Yes, Gaborik was standing up for himself and went at Carcillo. But, two weeks ago Alexander Ovechkin was standing up for himself and went at Steve Downie.
In Ovie's case, Matt Bradley came flying in because you don't let your superstar player fight some idiot goon!!!!!!
The Rangers? They watched.
New York Rangers: Where Is the Code?
During that game, Lightning pest—and former Flyer, oddly enough—Steve Downie and Alex Ovechkin met up and took matching roughing penalties. Upon exiting the box, Downie and Ovechkin kept at it, which resulted in the two players dropping their gloves and squaring off.
Except unlike Gaborik, Ovechkin did not even come close to delivering nor receiving a punch because within a nano-second Bradley left the bench, flew over the boards, and intercepted Downie.
Sure, Bradley was dealt a two-minute instigator, five-minute major for fighting, 10-minute misconduct, and another 10-minute-game misconduct for leaving the bench.
Well worth it.
Ranger's Report, Day after the disgrace:
Did you see the Washington’s Bradley streaking off the bench to jump Downie before Downie could fight Ovechkin? That’s how it’s done. And that’s Ovechkin, who is a really tough guy for a superstar, and who had dropped his gloves and his hat and wanted to fight Downie.
By Tom Dougherty:
There is an unwritten code in hockey that pretty much states that you protect your best players, which means you do not let them get in a fight if they aren't one to drop the gloves like Gaborik.
A perfect example of this "code" is what happened in a game between Washington and Tampa Bay on Jan. 12. The Lightning's Steve Downie—a former Flyer—and Alex Ovechkin took offsetting roughing penalties. Once they left the penalty box, more chirping led to Ovie and Downie squaring off for some fisticuffs.
Ovechkin dropped his gloves, took off his helmet, and Downie likewise. It was time for the Great Eight's second NHL fight with one tough customer in Downie. Except, it didn't happen because of Capitals forward Matt Bradley.
Without even thinking, Bradley left the bench—knowing that he would be expelled from the game—to come to the aid of the best player in the National Hockey League. He knew that if Ovechkin fought, the Caps would be without their best player for fight minutes.
Bradley received a two-minute minor for instigating, a five-minute major for fighting, a 10-minute misconduct, and an addition 10-minute game misconduct for leaving the bench.
The circumstances of Ovechkin fighting outweighs the positives. In fact, there are no positives of having Ovie drop the gloves because he'd be risking injury and taking Washington's best player off the ice for five minutes.
In order to do what's best for the team, Bradley decided to take himself out of the game by leaving the bench to come to Ovechkin's aid. He knew that taking No. 8's place, he was giving his team the best chance of winning.