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2013-14 Fight Club: Reliving the top fights of the last ten years

The fists continued to fly in Dan Bylsma’s last season behind the bench along with Ray Shero in the front office.

Pittsburgh Penguins v Philadelphia Flyers Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Penguins were coming off a devastating loss to Boston in the ECF in 2013 and returned the next season with plenty of grit and snarl to mesh with a high octane offense that finished fifth in the NHL in goals as well as winning the newly minted Metropolitan Division for the first and only time with 51 wins and 109 points.

The season didn’t end well once again, this time falling to the New York Rangers in the second round in Game 7 after leading the series 3-1 after four games. The Penguins offense once again dried up and only scored one goal in each of the last three losses.

The Penguins cleaned house after that disappointing playoff loss and both chapters in the Ray Shero and Dan Byslma era came to an end in the Pittsburgh Penguins storybook. That team certainly didn’t go down without a fight, however.

Fighting may be steadily disappearing from today’s game, but it’s still one of the most unique and influential aspects of hockey. Just ask Max Talbot (circa 2009) if fights actually make a difference in a game. Fighting may not be common these days, but they still exist for a reason.

2010-11 Recap
2011-12 Recap
2013 Recap


10/8/13 - Tanner Glass vs Jay Harrison

Once again we’ll start with Tanner Glass who won his fair share of fights in black and gold. He won this one very cleanly with 96% of the votes on hockeyfights.com with not a single vote for Jay Harrison.

Glass is lethal with both his right and left hands and catches many opponents off guard with surprise left-handed shots at just the right time. Harrison was victim to many of those in this particular fight as Glass beats him soundly in one of the highest ranked fights for the Penguins this season.


10/28/13 - Joe Vitale vs Brett Sutter

There’s an odd rule written into the NHL Collective Bargaining Agreement that states that there must be at least one member of the Sutter family actively playing in the NHL at all times. In this game, there just so happened to be two - Brett Sutter (CAR) and Brandon Sutter (PIT). Brett Sutter runs Craig Adams into the boards dangerously and Joe Vitale respectfully allows him to stand up before unleashing his fists upon him.

The two combatants knock each other around furiously for around thirty seconds but it had to have felt like forever with the amount of punches connected on both sides. Sutter gives Vitale about a half dozen in just a few seconds before Vitale responds with a few of his own upon Sutter and the refs quickly jump in as they’re paid to do.

52% of the votes claimed the bout a draw with Sutter getting 27% to Vitale’s 21% with an impressive average score of 7.16, making this one of the highest ranked fights involving the Penguins that season between two unlikely suspects.


10/17/13 - Robert Bortuzzo vs Kris Newbury

This one didn’t rank as high in the voting but still makes you feel warm and fuzzy as a Penguins fan. Bortuzzo starts the whole ordeal when he steps up in the offensive zone with a big hit that Kris Newbury disapproves of and requests a dance with Bortuzzo.

Bortuzzo has a half foot height advantage and uses it to the best of his ability and gives Newbury the business in one of the more one-sided fights for the Penguins this season. Very satisfying to see.


11/15/13 - Tanner Glass vs Eric Nystrom

This fight between Glass and Nystrom was the opposite feeling of the previous fight. This one turned scary extremely quickly as Glass knocks Nystrom out with a massive punch that leaves Nystrom bloodied and woozy on the ice.

Unfortunately this is still a real possibility in a fight and it could have gone much, much worse had Nystrom’s head hit the ice as well. Nystrom did not return after the fight and was out for a several games but returned a week later for Nashville. Both players knew the risks when they dropped the gloves, and fortunately Nystrom wasn’t severely injured in this fight.


10/12/13 - Craig Adams vs Ryan Malone

This one didn’t go well for Craig Adams, but I had to include it because of who was inflicting the damage. Ryan Malone was one of my favorite players as a kid since the day I found out his father was a Penguins player to go alone with the amount of abuse he endured in a losing effort in the 2008 playoffs.

Craig Adams was never afraid to drop the gloves, but usually things didn’t go well for him. This was just another example of that in what appeared to be a scripted fight as it happened right off the opening faceoff. It only made the cut to put a smile on some people’s faces who still find humor in Adams’ time with the Pens and also the Ryan Malone fans still at heart.


