25 Greatest Seasons Ever
An oldie but a goodie... The 25 greatest seasons any fighter has ever had in the NHL. Outside of a few people like Bob Gassoff, a list like this should be fairly complete because older fighters didn't fight enough in any given season to compete with modern guys.
What I was looking for here is the scariest seasons of all time, where the rest of the NHL only watched in fear as the destruction piled up. These were the qualities in a season I looked for most (in order): Destructiveness and "statement" wins, fear factor generated from that year's fights only, a few solid wins over quality opponents, low percentage of losses, quantity of fights, low percentage of draws. Drawbacks include losses (especially big ones), no marquee names, too few fights or games played. A loss followed by a bigger revenge win pretty much counted only positively.
Ultimately, there are so many great seasons to choose from and its very interesting when great fighters are allowed to now have multiple entries in the top 25. Of course, it is a bit subjective, and I have obviously not seen every year of every fighter.
Since making this post in Summer of 2005, the following seasons have been supplanted by better ones and so I'll knock them into honorable mention status here first:
HM1 1983-84 Glen Cochrane (PHI) 13 fights
Highlights:Cochrane hits his prime with a big TKO win over Ron Delorme, a solid win over Bobby Nystrom, a nice win against Dean Kennedy and an undefeated season (save a Jimmy Mann fight I haven’t seen)
HM2 2000-01 Georges Laraque (EDM) 16 fights
Highlights: Georges was the King this year as he TKOd Vandenbussche and Bryan Marchment, and defeated solid heavys such as McCarthy, Low, and Fedoruk, while only taking one close loss to Wade Belak
Top 25 Seasons for a Fighter All Time
25) 1983-84 Glen Cochrane (PHI) 13 fights
Highlights: Cochrane hits his prime with a big TKO win over Ron Delorme, a solid win over Bobby Nystrom, a nice win against Dean Kennedy and an undefeated season (save a Jimmy Mann fight I haven’t seen)
25) 1994-95 Sandy McCarthy (CLG) 19 fights (1 in post-season)
Highlights: Continued 2nd year dominance with TKOs of Churla and Russell, along with big wins over Alan May and Debrusk. Only sustained one slight loss to Domi.
24) 1986-87 Dave Brown (PHI) 22 fights (4 in post-season)
Highlights: In the fights I saw, an incredible 16-1-3 record with big wins over Carkner, Nilan, Miller, and of course 3x vs. the starry-eyed, overmatched rookie—Jay Caufield
Lowlights: Only one loss and it was a nice win for Jay Miller
23) 2003-04 Eric Cairns (NYI) 19 fights
Highlights: Cairns’ most destructive year, which included breaking Fedoruk’s face, ending Richard Scott’s career with a KO win, giving Cowan a concussion and forcing Purinton to hide in fear of retribution. He also stunned Peat and Downey in good wins.
Lowlights: Being decisioned by the inexperienced Andrew Peters and getting knocked woozy by a fiercely debated right hand from Dale Purinton.
22) 1984-85 Dave Richter (MIN) 12 fights (1 in post-season)
Highlights: Richter reaches his prime with an undefeated campaign of domination, including beatings of John Anderson (TKO), Brubaker, Dupont and O’Reilly. He also bloodied Kocur in a controversial win.
21) 1977-78 Stan Jonathan (BOS) 16 fights (4 in post-season)
Highlights: Although he had several nice wins in his first full year (i.e., Bert Wilson), he is most remembered for two brutal KOs this year: one of John Hilworth and another symbolic KO of Pierre Bouchard in the playoffs
Lowlights: He did drop two decisions to Kurt Walker and Danny Gare
20) 1995-96 Chris Simon (COL) 13 fights (1 in post-season)
Highlights: The monumental beating of Probert in the post-season, TKOing Zmolek and Buchberger, and winning a good 3 fight series with Domi.
Lowlights: Getting caught and knocked down by McCarthy after a toe-to-toe war.
19) 2001-02 Don. Brashear (VAN/PHI) 17 fights
Highlights: This undefeated year is capped with a TKO of Peat, big wins over Probert and Domi, bloodying Belak and Pushor, and making a statement win over Sandy McCarthy.
Lowlights: Still some hugging, but not as much as in other years.
