NHL Playoffs 2012: The 15 Nastiest Fighters in the Postseason

Tab BamfordSenior Writer IApril 23, 2012

NHL Playoffs 2012: The 15 Nastiest Fighters in the Postseason

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    This postseason has been scarred by some ugly play and dirty hits, and the league has certainly made its feelings known by handing out a number of suspensions (just not to superstars early in a series).

    While fighting is usually left at home when the postseason starts, there have been a few opportunities for fans to see a couple guys drop the gloves since the playoffs started.

    What follows is a look at the 15 guys who started these playoffs as the toughest fighters in the second season. A few of them have already been sent home, and a couple more have some work to do to avoid playing golf next week on their own—but each one of these guys has no problem handling his business when it's time to go.

Ryan Clowe, San Jose Sharks

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    The Sharks might be done for the year, but Clowe is a heavyweight who has no problem fighting anyone.

Aaron Asham, Pittsburgh Penguins

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    Asham plays on the edge, and crossed that line a number of times against the Flyers in the playoffs. Now there's one thing he won't have to fight: the urge to play golf. He was suspended to end his postseason early, and the Pens were eliminated on Sunday.

Jordin Tootoo, Nashville Predators

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    Despite being listed at only 5'9", Tootoo has no fear on the ice and will fight just about anybody.

Brandon Prust, New York Rangers

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    There have certainly been opportunities for the Rangers and Sens to mix it up, and Prust is always available if someone wants to go. He tied for the NHL lead with 20 fighting majors this year.

Shawn Thornton, Boston Bruins

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    Thornton is tied for the NHL lead this year with 20 fighting majors, and he won more than he lost.

Jamal Mayers, Chicago Blackhawks

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    Mayers, one of the older players on this list, spent the season being the most physical player in the Chicago lineup.

Zenon Konopka, Ottawa Senators

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    Konopka was among the NHL leaders with 18 fighting majors this year, and he has certainly thrown his weight around against the Rangers during the postseason.

Zac Rinaldo, Philadelphia Flyers

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    Rinaldo might make some bad decisions every once in a while, but when the gloves come off, he's willing to go with anyone in the league.

Matt Hendricks, Washington Capitals

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    Hendricks is a big guy who doesn't grab the attention that some of the more flashy superstars do in Washington, but he's the guy asked to make sure other teams don't feel comfortable taking cheap shots at those studs.

Kyle Clifford, Los Angeles Kings

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    Clifford has been out since a cheap shot gave him a concussion early in the Kings-Canucks series, but he's usually one of the guys in L.A. who's ready to fight when asked.

Chris Stewart, St. Louis Blues

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    Stewart's a big body, and his temper has exploded a few times this year. If he's asked to go, Stewart can deliver a knockout blow.

Brandon Bollig, Chicago Blackhawks

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    Bollig was a late-season call-up for Chicago, but still dropped the gloves eight times in his brief time in the NHL. He's also done a good job of holding his own with anyone who has wanted to go.

Chris Neil, Ottawa Senators

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    He's been one of the most feisty players in this year's playoffs, and won most of the fights he was in during the 2011-12 season.

Zdeno Chara, Boston Bruins

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    Boston's captain is one of the biggest and most intimidating players in the league. He doesn't throw down very often, but when he does, it's nearly impossible for anyone in the league to get inside his enormous reach.

John Scott, New York Rangers

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    Most of his fights this year were handled while with Chicago, but a deadline deal sent him to the Rangers. According to HockeyFights.com, Scott has never lost a fight in his NHL career, and most of his fights have ended with his opponent needing repairs.