That was his own description of his actions after a fight against Jay Beagle of the Washington Capitals on Thursday night. A joint decision by NHL executives Brendan Shanahan and Colin Campbell today, however, ruled that Asham will not face additional league sanction, either a fine or suspension.
The league is expected to issue a statement later today and warn other players that similar pantomine antics as those delivered by Asham won't be tolerated in the future. Two players, James Wisniewski and Nick Boynton, were suspended by Campbell last season for inappropriate gestures, and Trevor Gillies of the New York Islanders was suspended at least partially for standing over Eric Tangradi of Pittsburgh and taunting him after knocking Tangradi to the ice with an illegal head shot.
Apparently, however, Shanahan and Campbell have decided not to sanction Asham because players have not been specifically warned about celebratory post-fight gestures.
So another black eye for the NHL goes unpunished. That's just the way this league rolls.
Asham made the rather unfortunate decision to mock Beagle after leaving Beagle unconcious on the ice after a fight. Rather than just skate to the penalty box, Asham chose to play to the delight of the Pittsburgh fans with a couple of gestures, including one that mimicked Beagle going to sleep.
Given that Beagle was face down in his own blood at the time, it was a terribly offensive gesture by Asham, one he quickly admitted after the game was "classless."
On one hand, it was reminiscent of Tie Domi pretending to put on a championship belt after winning a hockey fight or other silly gestures. On the other hand, given that Beagle was injured, it was truly regrettable, particularly after all the unfortunate incidents the game has had to endure in the past six months.
Last year, Campbell suspended Boynton one game for a pre-season throat-slashing gesture, then banned Wisniewski, then of the New York Islanders, for a lewd gesture towards Avery.
Did Asham's misdemeanor fall into the same category as Boynton's or Wisniewski's? Should it have?
Something to chew on, even for Leaf fans wondering who will be coming out of the lineup against Calgary on Saturday to make way for Cody Franson and when, oh when, Tim Connolly will be back from what most have concluded is a shoulder injury (given the fact the NHL embraces this silly lower body/upper body injury reporting jargon, feel free to speculate all you want about injuries.)
This is the first week of this season's hockey mailbag. Start sending in your questions on just about any subject that tickles your fancy, and I'll do my best to get to any or all of 'em.
Here's this week's mail bag:
Q: Damien. I've watched and heard your thoughts on hockey for the last 15 years. I have also agreed with you on most of your positions. I can't however agree that Don Cherry's recent thoughts with regards to violence and hits to the head should be pushed aside. Children from the age of 4 to 14 should not be subjected to stupidity. It has to end soon.
No hits to the head, no hits from behind.
Somebody needs to figure it out before a child gets killed.
Gary O'Neill, Toronto
A: I think Hockey Canada is the body that exerts far more control on these issues than Cherry, quite frankly, and with respect to head shots, Hockey Canada has adopted a zero tolerance policy that was overdue. It was sad to watch Cherry lament the loss of concussive head shots last week on Coach's Corner, but with respect to hits from behind, he's been a pretty strong proponent of the stop sign program, even advocating that the stop sign be moved to the back of the helmet from the back of the shoulders.
In general, I just don't see Cherry and his vaudeville show has a lot of impact on kids. They just kind of laugh at the comedy. It's adults you have to wonder about. They're almost always the ones that cause trouble in minor hockey.
Q: Clearly, Don Cherry has a business conflict of interest in promoting violence in hockey. Since 1989, Don Cherry and his son have made a small fortune in the production of Rock'em Sock'em vidoes, which cash in on and glorifiy the worst of hockey violence and fighting.
Mark Thomas, Toronto
A: I agree with you that it's a conflict. On the other hand, it's not like anyone doesn't know about it. Cherry's commercial interests are pretty much above board, and most intelligent people understand his constant pandering to the more violent aspects of the game is, to some extent, him feathering his own nest.
Cherry makes money off the bloodier parts of the game. I think we all know that, and it doesn't bother me. I mean, he honestly loves the scraps and the violence and the goons. It's not like he's making it up to make money.
