Fighting and "bush league" antics in professional hockey is seen as a waste of time by most fans. Goon hockey has all but fallen by the wayside. Those who fail to adapt to the new standard of decorum tend to make their way around the league, never really finding a place to call home. Others get buried in the minors.
As a staff writer for Pens Initiative, I do not condone fighting for the sake of a spectacle. If I wanted to watch a fake fight, I'd watch the WWE.
However, when a fight is warranted, ie. when a player or team are at their breaking point emotionally and the refs are "letting the boys play", then a brawl is acceptable. Those instances are few and far between. When they occur, it can be entertaining and, oddly enough, boost a losing teams moral.
To pay a little homage to the old time hockey that was displayed versus the Winnipeg Jets on Wednesday March 8, I have compiled this list of some of the most memorable fights in recent Penguins' history. These are in no particular order of importance and there are even some tussles from yester year thrown in as to really "capture the spirit of the thing".
Feuds with Philly:
We will begin with what is arguably one of the most heated rivalries in the NHL: The Penguins versus the Flyers. A vast majority of Penguins' fights have stemmed from this rivalry. Finding a variety of fight examples for this article alone was difficult because so many are against this one team. It was much easier to pick a few of the best and put them under one, singular category.
Without too much gilding the lily, here are some bouts with the "City of Brotherly Love" that have notched themselves as fan favorites.
April 25, 1989 (Patrick Division Finals, Game 5)
December 11, 2007: Gary Roberts vs. Ben Eager
April 25, 2009: Max Talbot vs. Daniel Carcillo (aka "The Shhh")
April 1, 2012: Line Brawl
(even the coaches were fighting)
April 15, 2012 (seeing a pattern here?):
Sidney Crosby vs. Claude Giroux and Kris Letang vs. Kimo Timonen
That was entertaining wasn't it? Now that our fun with Philadelphia is over we can move on to the rest of the list.
March 26, 1996: Tony Twist vs. Francois Leroux Round 1
(Note: These two men would tussle twice more on November 11, 1996 in the next season)
October 10, 2010: Deryk Engalland knocks out Colton Orr:
March 1, 2000 - A battle of two Penguins: Rick Toccett vs. Gary Roberts:
(Note: At the time, Toccett was playing for the Pheonix Coyotes. Roberts was a member
of the Carolina Hurricanes)
February 11, 2011: Penguins vs. Islanders Line Brawl
(Note: This entire game was a battle royale with 17 fighting majors and nine game misconducts. A second round would ensue a few days later on February 15 after former Islander Trevor Gillies elbows former Penguin Eric Tangradi)
The Epic 1980's
The final three clips all revolve around the Pittsburgh Penguins of the 1980's. They are without a doubt some of the most brutal team fights in Penguins' history.
January 19, 1980: Penguins vs. Oilers
(Note: At the time, this game would set the Civic Arena record for most penalty minutes with 144. Russ Anderson alone would spend 51 minutes in the penalty box. Not only were the players and coaches at each other's throats, the Oilers then turned on the fans.)
February 5, 1987: The Penguins vs. Bruins Bench Clearer:
October 30 1988: Penguins vs. Rangers
(Note: There would be 282 penalty minutes in the third period alone. The brawl occurs as a result of Mario Lemieux being slashed in the throat earlier in the game by David Shaw)
If time were taken, I am sure anyone could find many, many more displays of manhood to add to this list. Two not listed but worth mentioning are the Aaron Asham "Go To Sleep" and the Brent Johnson one punch knock out that was part of the February 2 battle with the New York Islanders.
Fighting doesn't happen as much in the NHL as it used to. Fans may not like them much anymore but when a fight does break out, deep down a fan always hopes that it will be a good one.
Which fights stick out in your memory the most? Which ones would make your personal list? Let us know in the comments! Just keep it above the belt.
Scrappers: Pittsburgh Penguins Most Memorable Fights by @MedinaMarie_PI
1:00:00 PM Boston Bruins , Deryk Engelland , Edmonton Oilers , Francois Leroux , Gary Roberts , Max Talbot , New York Islanders , New York Rangers , Philadelphia Flyers , Pittsburgh Penguins , Rick Tocchet Edit