Lars Eller had never spoken to Ryan Strome before fighting him in Caps-Rangers

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Lars Eller had never spoken to Ryan Strome before fighting him originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

Capitals winger Lars Eller and New York Rangers forward Ryan Strome dropped the gloves with one another during Washington's 4-2 win over New York last Wednesday, a game that featured six fights in the first five minutes following what the Rangers felt was a cheap shot from Tom Wilson on Artemi Panarin in the clash two days prior.

Nearly one week after the fact, Eller joined the Sports Junkies and when asked about the fight he said he had never spoken to Strome once before the two got into it.

"I never had a conversation with him before in my life," Eller said.

Eller's fight -- which was the final of the six in the opening five minutes of the first period -- happened right after a faceoff in which Strome, somewhat politely, asked him to fight.

"He just asked me during the faceoff, 'please fight me.' ... I can't remember if he said 'please,'" Eller said. "I think he was like 'I need one. Let's go. I need one.' I was like 'Alright, fine.'

"Once you drop the gloves and it's on, it's either hit or get hit. It's just that simple," Eller continued.

Eller said that he has no individual hatred towards Strome whatsoever. The reason Eller ultimately got into a scrap -- along with several of his other teammates -- was that they wanted to stand up for Wilson after the incident two days prior.

Wilson was not suspended for punching Panarin and was issued just a $5,000 fine for his actions. One day later, the Rangers put out a statement calling Wilson's actions a "horrifying act of violence." Then, New York fired its president and GM the next day.

"I think just leading up to it, the way the game was unfolding the first five minutes, you're not really sure what's going to happen," Eller said. "So if somebody asks you to fight in an honest way, I thought might as well do that and move on is the best way to do it."

Eller remained adamant that it was the Rangers that initiated the fighting last Wednesday, and it was just the Capitals "answering the call." He then went on to say that sometimes fighting is the best way to solve an issue like this in hockey, rather than having something like this linger over time.

"We closed a chapter in that, what happened in the game that happened previously," Eller said. "That was just a way to get on with it. I don't mind that. Sometimes it's better to do that than keep having guys having it linger."

However, the feud between New York and Washington might not be over just yet.

Later in Wednesday's game, after the opening fights had concluded, newly acquired Capitals forward Anthony Mantha was cross-checked in the face by Rangers forward Pavel Buchnevich. He was suspended one game for the hit.

"If you're Mo, as we call him, that may not be forgotten," Eller said on the play. "I don't think that what Buchnevich did in that situation was the most honest way to handle it. Nonetheless, he's not the only player who does that from time to time."