Ducks’ Gudbranson on spitting incident: ‘It’s something you just don’t do’

Garnet Hathaway addressed the media following the Capitals 5-2 over the Ducks. Hathaway was given a match penalty after spitting on Erik Gudbranson during a melee.

Washington Capitals forward Garnet Hathaway finds himself facing potential supplemental discipline following his actions during a heated skirmish late in the second period of his club’s Monday night tilt with the Anaheim Ducks.

With the middle frame winding down during the game, a melee broke out behind the Ducks net — as Chandler Stephenson wired in the third goal of the game — which saw Hathaway trade haymakers with Anaheim’s Derek Grant. Hathaway was then engaged by Nick Ritchie and Erik Gudbranson as the officials tried to break up the brawl — after taking a shot to the face from Gudbranson, Hathaway spit in the direction of the Ducks defender, further enraging the opposition.

Gudbranson was highly critical of Hathaway’s actions following the game.

“That’s about as low as you dig a pit, really,” Gudbranson said post-game, according to The Athletic‘s Eric Stephens. “It’s a bad thing to do. It’s something you just don’t do in our game, and he did it.”

“It’s just something that it’s just disrespectful,” he added. “I mean, we’re competing. That’s fine. I’ve got no problem with guys fighting. That’s what this game is all about is guys fighting to win hockey games, and sometimes that’s what happens. But going to that level is wrong.”

Added Ducks teammate Grant: “At the end of the day, it’s probably the least respectful thing you can ever do to somebody.”

Hathaway, who wound up with a match penalty for the incident — triggering an automatic review by the department of player safety or the league’s hockey operations department — didn’t shy away from the criticism.

“I feel like there were a couple sucker punches thrown and I got one there quick and I reacted a little emotionally. You know, unfortunately, spit came out of my mouth after I got sucker punched and went on to him,” Hathaway said after the game. “It was an emotional play by me — you don’t plan any of that stuff in your head.

“It was a quick reaction and unfortunately the wrong one for me, after a sucker punch.”

While Hathaway’s head coach, Todd Reirden, praised his forward for owning up to his actions and apologizing during his post-game comments, Ducks coach Dallas Eakins said he was shocked at what transpired on the ice.

“What I saw there I haven’t seen — I think I’ve been in pro hockey 30 years maybe — and I’ve never seen that before,” Eakins said, according to Stephens.

“It’s just something you don’t see in the game, so it’s just a head-shaker. I’m just glad it wasn’t one of our guys that did that because that wouldn’t go well in our dressing room.”

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