Fireworks From Russia
Although Jon Mirasty has played in 19 games this season for the KHL's Vityaz Chekhov, he’s remained relatively quiet, not recording a single fighting major until today. Mirasty’s been overshadowed this season by the antics of his Vityaz teammates Jeremy Yablonski and Kip Brennan. However, a showdown Wednesday evening in Russia against what’s arguably the KHL’s second-toughest team: Barys Astana, had potential for major fireworks. Former NHLer Josh Gratton was in the lineup for Barys.
Gratton, like Mirasty, is known for his exciting, action-packed fights. They’ve met up with the gloves off one time before: during the NHL preseason in 2008. In that fight, Mirasty took a decision in an exciting slugfest.
The two did not disappoint today either. In the first period, Mirasty and Gratton faced off for two rounds of classic, toe-to-toe, bare knuckle boxing. Mirasty will most likely get the nod for a decision in both fights, leaving Gratton’s face a mess after their second tilt. The pair skated off the ice to thunderous applause from the Vityaz fans, starving from a lack of willing opponents for their favorite players all season.
Vityaz, unsurprising to anyone, now leads the KHL with 22 fighting majors on the year. Barys is a distant second, having accumulated 7 majors. The two teams don’t match up again until their final game of the season, February 26. Knowing the eagerness of both players, a fourth showdown between the two appears likely, given both will be in the lineup.