Pittsburgh Penguins: The Top 10 Fights of the 2010-2011 NHL Season

Jason SapunkaCorrespondent IIJune 11, 2011

Pittsburgh Penguins: The Top 10 Fights of the 2010-2011 NHL Season

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    Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

    Prior to the 2010-2011 season, the Pittsburgh Penguins signed Arron Asham, a tough player that racked up 15 majors with the cross-state rival Philadelphia Flyers. Tough defenseman Deryk Engelland earned a spot on the roster as well.

    Along with Eric Godard and Mike Rupp, these players contributed to a team that went from having the 16th most fighting majors in the league in the 2009-2010 season, to the third most in this past season.

    Though their willingness to fight was certainly curbed by a brawl-filled game on Feb. 11th against the New York Islanders (and subsequent comments from Mario Lemieux), but there were still certainly plenty of enjoyable moments in the fight department for the Pens this past season.

No. 10: Aaron Downey vs. Jesse Boulerice (Sept. 22, 2010)

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    Jesse Boulerice might be popular for his cross-check on Ryan Kesler that earned him a 25-game suspension, but the man can fight pretty well too.

    During this preseason game against the Detroit Red Wings, Boulerice landed several good punches to Downey's head, eventually dropping him.

No. 9: Adam McQuaid vs. Arron Asham (Nov. 10, 2010)

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    The more experienced Arron Asham was able to overcome McQuaid's big reach advantage.

    Asham kept his left arm out, making McQuaid's punches ineffective. Asham was able to counterpunch effectively and win the fight by landing a few hard shots.

No. 8: John Erskine vs. Michael Rupp (Jan.1, 2011)

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    During the 2010 Winter Classic, Philadelphia's Dan Carcillo and Boston's Shawn Thornton took part in the event's first fight. Carcillo dropped Thornton in a decisive victory.

    For the second consecutive season, the NHL's annual New Year's Day festival was graced with a fight.

    Pittsburgh's Mike Rupp and Washington's John Erskine are similar players skill-wise and are fairly even-matched fighters.

    It didn't take much to get the two going here, and the fight did not disappoint.

    Erskine's throw haymaker, avoid punch, throw another haymaker fight style always has the potential of producing exciting fights, such as this past season's best between him and Atlanta's Eric Boulton.

    Rupp was very willing to go along with the strategy. Each landed some good punches before Rupp lost an eye contact and asked for the linesmen to stop the fight.

No. 7: Taylor Pyatt vs. Deryk Engelland (Dec. 20, 2010)

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    The scrum began when Phoenix's Vernon Fiddler and Pittsburgh's Matt Cooke came together at center ice. The Penguin's Arron Asham stepped in to pull Fiddler away from Cooke. Since there were two Penguins involved and one Cotoye, Pyatt grabbed Cooke to even the men out.

    Engelland will stick up for teammates and can handle himself against anyone in the league, so it was no surprise that he immediately grabbed the 6'4" Pyatt off of Cooke.

    The fight was absolutely no contest. The best fighters in the league have trouble beating Engelland when he is able to get his strong grip on their throwing arm. When it occurred to the relatively inexperienced Pyatt, he could do nothing but hang on and attempt to avoid punches.

    Once he attempted to throw a punch, it ended very badly for him. Engelland immediately landed a hard right to Pyatt's face that sent him down.

No. 6: Sidney Crosby vs. Matt Niskanen (Nov. 3, 2010)

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    This is the best fight of Sidney Crosby's career so far.

    All of his other fights include him either jumping an unsuspecting player after a faceoff, attempting to pull the jersey over his opponent's head (a technique that is popular among children that have seen D2: The Mighty Ducks) or Crosby bailing out of a fight he was clearly losing by going for a takedown.

    Niskanen showed extremely poor balance here, and Crosby took advantage of it.

    He initially tried to prevent Niskanen from getting back on his skates but later won this fight by avoiding a punch and landing one of his own that confused the inexperienced Niskanen.

    Crosby landed a couple more as Niskanen went down to the ice again, ending the bout.

No. 5: Jay Rosehill vs. Eric Godard (Dec. 8, 2010)

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    Speaking of Sidney Crosby, this is what happens when someone takes a run at him.

    Toronto's fearless Jay Rosehill took multiple opportunities to go after Crosby. With Eric Godard on the ice, he should have expected what happened next.

    Not only does Eric Godard have a very strong punch, having dropped Derek Boogaard, Steve MacIntyre, and Colton Orr during his career, but Godard also possesses an incredible ability to take a punch.

    He's only gone down from a punch once in his entire career. This past season, his orbital bone was broken in a fight with Matt Carkner. Despite having a closed eye, Godard challenged Carkner to a rematch later in the game.

    In addition to his impressive abilities as a fighter, Godard's dedication to being a suitable enforcer is also astounding.

    During a brawl against the New York Islanders this season, Godard saw New York's Micheal Haley skate towards goalie Brent Johnson. Godard immediately jumped off the bench and skated right after Haley.

    Godard did his job here as well, giving Rosehill a beating as a reward for going after Pittsburgh's captain.

No. 4: Michael Rupp vs Shawn Thornton (March 5, 2011)

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    After Thornton switched to throwing rights about 20 seconds into this video, Rupp landed two lefts and later, an uppercut. After Rupp missed another uppercut, Thornton missed a punch.

    When he missed, Rupp landed a hard shot on Thornton's chin that caused him to stumble.

    Ass Thornton went down to the ice, Rupp landed another two on his helmet.

No. 3: Jody Shelley vs. Deryk Engelland (Oct. 29, 2010)

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    Philadelphia's enforcer Jody Shelley came into this season regarded as one of the best fighters in the entire league.

    He undoubtedly possesses a stronger fight card than anyone else in the entire NHL, having taken on Bob Probert, Donald Brashear, Georges Laraque and Derek Boogaard among other countless elite fighters.

    So, when Deryk Engelland bloodied him, it meant a lot and legitimized Engelland's reputation as one of the league's toughest fighters.

    Watch the way Engelland clutches Shelley's right arm with his left and relentlessly holds on. This stops Shelley from throwing effectively and therefore allows Engelland to throw hard, unanswered punches.

    Engelland's fight strategy is not a secret, but when he can use it effectively, he's difficult to beat.

No. 2: Rick DiPietro vs. Brent Johnson (Feb. 2, 2011)

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    Goalie fight.

    Knockdown.

    Broken orbital.

    Does anything else really need to be said?

No. 1: Colton Orr vs. Deryk Engelland (Oct. 13, 2010)

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    Colton Orr's open style of fighting can lead to some very exciting scraps, such as this one.

    As the fight began, the two went toe-to-toe. Orr landed two punches as Engelland landed one.

    From there, Engelland realized he was not going to beat Orr with that style and decided to avoid going toe-to-toe.

    As Orr continued to swing away at Engelland, Deryk waited for an opening while attempting to get a quality grip on Orr.

    Engelland achieved the grip he was looking for at about 0:25 of the video. He was able to prevent Orr from reaching with his punch and threw a right that sent Orr further off balance.

    The relentless Orr came back swinging despite being unbalanced and not seeing what was coming his way.

    It was the best punch of Engelland's career thus far.