It didn't take long for the intense hatred between the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins to boil over. Just 11:52 into the opening period, Mike Rupp laid a huge check on John Erskine(notes) behind the Washington net that left the boards on that end rocking more than boards usually do. And like many big hits in today's NHL, gloves were soon dropped between the two heavyweights:
Rupp immediately left the ice to be tended to and did not return for the remainder of the first period as you saw him waive to refs his fight was over.
That's now two consecutive Winter Classics we've had a fight in the first period as Shawn Thornton(notes) and Dan Carcillo(notes) did the honors for the first time last year in Fenway Park. Considering the intense dislike between these two teams, it wouldn't be surprising if that wasn't the last scrap in front of sold out Heinz Field tonight.
- Mike Rupp