NHL 2010-2011 Recap: The Top 10 Hockey Fights of the Season

Jason Sapunka@moreSapunkaCorrespondent IIJune 4, 2011

NHL 2010-2011 Recap: The Top 10 Hockey Fights of the Season

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    DALLAS, TX - DECEMBER 23:  Right wing Jarome Iginla #12 of the Calgary Flames fights with Jamie Benn #14 of the Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center on December 23, 2010 in Dallas, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    With the Stanley Cup Finals underway, the 2010-2011 NHL season is coming to a close.

    During this past hockey season, more than 700 fights occurred. Though each was exciting and contributed to the enjoyment that a fan can experience during a hockey game, most of the fights were nothing special.

    However, a select few stuck out from the rest as memorable affairs.

    Here are the 10 most entertaining hockey fights of the season.

HM: Montreal Canadiens vs. Boston Bruins: Line Brawl (February 9, 2011)

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    While there wasn't enough spots in the countdown to include this one-sided brawl, it still deserves a spot in the slideshow.

    The highlights of this brawl were Johnny Boychuk pounding Jaroslav Spacek until Spacek dropped to the ice, Greg Campbell bloodying Tom Pyatt and Roman Hamrlik being saved from Shawn Thornton by the referees.

10) Colton Orr vs. Deryk Engelland (October 13, 2010)

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    Prior to this season, Colton Orr had established himself as one of the league's meanest enforcers and best fighters. His resume included a knockout of Todd Fedoruk in 2007 and running the goalie of the toughest team in the league last season without being harmed.

    Engelland showed no fear in taking on Orr here, with surprising results.

9) John Scott vs. Kevin Westgarth (November 27, 2010)

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    During this past offseason, the defending Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks acquired former Minnesota Wild defenseman John Scott.

    Big Scott used his size advantage effectively in this pounding of Kevin Westgarth, who is a very good fighter himself.

8) Rick DiPietro vs. Brent Johnson (February 2, 2011)

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    Goalie fights in the NHL are not common. The last one prior to this bout also included DiPietro. He hammered the Rangers' Al Montoya in the 2007 preseason.

    DiPietro didn't fare too well in this one, as he left this fight with a broken orbital bone.

7) Penguins vs. Islanders: 2nd Line Brawl (February 11, 2011)

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    This occurred during the first game following the DiPietro-Johnson fight.

    Many factors led to the outbreak in this February 11th game, which resulted in more than 20 games of suspensions and was the highest penalized game in the NHL all season.

    While any line brawl is exciting enough, what occurred in this one is uniquely ridiculous.

    It all started with Trevor Gillies' now infamous attack on Tangradi, plus his subsequent refusal to exit down the runway or relent from screaming at Tangradi.

    After Micheal Haley beat down Maxime Talbot, he skated down the ice to the waiting and ready Brent Johnson. This brought Eric Godard off the bench, skating hard towards Haley.

    To have any of these unique occurrences would be worthwhile, but to have all of them in one line brawl is more than anyone expected.

    To better understand what caused the brawl, check out this article on the Islanders.

6) Jarome Iginla vs. Jamie Benn (December 23, 2010)

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    Benn started off well in this fight, landing two punches that opened up Iginla.

    However, the captain with the most fighting majors since the lockout would not go down easy. Iginla came back aggressively and by the end of the fight, Benn was simply holding on and waiting for it to be over.

5) Zenon Konopka vs. Dan Carcillo (October 30, 2010: Round 1)

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    Over the last four seasons, both of these two men have led the NHL in penalty minutes. Konopka led the NHL in fighting majors in 2010 with 33. In the 2008 season, Carcillo became the first player in seven years to eclipse the 300-PIM mark. In the past 10 years, only these two players have done so.

    What should be noted about these physical, scrappy middleweights is that unlike some one-dimensional enforcers such as Steve MacIntyre, Colton Orr or Eric Godard, is that they are competent players as well. Konopka has an impressive faceoff winning percentage, and Carcillo once skated on the Flyers' first line alongside Mike Richards and Simon Gagne.

    It was only fitting for two players with such similar styles would produce such a great fight.

    Konopka was able to aggressively get the better of the fight's opening, but once Carcillo fell to his knees and got back up, he took over.

    Carcillo has shown the ability to come back in a fight one other time this season. During a scrap with Jake Dowell, Carcillo took a shot on the nose, began bleeding and then unleashed a fury of rights, which sent Dowell down to his knees.

    During this fight, Carcillo was unable to put Konopka down, but when the two men exchanged hard rights as the fight went on, Carcillo certainly landed better than Konopka.

    It was a long, hard-fought scrap by both participants.

4) Krys Barch vs. Cam Janssen (January 2, 2011)

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    Both of these heavyweights have shown their ability to produce entertaining hockey fights.

    Krys Barch's head-to-head series with Brad May was arguably the best collection of fights between two players in the NHL over the past 10 years. Only the Jeremy Yablonski-"Nasty" Mirasty rivalry in the AHL seems to surpass that series.

    Cam Janssen has the ability to make a fight last very long. When fighters are given the right amount of time, any hockey fight can turn out to be very good. It was Janssen's stamina that resulted in the historically long fight last season between him and Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond that was arguably the best of that season.

    Janssen contributed to another great bout here. The fight ended with a long series of toe-to-toe style haymakers being thrown. Though most of them missed, both men had a willingness to throw hard despite knowing a shot just as good would come his way.

    The effort here was something to be admired, and definitely a sight to see.

3) Raitis Ivanans vs. Steve MacIntyre (October 7, 2010)

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    This was the most devastating knockout the NHL has seen in quite some time.

    Amidst the astonishment of MacIntyre's power, the reason for his success in this bout is lost.

    As neither fighter was able to reach, MacIntyre put his right hand on Ivanans' left arm. As Ivanans did the same, the fighters became closer together. This allowed MacIntyre to land a right. Before Ivanans could respond, another came his way and put him on the ice.

    Ivanans has not played a game since this fight, and his career could very well be over.

    Steve MacIntyre is quite probably the hardest-hitting puncher in the NHL, and arguably the league's best fighter.

2) Jay Rosehill vs. Francis Lessard (February 19, 2011)

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    Both men went for the courageous strategy of simply attempting to throw faster and more accurately than the puncher giving it right back.

    During the first toe-to-toe exchange, Lessard got the better of Rosehill with lefts, as Rosehill had trouble connecting rights. Once Rosehill recognized the issue, he quickly switched to trading lefts and got the better of the fight's second half.

1) Eric Boulton vs. John Erskine (November 14, 2010)

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    This is the way men are supposed to fight.

    Once the two came together in front of the net, there was no question that both wanted to punch the other, and do that hard.

    There is little defensive work here, as both Erskine and Boulton simply threw as hard as possible. What is most incredible about this season's best fight is that even though several of these powerful punches connect square on the face of the combatants, both relentlessly continued with haymakers.