Few things in hockey bring fans out of their seats like a good old-fashioned fight. While the days of the Broadstreet Bullies may be long gone, there are still a high number of quality bouts that take place every year.
Teams really don't employ a player whose only job is to go out and fight—even Matt Cooke is good for something (that really pained me to type). A lot of guys around the NHL are outstanding fighters, however.
Since 2000, there have been a lot of memorable fights on the ice. While they may not be '70s-style, bench-clearing brawls, they are still plenty entertaining. Here's some of the best.
Zdeno Chara may not always fight, but when he does, the opponents tend to come out on the other end requiring facial reconstruction. Or at least stitches in the double digits. Here is a prime example of why you've got to be insane to fight this man.
There's no blood here. No knockout. Just two guys going at it for almost a minute with some big right hands.
Both Tanner Glass and Brandon Prust are middleweight fighters, and they put on a decent showing here.
As Darren Pang would say: "Holy jumpin'!"
Dan Carcillo and Derek Dorsett aren't the biggest of fighters, but they put on quite the main event here. The fight goes for at least a minute, and neither of these combatants run out of gas and stop throwing punches.
Talk about taking one to give one.
Krys Barch and Brad May don't do a whole lot of bobbing and weaving here. It's a shooting gallery.
It has been a few slides since we saw some blood drawn, so here we go.
Fights don't get much better than this. Two heavyweights from teams that really don't like each other whaling away.
They are both dead tired at the end of this one, and with good reason.
Tie Domi shows why he was one of the game's toughest players by throwing the gloves (again) with Donald Brashear.
These two combatants were very familiar with each other, but that doesn't mean they started to back off of one another. The punches are coming so fast that the video seems to be in a slight fast-forward mode at points.
Shawn Thornton and Riley Cote are two of the toughest players in recent memory, and they show why with this bout from 2007.
Another toe-to-toe, take-one-to-throw-one bout, Cote eats a solid 30 punches before finally tuckering out.
This is the definition of lights out.
Aaron Downey ducks a punch from Jesse Boulerice (who is no newcomer to hockey fights) and connects with a massive left hook.
Right on the money.
No reason not to slip this one in here. Arguably one of the best fights of the last eleven years, P.J. Stock and Stephen Peat put on a gnarly showing of all things beast-mode in this bout from 2002.
It'd be easy to view this as a commemorative slide, but it is far from it. Derek Boogaard threw some of the hardest, most devastating punches in the history of the game.
If you believe that to be debatable, then you can ask Todd Fedoruk. He'll be answering through five metal plates that currently hold his face together. Also worthy of note is the titanium mesh that also holds his eye in place.
I don't want this to be a collection of one-hit knockouts. But I can't leave my favorite fight clip of all-time off of a list about fighting.
Matt Cooke is kind of a cheap shot artist-jerk, and Evander Kane is kind of the son of a boxer. You can either do the math or watch the clip...over and over again.
Round and round they go. Usually these kind of spinning shakefests tend to not result in a particularly good fight.
Jody Shelly and Wade Belak put on a great show here—two outstanding fighters giving it their all. This also isn't a commemorative slide for one Mr. Belak. The guy could flat out throw 'em.
I like the quick, concise fights as much as the next hockey fan. The battles if you will. But my heart goes out to the guys that are willing to go to war.
Colton Orr and George Parros go to war in this clip from 2009. And I love every minute of it.
Derek Boogaard was one of the most feared fighters on the planet for the better part of the decade, but D.J. King had his moment on the NHL tough guys list—and for good reason.
King went the distance with Boogaard in this fight from 2010. That is an accomplishment for any fighter since the Boogieman has the tendency to finish his brawls.
Few fighters in the game have been more consistent and punishing than Eric Godard and Donald Brashear.
Sometimes when two main-event fighters square off they are afraid to put their respective reputations on the line. That wasn't the case in Pittsburgh in 2009 when Godard and Brashear punched each other senseless for the better part of a minute.
This is a quick, fierce fight between the old-school Brad May and the new-school Rick Rypien.
As I mentioned on slides for both Wade Belak and Derek Boogaard, this mention of Rypien isn't a tribute. This is a hell of a fight between two guys at the beginning of a game between two western (conference) superpowers.
Brian McGrattan is one of the more underrated fighters in the NHL (AHL as well). While guys like George Parros have gained fame for being steady performers (and having a great mustache). McGrattan has bounced around in the league, playing in both the NHL and AHL.
The two have a pretty ferocious throwdown, and it's just the kind of fight I enjoy.
Few players have the goonish track record of Chris Neil. On the flip-side of the coin, Zenon Konopka has been one of the league's leading fighters for the last year or two.
Neil holds his own, I guess—at least he doesn't turtle. Konopka dishes it out here, at least until Neil decides to get a swing or two in using the helmet as a kind of weapon.
Jarkko Ruutu doesn't have the reputation for being a guy who backs up his obnoxious (dirty) play with his fists. He does during this scrap with Darcy Tucker.
Tucker is a guy who has been through his fair share of fights, and Ruutu holds his own here.
This is a fight that we could see plenty of rematches of: P.K. Subban vs. Brad Marchand.
The two squads they play for flat out do not like each other, and there seems to be little love lost between these two combatants. Good go, and I am looking forward to Round 2.
Rick DiPietro takes a shot at Matt Cooke towards the end of a game, and the goalie across the ice takes exception to the move.
DiPietro may be the most fragile NHL player in the game today, and Brent Johnson polishes him off with one quick punch. DiPietro, never one to miss the chance to get hurt, would miss time due to concussion-like symptoms.
I don't think there is more a hockey fan could ask for from two fighters.
Jim Vandermeer and Aaron Downie absolutely refuse to give quarter in this bout from 2005. One of the best fights since the lockout, bar none.
I know this is technically a list of NHL fights, but this scrap from the AHL is just too good to pass on. Press play and enjoy.
This is my sentimental pick for this slideshow. Stu Grimson is probably my favorite fighter from this particular era, and he just drops Reed Simpson in this clip.
Oddly enough—and this is why I love the Grim Reaper—Grimson is one of the nicest guys you could ever hope to meet off of the ice.
I wanted to include one bench-clearing brawl. Most of the time these types of affairs are more like a professional wrestling match—everyone running from the back, a lot of excitement for a second or two and then just a bunch of clutching and grabbing.
That isn't the case with this gang fight between the Philadelphia Flyers and the Ottawa Senators.
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