There have been a few articles published recently about the drastic increase in fighting this preseason. Any time those are written during the preseason, it’s premature. The literal fight for roster spots happens early, and tails off as players are sent to minor league or junior teams and NHL rosters solidify. With only two NHL vs NHL preseason games left (the rest are NHL vs European teams), it’s unlikely there will be many more gloves on the ice and the numbers will only look like a slight bump up from last season. No one at this site would have complained if there were some dramatic increase, but that’s just not the case.
Western Canadian scraps
On that note, there was only one game with a fight (or two) last night, the Canucks at Oilers. Unfortunately I missed the first, although I’m sure video will turn up, but the second scrap, between Jannik Hansen and Gilbert Brule was a good one, and definitely left an impression on anyone who watched it. Something along the lines of “who knew they could throw like that?”
The Globe and Mail has a piece about the NHL looking to call the instigator penalty more.
Officials were told that the instigator has been overlooked too often.
“It’s not new,” Gregson said in a recent interview. “We’re not changing the wording and we’re not trying to make every fight an instigator call.
“But if a player travels (to start a fight), you have to ask ‘did someone clearly instigate?’ And if so, apply the rule.”
The extra two minutes for instigating was designed to discourage fighting, which dipped after the 2004-05 lockout season but has come back in force in recent campaigns.
No need to make a reaction until we’re a few months into the season and we see what’s actually being called at that point. Until then, it’s just a nice quote for a league official to give to the press.
For those who regularly browse the player and team pages here, you’ll notice the year-by-year listings on each page have flipped to show the most recent years first. This was done for a few reasons. The archives have always displayed them that way, and from feedback, it was easily the preferred listing. Now they’re all consistent. Also, team listings were getting quite long as we add older seasons, and now only the last 10 seasons are shown on team pages, splitting the full list onto its own page.
Still time for giveaway
There’s still time to enter the NHL 10 giveaway.
Jannik Hansen vs Gilbert Brule Sep 27, 2009
Kim Clackson vs Stan Jonathan Jan 27, 1980
Kim Clackson vs Stan Jonathan Jan 27, 1980
Jared Boll vs Shawn Thornton Sep 26, 2009
Michael Blunden vs Chuck Kobasew Sep 26, 2009
Flames enforcer can’t wait to ‘get ‘em’
Leblond trying to remain optimistic
Thornton has been a nice fit
Rangers coach John Tortorella says lay off new Blueshirt Donald Brashear
Admirals, Lightning mix it up
Brandon Sugden and Donald Brashear dropped the gloves twice in Madison Square Garden last night. It was Sugden’s first, and possibly only game for the Capitals. Sugden signed with Washington affiliate Hershey in August.
The first fight was quick, leaving the fans wanting more - and more is exactly what they got. The second bout was a long one. Sugden started off strong, but Brash was able to gain control, ending the fight strong with a mix of grappling and punches in a mess of jerseys.
Brashear skated off to cheers, the loudest he’s received at MSG so far. His hit on Blair Betts is close to being forgiven.
With articles out of Phoenix like Gretzky: End of an error, you know the locals were only interested in keeping the team, not the coach. With his massive contract, no possible owner was interested in keeping him around either. Wayne Gretzky‘s resignation was, in a word, appropriate.
I had some fun looking at the photos used with the articles on the major US and Canadian sports sites.
Ryan Carter vs Rick Rypien Sep 24, 2009
Francis Menard vs Dean Pawlaczyk Sep 24, 2009
Guillaume Lefebvre vs Greg Stewart Sep 24, 2009
Brandon Sugden vs Donald Brashear Sep 24, 2009
Brandon Sugden vs Donald Brashear Sep 24, 2009
Steve Montador vs Taylor Pyatt Feb 11, 2006
Gordie Dwyer vs Scott Walker Feb 26, 2000
Ed Hospodar vs Jack McIlhargey Mar 21, 1981
NHL 10 was released last week to great fanfare and amazing reviews.
For those of you who haven't actually bought the game yet, we're going to do a giveaway.
First, a little something about the game if you haven't checked it out yet. You're on this site, so here are some of the new features that you gotta like:
* Battle on the Boards - A new board play physics engine lets you shield the puck with your body along the boards, kick-pass it to teammates, or pin an opponent, adding a new level of realism to cycling the puck and the dump and chase. AI teammates will support the puck and help you win the battle as fans bang on the glass.
* Intimidation Tactics - Fore-check defenders, pressure the puck and finish checks to force your opponent into mistakes. Players fatigue, bobble passes, and avoid collisions under threat of physical pressure. Face wash a superstar to provoke the opposition, instigate a scrum and ignite the crowd.
* Post-Whistle Action - Now, the game never stops! Antagonize opposing players, finish checks, retaliate for late shots on goal, draw penalties and pick fights-all after the referee blows the whistle!
