Hockey fans tend to fall into two categories when it comes to NHL fights. Those who love old school hockey where the refs and linesman are on the ice for decorative purposes while the players police themselves. And then there are those croquet-playin’ mint munchers who consider getting physical to be something done on figure skates.
With this in mind, let’s take a gander of some of the best fights in the NHL. Surprisingly, these fights don’t focus on the enforcers since, well, there aren’t many remaining. No, the best violent dances tend to be when star players fight because they get so angry they decide to drop the gloves – even though most of them have no idea what they are doing.
Pavel Datsyuk vs. Corey Perry
Now at the end of his career, Corey Perry was once a dominant heel in the game. With the Ducks losing badly in a game against Detroit, the Ducks did what the Ducks do…fight. Imagine Perry’s surprise when Datsyuk turned out not to be such an easy target. The Detroit announcers get a bit carried away. I’d call it a draw, but that more or less counts as a win for Pavel given what one would expect the outcome to be.
Drew Doughty vs Joe Thornton
…and now we know why Drew Doughty doesn’t fight! Thornton in a landslide.
TJ Oshie vs. Chris LeTang
The Caps and Penguins playoff series developed an excellent level of nastiness. The stars of each team were not immune to the feeling of rage. The Penguins won this game, but TJ Oshie was able to work out a bit of his distress on Letang.
Big Boys – Chara vs. Oleksiak
Zdeno Chara is one of the great leaders in hockey and a sure Hall of Famer. One of his legendary attributes is his conditioning. At 42, this 6’9″ beast still plays above-average defense in a league getting faster by the year.
When it comes to NHL fights, hockey fans tend to like this fight because Chara takes on one of the rare men close to his size. Jamie Oleksiak is, after all, 6’7″ and 15 years younger than Big Z. The truth is the fantastic thing about this fight is it comes at the end of a three-minute shift for Chara who had been on the PK and then caught on the ice. Enjoy.
Brent Burns vs Antoine Roussel
Antoine Roussel is one of the dirtier heals in the NHL these days, which means he has to answer the bell at certain times. Brent Burns had enough on this occasion. What started as a hug fest ended with Tony eating a few.
Ovechkin vs. Svechnikov
The 2019 playoffs. Svechnikov and Ovechkin had been cheap shotting each other for a couple of games. Then the rookie made a bad, bad mistake. The only thing more painful then the outcome of the fight was listening to Rob Brind’amour whine about it afterward.
Joe Thornton vs Ryan Getzlaf
The old guard in the Pacific goes at it more than a decade ago. While Getzlaf later became more of a fighter, he wasn’t known for it at that time. And, of course, Big Joe has always been thought of as pretty soft. But this was a good one with Thornton more than holding his own.
Gabriel Landeskog vs Shea Weber
Landeskog absolutely smokes Josi. Like a good captain, Shea Weber steps up immediately. Gabriel Landeskog isn’t known as a fighter, but he hangs in there against the intimidating Weber.
Sidney Crosby vs Brandon Dubinsky
Sidney Crosby fight? Eh, he does it very rarely. The fight isn’t all that dramatic, but let’s give credit where it is due with the bland boy dropping the gloves.
Kovalchuk – The Surprising Beast
The great thing about NHL fights is some players you would never expect to enjoy the pugilistic arts…do. Exhibit “A” – Ilya Kovalchuk.
In our first tussle, the often daft Brayden Schenn learns a painful lesson. Remember those fair rides that spun around and pinned you to the wall? Well, imagine doing that on skates and then getting punched in the end.
NHL Fight Club
And then there are games where you would never expect a brawl to break out. The Stars and Panthers, of all teams, engaged in a beauty a few years back. The love-in started with the Panthers goalie being run and didn’t stop until six fights had gone down with most being of the non-hug variety.
And there you have it. Sure, the enforcers can have some lovely scraps, but a lot of those fights are duty-oriented. The matches involving a star or two are usually the best because, frankly, they are seriously pissed off!