NHL 2013: Power Ranking the 10 Best Fights Early in the 2013 Season

Dan Kelley@@dxkelleyCorrespondent IIJanuary 29, 2013

NHL 2013: Power Ranking the 10 Best Fights Early in the 2013 Season

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    Fans felt the frustration of the lockout that killed nearly half of the NHL season, and if message boards have taught us anything, it's that hockey fans have plenty of pent-up aggression directed at owners, union officials, players and Gary Bettman. 

    Well apparently, the players themselves got a little antsy during the lockout, because the opening week of hockey started with a bang, and with plenty of fisticuffs. 

    We've only seen 10 days of hockey this season, and already there are a plethora of fights to watch over and over on YouTube. 

    Let's take a look at the 10 best examples of frustrated NHL players finding an outlet for their emotions.

10. Ryan O'Byrne vs. Brad Stuart

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    The Sharks' broadcast crew is quick to jump on Ryan O'Byrne for instigating this bout as a response to a big, clean hit on Gabriel Landeskog, but when you've got a teenage captain on the ice, you'd damn well better be ready to drop the gloves when anyone lays a finger on him.

    Stuart bit off more than he could chew when he tried to put that whippersnapper Landeskog in his place, and O'Byrne sent a strong message to Stuart and the rest of the Sharks: hands off my captain.

9. Adam McQuaid vs. Brian Boyle

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    Perhaps Brian Boyle didn't realize to what extent Adam McQuaid was willing to go to stand up for himself. When Boyle shot the puck into McQuaid after the whistle, the Bruins defenseman went after the bigger man and knocked some sense into him.

    Boyle is not an easy man to throw around, but the 6'5" McQuaid is one of the few in the league who can equal Boyle's power. These two big men put on quite a show at Madison Square Garden.

8. Jared Boll vs. Patrick Bordeleau

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    Jared Boll has already racked up three fights this season, and Columbus' longest-tenured player knows how to put on a show for the fans in the stands. Unfortunately, in this case, he was showing the fans in Denver that he knows how to take a punch. 

    Even a guy as tough as Boll meets his match from time to time, and Patrick Bordeleau made his NHL presence felt by going toe-to-toe with one of hockey's toughest.

7. John Scott vs. Colton Orr

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    Some say that the enforcer is a dying breed, but those people forgot to tell the Leafs and Sabres

    Pure enforcers Colton Orr and John Scott found themselves on the ice at the same time, and when John-Michael Liles and Patrick Kaleta flirted with a scrap, the big boys said "We'll take it from here."

    The ensuing fight showed just how well the smaller Orr can compose himself, delivering a knockout blow when he appeared to be on the ropes. 

6. Chris Thorburn vs. Matt Hendricks

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    Matt Hendricks is not shy about dropping the gloves, and he found himself in his second bout of the game when he put up his dukes against Chris Thorburn. 

    Unfortunately for Hendricks, he found himself taking out his frustrations in a 4-1 game against a bigger man, and Thorburn put Hendricks in his place by landing some solid punches. 

5. Colton Orr vs. Deryk Engelland

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    It can be thrilling to watch a fight where one opponent manhandles the other, but the truly great fights are the ones where two heavyweights exchange blows and wind up completely even. 

    In this throwdown, Pittsburgh's Deryk Engelland and Toronto's Colton Orr go toe-to-toe and exchange blows without a clear-cut winner. Call it a draw, and call it good television.

4. Kris Newbury vs. Tye McGinn

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    Kris Newbury has spent most of his career in the AHL, and the younger Tye McGinn has just broken out of the minors and into the big leagues. Their paths crossed in the crease at the Wells Fargo Center, and the ensuing bout was a classic from two unknown combatants. 

    Both players threw lefts and rights, and both demonstrated their incredible core strengths by staying on their feet. This fight, which seemed harmless enough at the beginning, instantly became one of the better ones we'll see all season.

3. Pierre-Cedric Labrie/BJ Crombeen vs. Joe Finley/Matt Martin

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    Ask almost any hockey fan, and they'll tell you that one good fight can't measure up to two fights of any sort. When the emotions go beyond a mano-a-mano showdown, the building gets electric. 

    Right off the opening faceoff, the Lightning and Islanders offered up a pair of fights, with Pierre-Cedric Labrie facing off with Joe Finley and BJ Crombeen throwing down with Matt Martin. 

    What a shame that hockey hasn't yet perfected split screen for all-out brawls.

2. Aaron Volpatti vs. Matt Beleskey

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    As hockey fans, we've all dealt with the frustration of watching two players throw down, posture and then throw one punch before falling to the ice. 

    So when we get a fight where neither combatant stays down, and neither even bothers to stop and take a breath before reloading, that's golden. 

    This bout between Aaron Volpatti and Matt Beleskey is an instant classic, and Volpatti helped make a name for himself as a fighter who can put on a show. 

    Give Volpatti props at the end for posing like he was going to deliver a final blow, executioner-style, and having the sense to back off and skate away victorious.

1. Aaron Volpatti vs. Douglas Murray

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    Who is this Aaron Volpatti guy?

    He's been a part of both of the season's best bouts yet, though this one sees him in a slower-paced, much heavier fight with the big Douglas Murray

    Spur-of-the-moment and featuring some haymakers, this fight got fans in the Shark Tank and all across the NHL to rise to their feet. This is what fighting in hockey is all about.