Love it or hate it, fighting is as much a part of hockey as Zambonis and shaking hands at the end of a playoff series.
In the past, the only way to make sure your star player received fair treatment was the threat of retribution. The prevailing philosophy was, “If you hurt our best player, we’ll make sure you wish you didn’t.” As recently as the late ‘90s, teams would be crazy not to keep at least one enforcer on their roster.
While today’s NHL emphasizes speed and skill, players like Derek Boogaard and Donald Brashear are still employed for the same reasons Tony Twist and Tie Domi were kept around: Protect the stars.
But on a franchise known more for scoring goals than KO's, finding enough players to fill out a top 10 list was hard enough. Ranking them only exacerbated the situation.
When it comes to goonery, the Detroit Red Wings are one of the last teams that come to mind. However, if you look at their roster over the decades, you can compile a who’s who of NHL pugilists.