Video: Top 7 Coach Fights in NHL History (Last 25 Years)
If you're an NHL fan who also follows the NFL, you've surely seen the infamous confrontation between Jim Harbaugh and Jim Schwartz that happened after the San Francisco 49ers defeated the Detroit Lions on Sunday.
The two almost came to blows after the game ended and it got me thinking about what sport has had the most confrontations between coaches. After doing some research, the answer was obvious. It's hockey.
You have a physical sport where fighting between the players is allowed and the two coaches are standing atop a pair of benches that are literally right beside each other. Needless to say, there's not much in the way of the coaches yelling and threatening each other. In fact, there have been occasions where the two panes of glass between the benches aren't enough to keep the coaches from going at each other. Often, it's their players who have to separate them.
In this slideshow, I take a look at the best videos on the web of coaches going wild on each other and I thought I'd go with the top seven since we are entering Week 7 in the NFL, which is where this idea originally came from.
Note: The reason this list only goes back 25 years is because there simply isn't a lot of videos on the web of games older than that. Therefore, it's unfair to say that these are the seven best coach fights in the entire history of the NHL.
7. Marc Crawford vs. Scotty Bowman
This is the most one-sided confrontation where a couple of NHL coaches were face-to-face with each other. In 1997, the Red Wings/Avalanche rivalry was at its peak and the coaches were not exempt.
At the 6:28 mark of this clip that highlights the Wings/Avs best moments, the often ill-tempered Marc Crawford blows a fuse and gets right in the face of the legendary Scotty Bowman.
Unlike Crawford, Bowman shows more restraint and seems surprised at the anger of Crawford.
Apologies for the length of this video, but it was the only one I could find of this confrontation. Therefore, as I mentioned, you'll have to fast forward to the 6:28 mark to see the confrontation.
6. Lindy Ruff vs. Ken Hitchcock
There have been many battles in the media between coaches in NHL history, so I figured I had to include at least one on this list, even if the two coaches never argued face-to-face.
In Game 2 of the first round during the 2006 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Buffalo Sabres destroyed the Philadelphia Flyers 8-2.
After the game, Sabres coach Lindy Ruff started a war of words with Flyers coach Ken Hitchcock because Ruff thought the Flyers were playing dirty and didn't accept the loss very well. Hitchcock's response is what puts this clip on this list even though it's not an in-person confrontation.
At first, the Flyers coach appears to take the high road when asked about what Lindy Ruff said about his team. Then, when he's leaving the podium, he lets it rip!
5. Terry Murray vs. Brent Sutter
During a regular season game between the Calgary Flames and the L.A. Kings on December 30th, 2009, Kings coach Terry Murray didn't like it when Flames defenseman Dion Phaneuf put a big hit on his star player, Anze Kopitar.
Murray's response was to let Flames coach Brian Sutter know about it. The video tells the rest of the story.
4. Bryan Murray vs. Lindy Ruff
We just saw Terry Murray get into a verbal joust. Now let's welcome his brother Bryan Murray who took it up a notch when he coached the Ottawa Senators in 2007.
When a brawl broke out between Murray's Senators and Lindy Ruff's Buffalo Sabres, the two coaches got as close to each other as you can without going into the divider between benches. Things really got heated and you can even pick up a few of their hostile words by listening closely.
3. Pat Burns vs. Barry Melrose
The Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the L.A. Kings in Game 1 of the 1993 Western Conference Finals (yes, the Leafs once played in the West).
However, in the third period of that game Leafs coach Pat Burns didn't like that the Kings were gooning it up and going after his best players. His response at the 2:33 mark is great, as he storms down his bench at the old Maple Leaf gardens and attempts to go after Kings coach Barry "The Mullet" Melrose.
Burns needs to be restrained by some arena staff members as he literally wants to fight Melrose.
The only clip I could find off this incident is a full game review, so once again, you'll have to fast forward to the 2:33 mark to see the confrontation.
2. Herb Brooks vs. Jacques Demers
During the 1987-88 season, the Minnesota North Stars and the Detroit Red Wings got into a brawl and coaches Herb Brooks and Jacques Demers were right in the middle of it.
The video speaks for itself, but this is clearly one of those instances that I referred to in my introduction where the glass between the two benches isn't enough to stop coaches from going at each other and the players have to intervene.
In case you're wondering, by the way, that's Don Cherry doing the narrative in one of his classic "Rock Em, Sock Em" videos.
1. Wichita vs. Tulsa: Minor League Coaches Actually Fight!
I'm aware that these aren't NHL coaches, but this fight can't be ignored regardless of what league it is.
Wichita's Bryan Wells and Tulsa's Rick Seiling literally duke it out with their fists in a 1997 game that turned into an ugly affair that involved a bench-clearing brawl.
If you don't want to hear Motley Crue blasting in the background as you watch, turn down the volume and go to the 1:10 mark to see the two coaches walk towards each other and start throwing the knuckles. This truly is crazy and very deserving of the No. 1 spot on this list!
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