NHL Fight of the Day: Anaheim Ducks vs Calgary Flames

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It may not be looked at as much of a rivalry by either side, but the Anaheim Ducks and the Calgary Flames have a pretty nasty history with each other when you look at all the fights they've had.

Games between these two squads have turned nasty in a hurry, with fights galore sometimes coming out and guys getting into some pretty major disagreements on the ice.

Perhaps none was more notorious than when Francois Beauchimin irked Flames captain Jarome Iginla to drop the gloves before beating him senseless.

But today's fight of the day is one that's not really remembered by much of the NHL, but definitely is the type of fight that cues some enormous hatred from both sides.

The date: December 8, 2001.

An already hard-fought and chippy game has seen the Flames become increasingly frustrated as they can't get a puck behind former-teammate Jean-Sebastian Giguere, and trail the then Mighty Ducks of Anaheim by a 4-0 score at home.

It's late in the third period and the tensions on the ice are at a huge breaking point when Flames tough-guy Craig Berube throws a stick of dynamite into the gunpowder barrel by putting a big and clearly intentional bump on Giguere behind the Anaheim net.

Giguere, known for having a pretty hot temper in net (I think it's a French-Canadian goalie thing), obviously objects immediately but is quickly rescued by defenseman Niclas Havelid.

Berube got a double-minor for roughing out of that. You might want to get a pencil and paper because it really adds up from here.

Retaliation came just minutes later when Ducks enforcer Kevin Sawyer took a clear cheap shot at Flames goaltender Mike Vernon and dropped the gloves, which prompted Flames defenseman Robyn Regher to answer the call.

Jarome Iginla also got involved in a scrap with Denny Lambert as it became quite clear that all hell was breaking loose. The referees didn't even want to get in between these guys despite having a few chances to do so.

Then, before the teams could pick up the garage-sale amount of scattered equipment, Dean McAmmond took a shot at Oleg Tverdovsky, knocking him to the ice and nearly starting another fight. Both players were also ejected from the game.

The penalties from this one? Anaheim's Kevin Sawyer and Denny Lambert each got five minutes for fighting. Lambert also got a 10-minute misconduct penalty and a game misconduct, bringing his penalty minute total to 27 for the night. Calgary's Jarome Iginla got five for fighting and a game misconduct. Dean McAmmond got a 10-minute misconduct, and Robyn Regher got five minutes for fighting.

In all of this, Anaheim coach Bryan Murray made one of the smartest moves of the game by having undersized super-scorer Paul Karyia serve the five-minute major assigned to Sawyer for the hit on Vernon. When all of this went down, the elite all-star was safely tucked away in the penalty box.

And while all these punishments were still being announced over the public address, everything hit the fan yet again right off the faceoff.

Calgary's Steve Begin bull-rushed Ruslan Salei with no warning and within seconds everybody found a dance partner.

Centers Marty McInnis and Dennis Gauthier got involved, and Bob Boughner found a dance partner in Vitaly Vishnevsky. Clark Wilm even found a way to get involved.

And before the penalties for these altercations could even be announced even more scraps broke out off the ensuing faceoff...again! Rob Niedermayer decided to dance with Anaheim's Mike Leclerc (a fight that really did look more like a dance than a fight), and future Duck Toni Lydman even got involved with Pavel Trnka along the boards.

So now...with three-on-three man power each side and the benches dwindling in numbers to nearly the bare minimum, Calgary sent Ronald Petrovicky over the boards to faceoff with Anaheim's Dan Bylsma—yes, the same one who is now the coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

As you can imagine, that erupted into a pretty good scrap that saw both sides land some pretty good punches.

During this scrap the announcement finally came over the loudspeaker for some of the more recent penalties. Salei and Vishnevsky were both given five for fighting and match penalties. Marty McInnis was given a fighting major.

Calgary's Steve Begin was given two minutes for instigating, five for fighting, and a game minute misconduct. Bob Boughner and Dennis Gauthier were both given two for instigating, five for fighting, a 10-minute misconduct, and a game misconduct each. Mark Wilm got a 10-minute misconduct.

Pavel Trnka, Mike Leclerc, Rob Niedermayer, and Toni Lydman were all given five minutes each for fighting.

Got all that? Good. Rest for a second because the game still isn't over.

The puck actually drops this time and play continues for more than just a moment as the teams begin to skate three-on-three.

Before long the Ducks decide they just want to kill the clock and begin passing the puck around in their own end.

Scott Nichol decided he didn't like the idea of the Ducks just trying to end the game early and attacked Oleg Tverdovsky in the Anaheim zone.

The attack got Giguere hot under the helmet again as he left his crease to go after Scott Nichol and protect his teammate. That little stunt caused Giguere to be ejected from the game and to lose the shutout bid he had going, which then went down as a shared shutout with backup goaltender Steve Shields.

Just look at the 18:00 mark of the video to see a sight you will probably never see in an NHL game at any other point: two skaters on the Calgary bench. That's right—two.

Play resumed and Calgary captain Dave Lowry threw the puck over the glass, causing him to get a minor penalty for delay of game. Why? Craig Berube, the one who started it all, was released from the penalty box with that stoppage of play.

You know what that means.

Right off the draw he goes right back to what you thought he'd do, throwing punches at Jeff Friesen.

Sergei Krivokrasov and Craig Conroy had paired off but no punches were thrown.

Want to see something even funnier than just two people on the bench? How's one skater? Check out the 21:16 mark.

Finally and mercifully, the final horn sounded, officially giving the Ducks the win, but not without one last hurrah of a scrap as Igor Kravchuck took a run at Krivokrasov, which the Anaheim forward took exception to.

Final totals? Both teams totaled 309 penalty minutes and 19 fighting major penalties in the game. Calgary set the second-highest penalty minute total by one team in a single period in NHL history with 190. Craig Berube finished the night with 33 penalty minutes. Scott Nichol finished with 31. Both Dennis Gauthier and Bob Boughner finished with 29.

For Anaheim, Denny Lambert was the big penalty-minute getter on the night, earning himself 27 minutes, while Kevin Sawyer finished with 17 and Ruslan Salei with 15.

With a brawl this bad in their past it fascinates me how these two teams, particularly with a playoff series in their history as well, haven't become even more fierce rivals. With games between these two regularly becoming heated affairs and a competitive nature spurned on by both teams constantly pushing each other, it dazzles me to think that this isn't one of the biggest rivalries in the NHL.

 

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