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2018-19 Fight Club: Reliving the top fights of the last ten years

As the series is approaching it’s end, the drastic drop in fighting in the NHL becomes more apparent than ever.

NHL: Tampa Bay Lightning at Pittsburgh Penguins Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

When this series began with the 2010-11 NHL season, when the Penguins had a whopping 71 fights which was second in the league, the league has come a long way in 2018-19 when the Penguins finished in the top-10 in the NHL with only 16 fights. Boston led the league with an unimpressive 26 fights. It’s certainly a far cry from the league ten years ago. Which is a good thing as the on-ice product seems to be reaching a new heights with so many high profile players across the league.

2018-19 was a pretty forgettable season in fighting for the Penguins. When the Penguins did drop the gloves, the voters on hockeyfights.com gave the opposition the win in most cases, and most fights in the Penguins scored below a 4 on a scale of 1-10. But here’s a few memorable ones from two years ago, and there weren’t very many.

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
2013-14 Recap
2014-15 Recap
2015-16 Recap
2016-17 Recap
2017-18 Recap


12/1/18 - Jamie Oleksiak vs Wayne Simmonds

Early in a game against the Flyers in Pittsburgh, Jamie Oleksiak and Wayne Simmonds threw down in a very spirited bout. The Penguins jumped out to an early 1-0 lead and Simmonds was likely trying to provide a bit of a spark for his team. Fortunately for Oleksiak and the Penguins, it wasn’t very favorable for Simmonds in this one.

Oleksiak has the clear advantage over most people in a fight, and Simmonds was no exception. Oleksiak hammers away many, many times to start the fight before Simmonds rebounds with a few shots of his own. Oleksiak rebounds and unleashes a flurry of fists that appear to cause Simmonds to spring a leak all over the ice as Simmonds heads to the room for repairs and Oleksiak heads to the box to ice his hands with the clear win.

This is far and beyond any other Penguins fight this season with a 6.39 rating with Oleksiak receiving 65.1% of the vote.


1/8/19 - Zach Aston-Reese vs Colton Sceviour

Late in a one-sided game that Penguins were clearly going to win, future Penguins player Colton Sceviour was looking for Zach Aston-Reese after a (clean) hit earlier in the game that the Panthers weren’t too fond of. Sceviour was looking for Aston-Reese and Aston-Reese was more than willing to stand his ground.

This was the most lop-sided fight for the Penguins as Sceviour didn’t put up much of a fight as Aston-Reese lands one heavy shot early in the fight before wrestling Sceviour’s helmet off and then landing the heaviest shot in the scrap that drops Sceviour to the ice. Aston-Reese received 90% of the vote without a single vote for Sceviour in the voting.


1/30/19 - Evgeni Malkin vs Steven Stamkos

This is a fight where the billing was more thrilling than the actual event, but still worth adding to today’s recap. Two players with some large reputations decided to settle their differences with their fists, which is allowed in hockey. Neither side really had a clear advantage, evidenced with neither player receiving more than 29% of the vote and 55% of voters went with a draw.

When two players of this magnitude throw down, it’s always worth watching. This fight was no different as the fans in Pittsburgh were going crazy after the conclusion of this one.


2/9/19 - Jack Johnson vs Alex Killorn

A little over a week after the Malkin-Stamkos fight, the two teams met again in Tampa when another disagreement of sorts broke out late in the 2nd period. After a whistle in front of the Lightning net, Jack Johnson and Alex Killorn managed to drop their gloves away from the puck with Johnson appearing to be the instigator.

Killorn comes in hot and heavy with some heavy shots that don’t connect fully and Johnson manages to escape unscathed before responding with a few right hands as Killorn crumbles to the ice.

Killorn came away with 52.1% of the vote to Johnson’s 29.2%, but it felt much closer than that as Johnson was the last man standing. But, per usual, Jack Johnson came out on the losing end.


There weren’t any more fights worth reviewing from the Penguins this season, and the final recap coming out tomorrow will once again show the disparity with the Penguins, and the NHL, as the league slow shifts away from fighting.

Poll

Which fight was the best fight of the 2018-19 season?

This poll is closed

  • 65%
    12/1/18 - Jamie Oleksiak vs Wayne Simmonds
    (53 votes)
  • 18%
    1/8/19 - Zach Aston-Reese vs Colton Sceviour
    (15 votes)
  • 11%
    1/30/19 - Evgeni Malkin vs Steven Stamkos
    (9 votes)
  • 1%
    2/9/19 - Jack Johnson vs Alex Killorn
    (1 vote)
  • 3%
    Other
    (3 votes)
81 votes total Vote Now