18) 2005-06 Georges Laraque (EDM) 11 fights (2 in post-season)
Highlights: George distinguished himself from the pack this year with most dominating season ever. He began in pre-season, TKOing and breaking the face of Brantt Mhyres. In the season, he slay monster Derek Boogaard, going 2-0-1 in a three fight series with a TKO. Elsewhere he thoroughly demolished top competitors Todd Fedoruk, Chris Simon, and Darcy Hordichuk. Compiled an unblemished 7-0-4 record but, although he was champion, he amazingly does not have the top spot on this list from the 2005-06 season!
Lowlights: Some would have liked to have seen him fight a bit more, while others wished he didn't celebrate after a win against Fedoruk in the playoffs.
17) 1995-96 Sandy McCarthy (CLG) 15 fights
Highlights: Knocked down Stu Grimson and Chris Simon to distinguish himself from his competitors. He scared Donald Brashear half to death and had him running away in fear. Also scored nice wins over Churla and Ewen while continuing his great epic series with McKenzie.
Lowlights: McSorley out-lasted him for a decision in pre-season.
16) 1986-87 Joey Kocur (DET) 38 fights (8 in post-season)
Highlights: A consistently good year in which fighters were very leery of his KO power. He TKOd Nylund, Curran and Jeff Jackson to bolster an impressive 19-3 win/loss record in my books.
Lowlights: Edged out by McSorley, Cochrane, and Fraser
15) 2005-06 Derek Boogaard (MIN) 16 fights
Highlights: After an improbable rise to the NHL, Boogaard made the most of his rookie season by sending a Crowderian shockwave through the league. He TKOd a record six fighters and his victims included: Kip Brennan, Wade Brookbank, Trevor Gillies (who succumbed to a monsterous KO uppercut), fellow rookie Brian McGrattan, Matt Spiller, and Jim Vandermeer (with a devastating beating).
Lowlights: While he was thoroughly ravishing the NHL, he could not yet solve the elite fighters. Laraque defeated him in a 3 fight series including one knock down, Brashear beat him easily, and even veteran Chris Simon was able to score a decision vs. him.
14) 1993-94 Sandy McCarthy (CLG) 19 fights
Highlights: The incredible rookie campaign in which he TKOd Thompson and scored solid wins over Domi, Huard, Debrusk, Baumgartner, and McKenzie among others. He capped it off with the career-defining win over Probert. All of this without sustaining a significant loss (edged out by Debrusk in pre-season and Peluso in a silly fight).
13) 1990-91 Dave Brown (EDM) 12 fights (2 in post-season)
Highlights: The first of several downright scary years from Brown. In this campaign he beat Jim Kyte senseless, TKOd a young Jim McKenzie, beat a young Tie Domi easily, and decisioned Gino Odjick in a 5 fight series
Lowlights: Bob Probert proved himself the all-time champ with a TKO win while Cronin dropped him in pre-season
12) 1996-97 Stu Grimson (HAR) 24 fights
Highlights: This is where the Grim Reaper was his scariest. Chief among his accomplishments were the brutal beating of Shane Churla, re breaking his face, the rare TKO of Langdon, and the beating of Vandenbussche.
Lowlights: As usual, he did suffer some losses: most notably to Dan Kordic, Craig Berube and Lyle Odelein.
11) 1980-81 Larry Playfair (BUF) 9 fights (1 in post-season)
Highlights: Playfair cements his fearful legend with the landmark TKO of Dave Semenko. He also scored wins over Wensink and a prime Secord while TKOing Steve Christoff in the playoffs and pounding Barry Melrose.
10) 1978-79 Nick Fotiu (NYR) 8 fights
Highlights: The year his impact was felt the most. He went undefeated, including 5-0-0 vs. the mighty Flyers. He beat on Jim Cunningham three times in a preseason game (and went unchallenged by rookie Glen Cochrane among others). During the season he beat down Paul Holmgren and decisioned Behn Wilson in one of the most famous fights of all time.
9) 1990-91 Troy Crowder (NJ) 16 fights
Highlights: Putting the fear of man into the NHL for 4 solid months. He began the year bloodying Probert, KOing Jeff Chychrun, TKOing Jeff Horacek, TKOing and nearly knocking the head off Craig Coxe, and TKOing Jeff Horacek again
Lowlights: Being TKOd by Probert in the hyped up rematch and also being TKOd by Darin Kimble in the same week
8) 1994-95 Chris Simon (QBC) 10 fights
Highlights: His 2nd year was as scary as any run this side of Twist and Crowder. He murdered people practically every fight, scoring 5 decisive TKOs/KDs (Vial, Jennings, Hankinson, Leroux, Odelein), while also bloodying Brown, beating the daylights out of Phil Crowe and beating on Leroux once again.
