We’ve got a few more interviews and some actual relevant content coming next week, but it’s Friday when I wrote this and Michael has me draining time watching funny fights on YouTube. Until said content is ready and and unless Nonis figures out soon how to lock down Franson and Kadri with less than $6 million in cap space, two-parters about odd Leafs fights is going to have to do.
I was saying in the comments of
Michael Steven Stephens’ post on his five unlikeliest Leaf fights that these were the type of fights I love and hockey needs. In a second I take watching Kessel grapple (hug?) Kris Russell or Mats Sundin struggle to figure out how that whole punching motion works over watching two enforcers tap each other, nod heads and routinely mush each other’s brains in a scripted bout. I feel a little uncomfortable cheering on/screaming primal battlecries at the latter scenario, but a spontaneous bout borne out of two combatants simply having enough of one another’s shit? That’s something I can enthusiastically get behind, and I would hate to see the game without that outlet.
Nik Hagman vs. Lukas Krajicek
On that note, there is something I really like about a skill player who stands up for himself on the spot after being on the receiving end of a cheap shot. Like when Niklas Hagman sprung up after getting sent sprawling into the net off the rush, mouthed “You F*cker!” and took on an unsuspecting Lukas Krajieck in his one and only career NHL fight:
Mikhail Grabovski vs. Chris Neil
The trait I think every Leafs fan is going to miss, whether you liked or disliked Grabovski’s game, was that batshit decibel of crazy Mickey Grabs was always capable of reaching if pushed over the edge. Once past the point of no return, Grabovski didn’t fight in the classic hockey sense; rather, you could tell he was throwing everything he had, claws and gnawing teeth included, at his adversary. You also got the sense that, when Grabovski saw red, nobody was too big or too tough to fight, much less Chris Neil.
Luke Schenn kind of sucked at fighting, didn’t he?
Lee Stempniak vs. Bruno Gervais
Cliff Fletcher giveth, Cliff Fletcher taketh away.
Sorry to waste your time with this non-contest, but when it comes to the Stempniak era in Toronto, filling space and wasting your time (+ Alex Steen) is kind of fitting. Stempniak fights as poorly as he takes penalty shots.
Aki Berg vs. Eric Lindros
I’ll assume the best here and say Berg didn’t want to risk adding to Lindros’ list of head injuries by never throwing a punch, just like I’ll assume the Leafs never would’ve taken Mike Cammalleri with the 2nd round pick they traded for Berg anyway.
Bryan McCabe vs. Zdeno Chara
Everyone remembers this one. Everything about McCabe’s body language tells us he was thinking “don’t do it Bryan, choose to live,” but it wasn’t enough to override his feeling of obligation to do something about this monstrous prick in front of his net. Even if he was predictably tossed around like a bag of oreos, you have to admire the gumption.
Bonus Fight: Glenn Healy vs. Bob Errey
Like the Sundin fight while he was a Nordique, Healy was not yet a Leaf in this, his one and only recorded hockey fight. But I think in hindsight all Leafs fans can appreciate what Errey was trying to do here.
While still on yesterday’s the subject of pissing off star players on the other team, I look forward to the prospect of the two Davids rattling the opposition next season. While it’s secondary to having a decent team, a pest with the ability to goad Sedin into extracurriculars and get Burrows turfed in one swoop is a quality I look forward to having on the roster.
Saturday morning links…
Only Leaf link today – Connor Brown is #21 in the PPP Top 25 under 25.
Steve Dangle Podcast
Steve and Adam talk about steroid secrets, the KHL, other subjects.
Baseball’s latest woes show NHL is lucky to have Bettman
First time those six words have been uttered by a non-NHL franchise owning person?
Why did the Penguins hire Jacques Martin?
Long time head coach of 1,300 games turns assistant.