Before they hit the ice for a week of development camp, new Capitals coach Adam Oates advised his players to play hard between the whistles, but to refrain from dropping the gloves.
But when left wing Chandler Stephenson cross-checked defenseman Max Iafrate at the end of Thursdays scrimmage, the two decided to settle the score with their fists.
He kind of hit me after I shot the puck down the ice and then he cross-checked me, said Iafrate, who seemed to get the better of the fight. Its bound to happen when you get under someones skin.
Fighting is in the blood lines of both players. Iafrates dad, former Capitals defenseman Al Iafrate, piled up 1,301 penalty minutes in his 12-year career. Stephensons cousin, Joey Kocur, had 2,519 penalty minutes in his 14-year career.
Max Iafrate, who recorded 97 penalty minutes with Kitchener of the OHL last season, said he was aware of Oates rules, but said its tough to resist when youre adrenaline gets going.
Oates made it clear its not something he wants to see again before the camp ends on Saturday.
I did talk to the guys. I really dont want that, Oates said. Were all here under the Capitals umbrella. I know you want to show your stuff and theres plenty of time for that down the road. But they still get frustrated at times and I understand that as well.
Iafrate said hes had a good camp so far, saying he feels more explosive now that he dropped his playing weight from 208 pounds to 199.
Id like to drop another five, he said. Bulk is overrated. Its the quality of muscle and how explosive you are that matters. Im able to break away from guys now and I couldnt do that before.