Lowlights: Being bloodied by Leroux. This was thoroughly avenged…twice! Otherwise, since he was young and this was the strike year, he played in a comparatively small number of games.
7) 1988-89 Joey Kocur (DET) 27 fights
Highlights: Kocur’s two most famous moments came during this fine season: KOing Jim Kyte into never-neverland and breaking Brad Dalgarno’s face badly. Also along the way he bloodied Van Dorp, TKOd Manson and compiled an impressive 14-2 record (some missing)
Lowlights: Being edged out by Brian Curran in a fight and being TKOd by Herb Raglan of all people.
6) 1973-74 Dave Schultz (PHI) 30 fights (9 in post-season)
Highlights: Came into form as THE #1 goon in the league to watch your back over. His full-scale antics and crazed reputation carried Philly to their first ever league championship. Although he may have been feared for jumping, hair-pulling and sucker-punching, he also had some legitimate fighting skills, demonstrated by delivering beatings to the likes of Wayne Cashman and Bryan Hextall, slugging it out with Terry O’Reilly in two great playoff fights, TKOing McDonald, and viciously KOing John Van Boxmeer. This is also the year he beat the living crap out of Dale Rolfe in the playoffs
Lowlights: The big loss to Larry Robinson.
5) 1980-81 Behn Wilson (PHI) 11 fights
Highlights: This undefeated year saw him beat on Gillies like no one else ever did. He also sent O’Reilly flying through the air in two great slugfest wins. Also in this perfect season he edged out Curt Fraser in a great battle.
4) 1995-96 Tony Twist (STL) 14 fights
Highlights: His last 2 fights aside, his run this year was sick. Every fight was a beat down, from the mauling of Ray’s face, breaking Janssen’s cheek, to overpowering and beating down Stojanov, McKenzie, Peluso, Antoski, Chase, etc. He also decisioned Probert in a weak fight.
Lowlights: A TKO loss to Bill Huard and a debated loss to Leroux keep this from being the best season (to go along with the most destructive which it must be considered).
3) 1987-88 Bob Probert (DET) 27 fights (3 in post-season)
Highlights: The incredible 3rd year in which there was no way to deal with him. Coke or not, Probie was unstoppable, mowing over the likes of Clark, Fraser, Tinordi, Petit, Semenko, Cochrane, Curran and Stanley with destructive ease.
Lowlights: Sustained an unfair loss to Semenko when he was jumped, though he avenged it mightily with a TKO win. Had a disappointing bout with Brown where Brown was the more active fighter.
2) 1990-91 Bob Probert (DET) 17 fights
Highlights: Besides the Crowder series, I have him winning every single fight. No being edged out, no draws. Just wins. The capstone of this season was the momentous revenge TKO of Crowder and the big TKO of Brown after being jumped. In between he beat up Kimble, TKOd McGill, beat Churla and decisioned Grimson and Miller.
Lowlights: His 2nd fight being bloodied by Troy Crowder. This would only add to his legend, though, when the re-match finally came though.
1) 1989-90 Dave Brown (EDM) 15 fights
Highlights: Totally destructive this year with the brutal Cam Russell KO, avenging a slight loss by beating Grimson and breaking his jaw, slaughtering Miller and Jeff Parker, TKOing Darin Kimble, and viciously TKOing Shawn Cronin. Pure destruction the likes of which can only be matched by a select few.
That's the best post I've read in a long, long time. Excellent work. I can't really debate or add to anything you've already mentioned but I would like to know what fighters and the season that didn't quite make your cut. Seriously, this thread is so good people should stop PMing you when their dog(s) farts.
Very good list.You did an awesome job Merlin!!!Off the top of my head i can't really argue with any of them except for maybe bumping Kocur's 7th place season up to maybe #4.Great job!!
What about Paul Laus and his 39 fight season?
I wasn't heavy into the NHL then, but I know that is the most fights anyone has ever had in the NHL.
Is this a case of quantity over quality?
Anyway, awesome post!
Hey Merlin, outstanding topic, & a great job. That must have taken quite some time. I would disagree with Brashear's 97-98 season not being in the top 5. I don't have the facts in front of me, but I believe he led the league in majors & led the league with 372 pims. He fought everyone & did some bigtime damage.
Also, I think that having McCarthy ranked as #24 with 19 majors doesn't make sense, considering you have Behn Wilson at #5 when he only had 11 fights or Nick Fotiu at #10 when he only had 8 fights! How does that compare?
