Gaudreau sparks minor melee between Flames, Capitals

The NHL has come a long, long way. What was once half-game, half-warfare on ice has advanced into a sport of high speed and uber skill. (When team’s aren’t coming off their mandated bye weeks, at least.)

Every so often, however, the game does devolve and schoolyard rules once again apply. One of those common primitive tendencies? Pick on the smallest kid out there. That’s why Johnny Gaudreau seems to be the victim of his unreasonable share of cheap shots.

As was the case again when things got a little hairy in the late stages Friday night with the Washington Capitals hosting Gaudreau’s Calgary Flames. It was Nicklas Backstrom’s nasty shove on the Hart Trophy candidate Gaudreau that really got things going.

Old-time hockey, baby. Ain’t it beautiful?

What’s unusual here, though, and beyond the fact that Backstrom initiated the mild melee and that Mathew Tkachuk handled the much larger Brooks Orpik, is that Tom Wilson remained oddly calm throughout. I mean, he does eventually score a trip takedown and land some ground-and-pound on Rasmus Andersson, but he had every opportunity to lose all mental faculty after the final whistle blew and managed to hold it all together.



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