11/9/13 - Deryk Engelland vs Ryan Reaves

Engelland was having a rough season this year but was still willing to do whatever it took to be in the lineup including playing as a fourth line winger. He also was willing to prove that his name is still up along with the other well-known fighters in the league such as an up-and-coming Reaves who quickly became a favorite around the league.

Reaves got 48% of the votes to Engo’s 23%, but Reaves certainly was giving it his all and Engelland wasn’t going down without a fight. This was a classic bout between two of the most feared fighters in the league that did not disappoint in terms of entertainment. It garnered a 6.43 average rating and was one of the most talked about fights that year at hockeyfights.


2/5/14 - Deryk Engelland vs John Scott

Once again Engelland drew the attention of one of the heavyweights in the NHL with the legend John Scott. Scott found himself next to Engelland on a faceoff and would not take no for an answer to a fight. Seeing Engelland standing next to Scott puts just how much bigger Scott is in the video and that alone is worth checking out.

Engo likely knew it wasn’t going to go well as the two have met many times throughout their careers most likely, and this time was likely similar to those fights with Scott using his reach to his advantage to hold Engelland out of striking distance while waiting to land punches at will. Engo hung in there for longer than anyone ever should and manage to connect a few shots which few other people can say, but Engelland still clearly was defeated in this fight.


12/16/13 - Robert Bortuzzo vs Troy Bodie

This game turned into a memorable one for the Penguins and you’ll see why in a moment. Bortuzzo was taken out hard into the boards and wanted Troy Bodie to answer the bell and Bodie did not back down from the challenge.

Bortuzzo swings wildly and rapidly and Bodie never really connects any shots but hangs in for quite some time and takes quite a beating from Bortuzzo in this one.


12/16/13 - Zach Sill vs Troy Bodie

Troy Bodie decides that one fight wasn’t enough and wants a piece of Zach Sill, this time at center ice. Bodie manages to get lots more shots on Sill in this fight but Sill gives Bodie a healthy amount of knuckle sandwiches to go along with the many fists he already received from Bortuzzo earlier in the game.

There weren’t a lot of games that featured more than one fight anymore in the NHL at this point, and one player getting in two fights in the same game is nearly unheard of. What makes this one even more memorable is that Bodie lost both fights and probably will think twice before dropping his gloves twice in the same game next time.


4/13/14 - Tanner Glass vs Chris Neil

The last fight of the season came in the last regular season game against Chris Neil and the Ottawa Senators. Familiar foe Chris Neil came looking for Glass after a big hit and the two instantly dropped the gloves.

Neil is a mean and rough player but Glass gets the advantage in this scrap despite taking some good shots via Neil. This was another one of the higher ranked fights for the Penguins that season coming in at 6.49 with Glass getting 48% of the vote compared to Neil’s 31%.


The Penguins would go on to defeat the Blue Jackets in six games in the playoffs before the disappointing loss to the Rangers when ownership decided to go in a different direction by hiring Jim Rutherford to replace Ray Shero as general manager who then hired Mike Johnston to replace Dan Byslma.

And the shift will be noticed immediately as the Penguins identity changed dramatically over the first few years under Rutherford in multiple directions. One of Rutherford’s first acquisitions ended up leading the league in penalty minutes in his first season with the Penguins. Find out who in the next season coming out shortly.

Poll

Which was the best fight of the 2013-14 season?

This poll is closed

  • 14%
    10/8/13 - Tanner Glass vs Jay Harrison
    (7 votes)
  • 16%
    10/28/13 - Joe Vitale vs Brett Sutter
    (8 votes)
  • 10%
    10/17/13 - Robert Bortuzzo vs Kris Newbury
    (5 votes)
  • 30%
    11/15/13 - Tanner Glass vs Eric Nystrom
    (15 votes)
  • 2%
    10/12/13 - Craig Adams vs Ryan Malone
    (1 vote)
  • 18%
    11/9/13 - Deryk Engelland vs Ryan Reaves
    (9 votes)
  • 0%
    2/5/14 - Deryk Engelland vs John Scott
    (0 votes)
  • 2%
    12/16/13 - Robert Bortuzzo vs Troy Bodie
    (1 vote)
  • 2%
    12/16/13 - Zach Sill vs Troy Bodie
    (1 vote)
  • 6%
    4/13/14 - Tanner Glass vs Chris Neil
    (3 votes)
  • 0%
    Other
    (0 votes)
50 votes total Vote Now