New York Islanders: The Top 10 Fights of the 2010-2011 Season

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New York Islanders: The Top 10 Fights of the 2010-2011 Season
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Before this past season started, the New York Islanders added Zenon Konopka to their roster, the NHL's leader in fighting majors from the previous season.

Along with Konopka, longtime AHL enforcer Trevor Gillies became a regularly dressed player for the Islanders, playing in 39 of the 62 games he was not suspended for.

Fellow Bridgeport Sound Tiger Matt Martin also became a regular in the lineup, ending the year with 13 fights.

In the second half of the season, Michael Haley was also called up from Bridgeport. Haley would end up fighting 10 times in 27 NHL games.

The addition of Konopka, Gillies, Martin, and Haley completely changed the personality of the team. The Islanders more than doubled their fight total from last year's regular season.

Not only was this the toughest Long Island hockey team over the past decade, but the 2011 New York Islanders became the toughest team in the entire NHL.

Among contributing factors to the Islanders' frustration were a high stick by Danny Briere on Frans Nielson, the Islanders' position in last place in the Eastern Conference, and a pair of questionable hits by Maxime Talbot (on Jack Hillen and another on Blake Comeau) during a game on Feb. 2, 2011.

The culmination of disrespect towards the Islanders occurred during the same game as the Talbot hits.

With 20 seconds left in the game, Pittsburgh's rat Matt Cooke collided with Islanders goalie Rick DiPietro. A scrum developed in the corner behind the goal line. As this occurred, Pittsburgh goalie Brent Johnson and DiPietro challenged each other to a fight. The fight ended quickly, with Johnson landing a punch that broke DiPietro's orbital bone and sent him down to the ice.

As DiPietro lay injured on the ice, the Penguins bench could be seen laughing.

Hard hits, cheap shots, being an unsuccessful hockey team, and now this group of grown men could add being laughed at to the list of agitating actions taken against them.

Enough was enough. During the next meeting with Pittsburgh, the Islanders took matters into their own hands in order to ensure that no team, not even one as tough as Pittsburgh, would disrespect them any longer.

In a manner similar to the mindset that led to the Philadelphia Flyers becoming the Broad Street Bullies, Long Island proved to the league that if they were going to be beat, they weren't going to be pushed around.

Despite the NHL's attempts to curb the Islanders' moxie with unfair fines and suspensions, most notably with a 10-game ban on Gillies for a hit on Cal Clutterbuck that was nothing more than interference, New York finished out the season by forcing their opponents to have respect and ensured those wearing the blue and orange uniforms would be taken seriously.

Here are the top 10 fights of the past season from the toughest team in today's NHL.

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