NHL's 15 Biggest Fighting Fails of the Season

Kevin W. Ryan@@kevry88Contributor IIIFebruary 9, 2012

NHL's 15 Biggest Fighting Fails of the Season

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    When the game gets a little physical, or the trash talking goes over the line, the natural reaction is that everlasting thirst for physical justice. What's great about the NHL is that this thirst is achievable within the league rulebook.

    It's too bad LeBron can't drop Manu Ginobili for yet another flop, or anyone in the MLB cannot put that little munchkin T-Plush to rest, but that is one of the reasons that makes hockey the purest sport on earth. 

    Many believe there wouldn't have been so much Wayne Gretzky without Marty McSorly. When your checking line brought too much lumber on No. 99, McSorly sought revenge by any means necessary.

    It seems as if the league's current top fighters only care about dropping the gloves, whether or not the puck goes in the net.    

    Fighting has been a staple of the sport since its beginning. Here are are the professionals who have done it the worst this season.  

Honorable Mention: Alexander Semin vs. Marc Staal (2009)

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    The key to team success in the NHL is having definitive roles throughout the organization. If a team hires you because you knocked out the crosstown rival's tough guy the year before, a true professional understands that they were not hired to snipe goals. 

    In this lovely case, the world was reminded that Capitals controversial winger Alex Semin was not granted a multimillion-dollar contract to "Bring Da Ruckus." I am tempted to venture down to the nearest elementary school and see how many kids fight better than Semin. 

15: Brad Winchester vs. Aaron Volpatti

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    Sharks tough guy Brad Winchester plays every minute looking for a fight. Early in the preseason, the Canucks came down to San Jose for a match in which I was so lucky to attend. 

    Yes, Mr. Announcer, Cheryl Tiegs is a total babe. But now back to action, where only a matter of milliseconds occurred before Winchester vaulted on the list with one of the worst fights in Sharks history.   

    Volpatti, clearly, did a fabulous job fulfilling his role for the Canucks in this bout—yet they lost the game 5-0. Big dog has racked up a total of 37 PIM in just 23 games, indicating smooth sailing ahead for the Vancouver strong arm. 

14: Buffalo Sabres Lack of Toughness vs. Milan Lucic

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    The most common spark for a fight in the NHL is when a goalie gets showered in snow, or at the very least heckled. Lucic's unbelievable act couldn't get anyone on the Sabres to not care about the rules for once and bring their goalie some justice.

    One of the worst fights of this NHL season lies on the entire Buffalo Sabres roster. How they did not stick up for the cornerstone of the entire franchise is beyond me. 

    Ryan Miller put it best in a series of rhetorical questions after the game: "How was it not intentional? He's a professional, right? So he could have avoided it?"

    Imagine if Lucic tried to pull this hit on Denny Lemieux and the Charlestown Chiefs?

13: Kopecky KO's Michael Del Zotto

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    This cleverly-titled video lobbies for Tomas Kopecky when in reality that cheap shot was one of the worst in the post-Todd Bertuzzi era. Seconds before, Del Zotto cross-checked Kopecky in the head—apparently justifying a cold KO in Florida. 

    The dialogue after the punch was captured by HBO's 24/7 crew. Rangers forward and avid fighter Brandon Prust said he did not go to an all-Irish bar brawl on Kopecky for fear of being suspended for the Winter Classic.  

12: Jay Beagle vs. Aaron Asham

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    Asham is perhaps the best-fighting Penguin and one of the most feared fighters in the Eastern Conference. 

    The same cannot be said for Caps winger Jay Beagle. His broken facemask and blood covered the ice once Asham landed a couple of right hooks.

    After the fight, Caps captain Alex Ovechkin served Beagle's penalty and chirped Asham for dropping gloves with such an inexperienced fighter. The ashamed Asham even chimed in after the game, claiming his actions were "classless."   

    Whatever your moral stance on this bout, Asham sent Beagle into another world for a few days. 

11: Joey Crabb vs Johnny Oduya

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    Johnny Oduya is quite possibly the first half Kenyan-half Swedish player in the NHL, so cheers to him! Perhaps that is why he's smiling through this whole "fight?''

    Oduya has just 13 points in 52 games this season.He's there to drop the gloves.

    It's too bad the Leafs' Joey Crabb got taken down with one arm. Maybe he would have landed a good punch if he didn't spend so much time fixing his hair. 

10: Brayden Schenn vs. Ilya Kovalchuk

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    Some NHL haters believe that fighting is the only entertaining part of the game. Yes, usually, the "tough guy" on the team is the one to drop the gloves.

    But what makes the NHL so beautiful is when people like two-time, 50-goal scorer Ilya Kovalchuk fight—or tries to. 