Troy Crowder @ #5? Yes, he had a great run, but besides the KO of Chychrun, he KO'd a bunch of middle of the road guys, Horacek 2x, a washed up Coxe, & he lost bigtime to Kimble, Probert & wasn't able to beat Berube. All I'm saying is I think his run is way too high, considering the win over Probert was way overblown, (he cut Probert when the linsemen came in) & he didn't beat top guys.
Can't believe you don't have Domi's 90-91 run & as mentioned, no Laus for a 39 fight season. Didn't Twist also lose to Leroux in 95-96 season?
I think Grimson's #12 with 24 fights should be right at the top of the list. Again, why would Wilson or especially Fotiu rank so high with half or 1/3 the fights, especially against much lesser opponents?
But overall an outstanding job, & a great topic to debate.
Wow, nice effort. That's a great topic and will get people thinking hard about their replies. The only thing I might harp about is your criteria for #of fights- shouldn't that eliminate Fotiu's 8 fight year? That just doesn't seem enough to be a force in one season.
Damn, I don't know how, but I was just going to post almost the same exact thing Merlin did, except mine already had all the corrections everyone was suggesting in it making mine more right. :)
Seriously, great job Merlin, do you ever go to work? :)
You're always good for an outstanding post Merlin, great job as always. Anyways, I like your list a lot, and there is solid arguments to keep everyone where they are. Excellent use of competition, quantity, destruction and landmarks as factors. I half expected to see Twist at #2 or #3, based on fear and destruction factors, but in reality I agree with your decision due to the fact that I think Probie and Brown proved more in these years, each avenging and destroying in bouts against other debated number 1s for that season. Anyways your work speaks for itself, you are as valuable contributor as there is at HF, keep up the awesome stuff! :approve:
The Rangers in 1979 had nobody in the fighting department other than Fotiu and yet with him easily handling the Flyers by himself gave the Rangers the courage they had lacked in going into Philly since 1973-74.
Behn Wilson is acknowledged as one of the best of all-time and yet in the playoffs at MSG in front of the Flyers bench, Fotiu got into Wilson's face challenging him and Wilson did nothing.
Unless if you knew and understood the history of the Rangers and Flyers from 1973-74 on, you cannot begin to understand or appreciate the force and confidence that Fotiu instilled in the Rangers and the respect he instilled in the Flyers all by himself.
Remember he had no heavyweight with him to watch his back. He was alone and went into Philly and owned the joint!
That was one of the best posts I've read in a long time. I would just like to add my two cents.
Dave Semenko's 1982-83 season was possibly his most impressive he had 13 fights including pre-season and playoffs and with only one loss to Tim Hunter in the classic playoff fight. Semenko had wins over Playfair, Tim Hunter, Howatt, Wells, Schofield, Holt, and the brutal KO of Bryan Maxwell.
whoa! simply blown away by this awesome post... everything about it was top notch, great job.
I also have some players I would like to add in there, especially Chris Nilan's 1984-85 358 pims where he fought just about everyone including the kitchen sink...
In any event, I am sure there are plenty more to add/change to this listing, but regardless a very much enjoyable read. :D
AWESOME POST!!!! Off the top of my head, probably the "Post of the Year" . . .
Thanks for all the good feedback and critiques guys. I'll try to give my rationale for my choices on all the suggested changes. It would also be cool if someone else tackled this type of top 25 list. I wonder how different it may look. This of course leads to shoebottom's question about season's left off. That will be a tough question to answer, but I'll get to it eventually. Thanks again everyone... alright, where to start...
Beyond that, in those 10 or so fights, those three pretty much had all wins. No losses. No draws, save maybe one fight each. So suppose you compare Grimson with 24 fights to Fotiu with 8 and Wilson with 11. Grimson has maybe 4 losses in there and another, say, 5 or 6 draws. I'm guesstimating there, but I dont see why a season where someone who is 10-0-1 or 7-0-1 can't be ahead of a season where someone is 14-4-6 when both fought and beat some awesome competition. The McCarthy ranking at #24 is mostly due to the fact that he didn't have many stand-out wins or wins over the elite fighters.
And now to the rest of GIANTSFAN's comments. I'll have to get to the rest later--gotta run soon.
Overall, good points... hopefully you (or someone) can dig up Brashear's 97-98 with results. For that matter, if anyone has a season they think I missed, post the fight card with brief results. That would be awesome...
|All times are GMT -4. The time now is 02:01 PM.|
© 2012 hockeyfights.com. All rights reserved.