* New 1st Person Fighting Engine - Change the momentum of a game by trading blows with an NHL enforcer with all-new first-person fighting. Grab and tug an opponent's jersey to land a big punch.
* Be a Tough Guy-Play as your team's tough guy. It is your job to protect your superstars, fight when needed, and finish all checks. The enhanced Be a Pro mode also includes a prospects game before heading to the draft and watching your name appear on the NHL draft board.
Don't want to read? No problem, here's a vid of Zack Stortini talking about how he views some of the new fighting features of NHL 10:
How to enter? Simple: make a post in the forum thread about the giveaway or become a fan of hockeyfights.com on Facebook. That's it. And yes, you can do both. Already a fan of hockeyfights.com on Facebook? You're already entered.
Don't want to wait? Buy the game now for PS3 or Xbox 360
The Maple Leafs and Islanders sit atop of the fighting majors leaders list this preseason. The Leafs still have players fighting for roster spots and are embracing the Brian Burke way of hockey. The Isles will have players fighting for roster spots all season long and have a handful of players looking to make sure they get some games in with the big club during the regular season.
While it wasn’t the fight of the night, the clip of Paul Bissonnette and Francois Beauchemin‘s fight is one to put your eyes on. First, Jay McKee sets this up with a suicide pass to Tim Wallace. Ignoring the misnomer of “suicide pass”, Beauchemin takes advantage of the situation and levels Wallace. Biz steps up for his teammate and drops the gloves with a willing Beauchemin. Beauchemin is one of those players who doesn’t fight often, but is very strong (hey, Pierre McGuire got that right), and can definitely hold his own. It’s real quick in the clip, but good on Biz for good sportsmanship. Right after they drop the gloves Bissonnette points to the ice, making sure Beauchemin knew where his stick and glove were, and not to trip over them.
Kip Brennan still with Oilers
Kip Brennan hasn’t been able to find a fighting opponent yet, but his overall play has been strong enough to keep him in Oilers camp. The Oilers have posted this interview with Kip, asking him about any frustrations over not finding a fight, how he prepares and how thinks the preseason is going. Pat Quinn‘s comments about Kip are at the end.
Exelby’s world travels an excellent adventure
Ducks’ Erik Christensen gets pushed around—and it’s all good
New regime promises up-tempo game for Wild
My comfort with fighting shattered by bloody preseason bout
Regina homecoming for Tampa Bay Lightning and former Pats left-winger Todd Fedoruk
Preseasons always start out strong. With lots of guys looking for a moment to stand out. Wild checks are thrown, gloves are dropped and the occassional arcade-style move to score is attempted.
So it’s no surprise that fighting numbers are high, but averaging almost two fights per game is still busier than the norm.
Last night was no exception with most games having multiple fights.
The picture above, taken by PJ Swenson of Sharkspage, is of the Vernon Fiddler fighting Nick Petrecki. That started right after Shaun Heshka and Brad Staubitz started going at it. I’m unsure if there will be video of it. Which brings me to…
I’m still answering a lot of emails: why isn’t there video of every fight? Well, because there’s just not. Some games aren’t broadcast, and they’re definitely not all broadcast in my area. I’m posting everything I can as I get it. Some friends are being great and helping by sending things over and I’ll post those as I get them.
Despite that, we are flowing with videos, so I have a layout change coming to make it easier to keep up with it all.
For those that haven’t heard: after getting rocked by Dion Phaneuf Thursday night, Kyle Okposo has a mild concussion. He said he won’t rush coming back, and I hope he sticks to that. Pascal Morency has been suspended indefinitely by the league for his “premature line change”.
Garth Murray vs Tim Jackman Sep 19, 2009
Ryan O’Byrne vs Shean Donovan Sep 19, 2009
Eric Neilson vs Matt Carkner Sep 19, 2009
Dane Byers vs Steve Begin Sep 19, 2009
Aaron Voros vs Drew Fata Sep 19, 2009
Just two games into the preseason and the Leafs are near the top of the fighting major leaderboard. The Brian Burke way will be followed in Toronto, and win or lose this team looks like it has a different attitude than last season.
Islanders and Flames ignite
The New York Islanders' preseason was supposed to be about the debut of John Tavares. Continuing their western Canada tour, Tavares was given the night off against Calgary. Kyle Okposo, another potential Islanders star, was in the lineup. In the second period Okposo was crushed by hit from Dion Phaneuf. He was wheeled off on a stretcher. While he was moving his hands and talking, the scare of losing one young talent after just gaining another will stick in the team's memory. At least until this weekend:
Several Islanders were upset that after hitting Okposo, Phaneuf refused to engage them.
"I don't know he's going to put a guy on the stretcher like that and not step up to the challenge," Blake Comeau said.