    Kovalchuk was probably expecting to land a few punches on the rookie, instead he began with a little Aerosmith and tossed Brayden Schenn around like a rag doll. Unfortunately, the fail circus didn't end there. 

    Before Kovalchuk landed the fight-ending blow (Thank Tebow!), the two exchanged five air balls. 

    Superstar 1, Rookie 0. "Awesome prank ,Farva."

9: Chris Kelly vs. Brayden Schenn

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    This bout reminds me of my good friend Dan Patrick's comment on a Lakers-Mavericks game: "It was like two Asian heavyweights leaning on each other." 

    It's actually funny Schenn hit this list twice because he's shaping up to be a future cornerstone of the Flyers franchise.

    What's unfortunate here is how neither Kelly nor Schenn decide to throw a punch. I believe Kelly gets the full slice of the fail cake here because his teammate was purely destroyed. 

    Personally, I think Kelly decided to congratulate Schenn on a good, clean hit and agreed to settle their differences.  

8: Maxim Lapierre vs Roman Polak

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    This video highlights yet another physical shift from Blues' energy man Roman Polak. Unfortunately, Canucks struggling winger Maxim Lapierre fails to come to the defense of teammate Manny Malholtra after Polak pummeled Malholtra into the boards. 

    Immediately following, Lapierre possibly chimes in with something about Polak's momma and only a matter of seconds occur between the dropping of gloves and the dropping of Lapierre. 

    It's quite obvious that the recent Canucks rosters have had one or two solid fighters, whereas the rest stick to atrocious chirping, and apparent biting

7: Francois Beauchemin vs. Sam Gagner

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    Everyone in Edmonton (announcers included) knew Gagner didn't have much of a chance against Beauchemin. If  there's one thing the Oilers lack, it's a tough guy.

    They have three young, prolific scorers to be in Jordan Eberle, Taylor Hall, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, who are all learning from veteran winger Ryan Smyth—but the lack of a physical presence haunts them almost every game. 

    It's good to see Gagner come to Hall's defense like this, but he still lands at No. 7 on the fail list after only landing one punch before Francois bloodies up his face.  

    After all, only a couple of weeks later, Gagner put up eight points in one night—imaginably landing him in a sea of Edmonton babes. 

6: Joe Finley vs Matt Martin

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    This fail was pure lack of control. Finley and Martin were so mad at each other they could barely stand on skates, let alone land any punches.

    In an otherwise great bout, Finley and Martin exchange hay-makers while simultaneously bouncing off the boards, perhaps the referees and maybe even the guy in the third row eating a hot dog. 

    The recklessness gets even better when Martin loses his helmet, strikingly resembling an angry teenager in the midst of a heavy-metal mosh pit.  

5: Joe Pavelski vs. Keith Ballard

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    I've been watching the Sharks for about 10 years now and I don't think I've ever seen Pavelski fight anyone—let alone the one guy on the Canucks he shouldn't have. 

    The announcer says it best at the end: " I don't think Pavelski even knew Ballard fought with his left hand." 

    Sharks-Canucks games are always entertaining from the prolific scoring to the incredible physicality. It's this exact energy that makes a goal scorer like Pavelski want to drop gloves with basically anyone, though I'm sure it did not work out as he had planned. 

4: Wayne Simmonds vs. Eric Brewer

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    Simmonds is probably the last player in the league I'd mess with. Eric Brewer at least lands a punch or two before getting dropped.

    This fight was one of the Top 10 of the season in my mind, but what makes Simmonds so good is his timing. He has a true grit, patience and the ability to make fighting look like an art rather than a big burst of anger. 

3: Todd Bertuzzki vs. Daniel Carcillo

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    In perhaps an effort to audition for "Disney On Ice," the NHL's most hated man, Todd Bertuzzi, drops the gloves with Carcillo, yet both simultaneously figure skate sideways from center ice all the way to the end boards without throwing a punch. 

2: Zdeno Chara vs. Jay Harrison

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    Jay Harrison simply fails at being a "David" and should leave 6'10'' Chara (aka Goliath) alone. Harrison seemed to be in the mood to fight anyone. It's too bad the biggest man to ever play professional hockey was in his way. 

    Needless to say, Harrison had slim chances and there wasn't a person in the building who thought otherwise. What's funny is that Chara is usually a very calm player and plays the game the way it ought to be played. 

    Here, Chara was so mad he threw lumberjacks over the referee, who was basically trying to save Harrison's life, then gets in Cam Ward's grill. 

    Bonus fails to Cam Ward and Tuuka Rask for not fighting. 

1: Maxim Lapierre vs. Justin Abdelkader

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