The NHL's Top Five Fighters
Believe it or not, it isn’t easy ranking the top fighters in the NHL.
When ranking forwards, you can compare points. When ranking defenders, you can look at plus/minus. When ranking goaltenders, there are goals-against and save percentage to help.
But when ranking fighters, what criteria can be used?
Sure, I can look through tons of fights on Youtube, which I did, and I can look at who has beaten who over the course of the season. But there have been so many fights and so many different winners, that it would take forever to sort through all of that.
While I did look at wins as a helpful statistic, I also used the number of scraps they have been in, the size of the fighter, and how often they fight to help in the ranking process.
This took quite a while, but when the dust settled and blood was drawn, these were the warriors left standing.
5. Zenon Konopka
Konopka is 6’1” and weighs in at a solid 213 pounds.
He is not the strongest fighter, or the biggest, or the best—Konopka just does it more than any other player, and that was enough to earn him the fifth spot on the countdown.
The 29-year-old forward for the Tampa Bay Lightning leads the league with 28 fights so far this season in 65 games.
Konopka has maybe won 50 percent of his fights this season, but he never gives in and is never wrestled down to the ice.
Take a look at what he did to Zack Stortini of the Edmonton Oilers earlier this season:
4. Matt Carkner
Carkner is 6’4” and 231 pounds of sheer muscle-enough said?
In 17 minutes of ice-time, it might not be a lot for a defenseman, but it’s the most out of any player on this list. And as far as Carkner’s defensive qualities go, his size helps quite a bit. He is only a minus-one on the season.
But he isn’t on this list because he is a Norris Trophy candidate, he is on it because he has 21 fights in 73 games.
Carkner is as strong as they come, and if you don’t believe me, then just watch this beatdown of Vancouver’s Tanner Glass:
Carkner proves that his opponent certainly has a “glass” jaw (I couldn’t help myself).
3. Daniel Carcillo
Loves to fight, clinically psychotic, and he can score, too!
Carcillo has 19 points in 69 games this season. He’s no Alexander Ovechkin, but not bad for a player who has 16 fights this year.
You wouldn’t think it, given the number of fights he has been in, but Carcillo is the smallest guy on this list. He stands at 5’11” and weighs 202 pounds.
The 25-year-old Flyer is known for his rough play. In his second year in the league back in 2007, Carcillo finished the season with 324 penalty minutes.
Take a look at what he did to the much larger, Shawn Thornton at the 2010 Winter Classic—and he even celebrates. What a guy:
2. Shawn Thornton
How could I put Thornton ahead of Carcillo if Carcillo beat him in a fight?
Because I can, it’s my list. As I said before, there is no exact science to ranking fighters.
But the 32-year-old Thornton usually does not disappoint. In 67 games this season, he has 20 fights—three more than he did last season—134 penalty minutes, and a number of knockouts.
The 6’1,” 209-pound Thornton, loves to get in as many punches as possible and when he connects, it isn’t pretty.
Regardless of what you think about Thornton being ranked second, it’s hard to argue with what he did to Carolina’s Andrew Alberts in the beginning of the season:
1. Colton Orr
Colton Orr is a name that strikes very little fear into the heart of any goaltender, but terrifies almost all fighters.
Orr may have just four points this season, but he has held the heavyweight title for a couple of seasons now. And at 6’3” and 220 pounds, you better believe he is a heavyweight.
The Toronto Maple Leafs’ forward has been involved in 21 scraps this season and has amassed a new career-high of 209 penalty minutes.
While many have challenged Orr, almost nobody has beaten him because he never stops punching.
Look at what Orr did to Carkner back in February; it wasn’t the first time he had beat him:
Orr vs. Thornton
Just so all you readers see why these guys are the top two fighters in the NHL.
Orr pulls ahead early, but Thornton definitely lands some clean ones towards the end—easily the best fight of the year:
Here are a few guys who were very close to making the list. And I mean, very close:
Ian Laperriere, Cam Janssen, Zack Stortini, and George Parros (only because he has the gnarliest mustache ever).