Dropping the Gloves: Power Ranking the NHL’s Best Fighters

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 Dropping the Gloves: Power Ranking the NHL’s Best Fighters

It seems as if there's a new controversy that arises every NHL season that surrounds a particular facet of hockey as it is being played in that particular year.

Be it hits to the head, exactly where the goalie should play the puck or the delicate art of diving; each season seems to have at least one major topic about which fans and pundits alike want to weigh in on.

However hot these topics might get in a given season, there is one aspect of the game around which controversy rages year in and year out. It's as old as the game itself, as are the arguments that support or denounce its inclusion in the greatest sport on ice.

I'm speaking of course, of fighting.

Every season, there's a slew of opinion pieces produced about the merits or demerits of fighting in hockey.

Some say it detracts from the skill of the game, others see it as an invaluable part of on ice competition.

For every hand-wringer that points to a (rare) instance of serious injury resulting from fighting, there's another purist that points to the relative safety of the act, as engaged in by well practiced professionals.

For my part, I believe that fighting is not only acceptable, but essential to the game of hockey.

It provides energy, sways momentum and rights wrongs gone unnoticed by on-ice officials (something that happens with more and more frequency unfortunately).

Fighting is in hockey's DNA, and so long as players aren't sneaking in brass knuckles under their gloves, it should never be extracted from it.

But, this is not a piece attempting to lay out all the reasons fighting should remain in the game. Again, if you want to read that, just wait until the season starts and you'll have you pick of articles to choose from.

No, this is an attempt to highlight some of the best fighters in the NHL going into next season.

Now, because the only official statistic kept in the NHL with regards to fighting is five-minute majors, defining "the best" fighters is naturally a bit subjective.

However, the good people at hockeyfights.com have an outstanding database of videos, stats and opinion polls that, taken together, give a very good read on who the best pugilists in the NHL actually are.

What follows is a ranking of the 15 best scrappers in the league.

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