Late in the second period of the Penguins' 4-1 home win against the Predators Friday, Penguins' left winger Tanner Glass slammed Predators left winger Eric Nystrom into the end boards. The two then proceeded to fight.
During the skirmish, Nystrom suffered a cut over his left eye and appeared to suffer a head injury as he fell to the ice and needed assistance heading towards the Predators' dressing room. He did not return to the game Officially, the Predators have said Nystrom suffered an "upper-body" injury. He has resumed skating today but missed Saturday's game against the Blackhawks and has been ruled out for tonight's game against the Red Wings.
What exactly led to the fight? What happened during the fight and what was the aftermath?
Earlier today, Glass recalled the bout.
Did it have anything to do with the hit Nystrom put on Kris Letang two seasons ago in Dallas?
"No. Nothing. I had no idea. It was annoying they put it on the screen to make it seem like some kind of retribution. He didn’t like [my] hit in a 4-1 game. He asked me to go. So we went."
What did he say after you hit him?
How well do you recall the 'play-by-play' of the fight?
"I can tell you exactly what happened. I lunged him with the first left, missed him. Kind of put myself in a bad spot. He grabbed on. I hit him with a right right away. Put a cut above his left eye. Then we both threw one. I went to the lefts. Threw one. I think he knew I was going to switch to the lefts. He threw a couple which I kind of ducked. He kind of hit me in the top of the head and shoulder. Then I went back to rights. Hit him with the first right, a really good one. Hit him again and knocked his helmet forward off his head. Then the last one, was right behind the ear or pretty close to the year."
At what point did you realize he was in distress?
"As soon as I hit him with the last one, I could feel his body go limp. I tried to hang on to him and keep him from going down too hard."
Is there an emotional "switch" when an opponent you're fighting could be seriously injured?
"I’ve been telling the guys around here, it’s such a weird feeling. You’re in combat like that and you’re trying to get him obviously. But once you see he’s maybe in a bad way, it definitely changes. Then you try do everything you can to help him."
Proponents of fighting oftentimes state it can spark a team. What effect can it have on a team where a player does suffer an injury like Nystrom's?
"Anytime a guy gets hurt in a game, I find that it takes the wind out of the arena and out of the game for a little while. I remember when [former Panthers teammate Richard Zednik] got a skate in the neck a few years ago in Buffalo, it was just like … tough in the arena. There was no energy left at all. It can go either way. If he gets me and puts a licking on me, it might boost his team."
Did you check on him after the game?
"I went down there [to the visiting locker room] and didn’t see him but I texted him right afterwards. He was doing well. He passed his [concussion] test right away. He was joking around with me on text [messages] half an hour after the game."
Fighting is seen as an entertaining part of the game by many. When a player does suffer a serious injury in a fight, does it cease to be entertaining at that moment?
"No way. It’s an outcome. If he gets hurt, he gets hurt. It’s a dangerous game. It’s still entertainment. If you ask the fans, they enjoy it. I know the players enjoy it."