Stu Grimson, now, may feel differently. Called a "hypocrite" and a "puke" by Cherry last week for reasons that still mystify, Grimson noted quite correctly in a radio interview this week that Cherry had no problem featuring him in his hockey videos when he was playing and fighting, but has now thrown him under the bus now that there's no more money to be made highlighting the exploits of "The Grim Reaper."
Q: Hi Damien. How long until the NHL starts pulling back on Shanahan? Considering there are 5-10 teams bleeding red ink, and they still pay the salary of a suspended player (into the fund) plus have to pay a call-up replacement! You have to think it could cause issues.(and conspiracy theories if the optics are that Phoenix and Florida players seem to get off easier than Leaf or Ranger players)
Ridley Wetton, Woodstock
A: I think we're going to have to sit and watch this play out. As noted, there is more on Shanahan's docket today. It's been argued that by being tough early, he has set a tone that has persuaded players to stay away from incidents that might get them suspended. We'll see.
As far as the cost to teams, I think you could argue that the cost of players injured by players who are subsequently suspended is much higher. Joe Thornton got two games, but the Blues missed David Perron for an entire year, for example. Finally, with respect to conspiracy theories, I don't really buy any of them and neither should you.
Q: Hi Damien. I am wondering if you can clarify what the NHL rule is on a player who is suspended. Can a team call up another player to replace the suspended player or does the team have to carry on with that player on their active roster. My fantasy league is expecting more and longer suspensions with Sheriff Shanahan in Town.
Richard Latendresse, Brampton
A: The player stays on the 23-man active roster. Clarke MacArthur, for instance, has been on the Leafs' active roster for the first two games of the season.
Q: Hi Damien. What is your opinion on Sean Avery? I used to have a pretty low opinion of him, but that has changed a bit over time. If he mellowed out a bit, and stopped make stupid decisions that penalized his team, could he be an effective player worth taking a chance on? He can score goals, and if he focused on it, could be a 20 goal scorer.
I guess with (Dion) Phaneuf on the Leafs, (Brian) Burke would never go after Avery, but if that obstacle were removed, could Avery be a useful (if risky) piece for the Leafs?
Arthur Bailey, Red Lake
A: For starters, no, the Leafs wouldn't be an option, and really, I don't get a sense Avery is good enough to help any team any more, but we'll see. There's no chance he can be a 20-goal scorer (he never was, not once topping 15 in the NHL) and he brings so much baggage and controversy with him (plus a significant cap hit) that he has to be very effective to make it worthwhile to have him around. I don't know Avery except as a hockey player, and I've always found his act to be pretty despicable. Whether he's mellowed, who knows? I thought his stance on gay marriage was useful and noteworthy, but that has nothing to do with the sport and doesn't do much, at least in my mind, to rehabilitate his tarnished public image.
Q: Now let me see. (Keith) Aulie who turned around Phaneuf’s season last year gets cut and Franson who has been completely marginal and (Mike) Komisarek who has been really really marginal stay! You have (John-Michael) Liles and (Jake) Gardiner who can rush the puck. (Darryl) Boyce who is a gritty grinder and (Colton) Orr stays? (Phillipe) Dupuis who falls at will stays! Monster has been marginal and (Ben) Scrivens goes! (Joey) Crabb goes, (Jay) Rosehill stays! AMAZING, Simply Amazing! I wonder who played in those last 30 games last year? Go Leafs Go! Wow!
J Man, Markham
A: I see your point, although I disagree with your assessment that Aulie "turned around" Phaneuf's season. Look, there are always roster choices to be made, and the fact is that Aulie had a poor training camp and could be sent to the minors without requiring waivers, which made it easy. Contracts - one-ways versus two-ways - and player status determine many of these moves. That's the way of the business. You don't want to have to put a guy on waivers and possibly pay him NHL money to play in the minors unless you really have to. And let's be honest. None of these players you mention are core players, and that's the life of being a support NHLer.