Well, well, well. Love it or hate it, fighting has long been a part of hockey. Here’s some of our favorites.
Let’s start it off with Ryan Reaves. Bad trade, but good fun. Reaves buries a Blue Jacket and he gets challenged. As he said on the Spittin’ Chiclets pod, he was surprised this guy jumped in to fight him, saying (paraphrased) “uh oh, does he know something I don’t know?” about being tough. Then quickly realizing, no, he didn’t. I’ve never seen one fighter throw a punch and then other just literally use his hand to catch it, and oh boy, that’s probably not a good sign.
Before Paul Bissonnette was an icon and media superstar, he was a badass not to be messed with. Matt Bradley of the Washington Capitals found that out the hard way back in 2008.
Speaking of Penguins and Capitals, back in the day both of those teams employed two of the biggest heavyweights in the game. On one side, Georges Laraque. On another, Donalad Brashear. They squared up several times, but this was an epic battle in 2007.
And you can’t talk Pens and Caps fights without Arron Asham KTFO’ing Jay Beagle in 2011.
Another iconic moment in 2011 was Rick DiPietro taking a cheap shot at Matt Cooke, then getting a big too tall for his britches and dropping the mitts with Brent Johnson. It only took one left from Johnny to pretty much give a death blow to “DiPi” who would only play 11 more NHL games after this point. He still gets buyout money until 2029, so don’t feel too sorry for him.
A very personal fight back in 2001 was Matthew Barnaby against Rob Ray of the Sabres. For years, while teammates in Buffalo, Ray was something of Barnaby’s protector, sticking up for him in the rough and tumble days of the 1990’s NHL. But here, a classic little brother scrap to get in a few lefts early, then hold on for dear life and smile and stick the tongue out. Barnaby was an ultimate pest and disturber, no matter how hard you hit him it only had him smile and jaw at you more.
Sticking in 2001, and like a week after the Ray fight, Barnaby showed how fearless (and possibly foolish) he was to not back down from Zdeno Chara, then with the Islanders. Luckily the Isles would trade Chara to Ottawa that summer (lol) and Barnaby stuck right to the big man, giving up over a foot and taking some shots but still scoring a takedown.
Can’t talk about Penguins fights without Gary Roberts. Here a 41-year old Roberts beats the tar out of a 23-year old rando from the Flyers named Ben Eager, who lived up to his name by being eager to eat a lot of left fists from Scary Gary.
And one of the best Pens’ fight, they lost. Max Talbot blew a coverage and let Daniel “offside” Briere score a goal. Pittsburgh was down 3-0 early in the second period of a playoff game, on the road. Talbot goaded the hot-headed Daniel Carcillo into a fight, and Talbot got beaten up. But shhh, somehow he coaxed the crowd into firing up his teammates, for the rare instance a fight can tangibly change momentum. Ruslan Fedotenko scored 14 seconds after this fight. Mark Eaton and Sidney Crosby scored later in the period. Sergei Gonchar and Crosby scored in the third to end it. Pens win. Pens win!
What are some of your favorite Penguins fights?