"From my point of view, it looks like he left his feet when he went to hit him," Biron said, "and did it in a way that the league is trying to prevent."
Biron added, "We have a long memory, and we'll see them Saturday in Saskatoon. If you're going to play that way, you have to respond when challenged."
Pascal Morency jumped off the bench a little early (as a couple of Islanders were skating towards the bench for a change) and immediately went after Phaneuf. Morency never got his fight, but did pick up a double roughing and game misconduct for his troubles. From the one shot in the video, it appears the Islander players may have turned around and joined in the scrums that were forming. Why is this important? Any player who leaves the bench to fight receives a 10-game misconduct and a fine. Morency clearly wanted to fight, but with the line change coming and the fight never happening, it's unclear if the NHL will apply the rule in this situation.
The Islanders didn't have Joel Rechlicz or Jeremy Reich in the lineup against the Flames. It'll be interesting to see if they play in the rematch. It's unlikely both players will see the Islanders opening day roster. Rechlicz is a big, young heavy who knows his role. Reich, while smaller, has experience and a more rounded game - he's also played for Isles head coach Scott Gordon in Providence.
The Flames won the game 5-4 in a shootout. The lone shootout goal came from Theo Fleury as he continues his comeback attempt. Best of luck to him with his return. NHL comeback or not, it's great to hear about him cleaning up his off-ice life.
The OHL and WHL both started their regular seasons. With the QMJHL already playing for a week, all three major Canadian junior leagues have now started. We'll have great coverage of all three this season, be sure to keep up.
Preseason videos and HD
I've received quite a few emails about why some videos are posted and others aren't. There's no national (US or Canada) package for all preseason games and most aren't televised. I'll post what I can get each night and wait for additional footage to come in from friends. Unfortunately, it does mean that there won't be footage of everything.
You may have noticed a good number of videos in HD already. It takes a bit longer, but worth the effort in my opinion, and I hope to post as much in HD as possible.
Nathan McIver vs Matt McCue Sep 17, 2009
Tanner Glass vs James Wisniewski Sep 17, 2009
Matt Martin vs Mark Giordano Sep 17, 2009
Micheal Haley vs Jason Jaffray Sep 17, 2009
Micheal Haley vs Olli Jokinen Sep 17, 2009
Grant McGee vs Chris Wiggin Sep 17, 2009
Mike Halmo vs Stephen Gaskin Sep 17, 2009
Tyler J. Brown vs Ryan Baldwin Sep 17, 2009
Logan Stephenson vs Ben Ondrus Sep 17, 2009
Riley Cote vs Jay Rosehill Sep 17, 2009
Daniel Carcillo vs Luke Schenn Sep 17, 2009
Ole-Kristian Tollefsen vs Ben Ondrus Sep 17, 2009
Wild enforcer Boogaard looking to get offensive
Tampa Bay Lightning rookie defenseman Victor Hedman shines in preseason opener
Islanders tee up more than slap shots
Steve Downie, in better shape and with a new attitude, gets early camp reward
Flyers captain Richards becoming wiser than his years
On and off the ice, Caps' Laich handles it all
With a drop of the puck (and some gloves later on), the 2009-10 NHL preseason is underway.
The sparks started flying in the second period. Part in-game incident, part look-at-me and part remember-me, there were three fights in the middle frame, four fights in total.
Jeremy Reich and Rick Rypien each fought twice, including once versus each other, easily the fight of the night. Both players are looking for some attention. Reich last played in the NHL for the Boston Bruins in 2007-08. Rypien has had an injury-plagued career and is just looking to prove he can play the tough style of game expected of him. Neither player is a heavyweight, but both are game on any night.
The game ended with the Canucks on top, 2-1.
Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond wants own identity with NJ Devils
Latendresse, Laraque and Gill look to compensate for Habs’ lack of size
Bulked-up Leafs ready to rumble
Flyers Training Camp Opens to Record Attendance
Hot-to-trot Colts head into new campaign without true enforcer
Brashear Showing No Remorse for Hit on Betts
Days of Flying Frenchmen are history
The first hint of 2009-10 NHL hockey is here in the form of rookie tournaments.
Both Kitchener and Traverse City tournaments started up today. Like the NHL preseason, some players are literally fighting for their jobs, or to show they’ll do anything for their team.
The Toronto vs Pittsburgh bouts are posted right after the jump.
To be fair: Berry and Miller are NCAA players. Berry played at UMass Amherst, Miller with Michigan. Berry was second on his team in PIMs last season and spent 8 games with the Marlies where he got into his first and only pro fight. Miller was fourth on his team in PIMs and only played in one AHL game last season. However, he did play in the USHL before university where he did pick up some fighting experience.
Last season we were able to log the Traverse City and Camrose tourneys. We have this season’s Traverse tourney log here. If complete information is available about Kitchener or any of this year’s tournaments, we’ll log those as well.