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In enforcer Donald Brashear, the Washington Capitals have one of the NHL’s top fighters to protect their young stars such as Alexander Ovechkin and Alexander Semin. For all of his pugilistic skills, however, the 35-year-old Brashear is no longer the undisputed heavyweight champion he once was. That honor currently belongs to the Phoenix Coyotes’ enforcer George Laraque—-who may be headed to the Caps’ most hated rival, the Pittsburgh Penguins.
While Brashear was skating on the first line alongside Ovechkin and Dainius Zubrus (in place of injured captain Chris Clark) during this morning’s practice at the Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Ballston, the rumor mill was ablaze with possible moves that could be made before the NHL’s Feb. 27 trading deadline. Several hockey-related message boards and blogs reported talks of the potential deal between the playoff-bound Penguins and the struggling Coyotes; earlier this afternoon, David Vest of the Arizona Republic confirmed the rumor.
Should Big George find his way to Steel City, Caps fans may want to mark March 27 on their calendar. That date marks the fourth and final regular-season match-up between the Penguins and the Caps, and the last chance for the Caps to avenge the multiple ass-whippings they’ve received courtesy of Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and friends. And Caps fans may have reason to hold hope for some fireworks: Though Ovechkin and Crosby continue to play down their budding rivalry, there’s no love lost between Brashear and Laraque.