Fighting. What is its place in the game of hockey? It's a debate in which the non-hockey die hard interjects their opinion a little too frequently (here's looking at you "main stream media") and one on which the most stubborn hockey purists can be divided. That's not what I wish to talk about today. Fighting has a valuable place in hockey. Deal with it.
The issue, for this brief moment, is my interest in it. From October 1st to about mid-June, my appreciation is approximately zero, particularly where the Dallas Stars are concerned. As a season ticket holder I encounter gobs of casual fans. These fans, when a fight should occur, usually stand up with a kind of giddy zeal, as thought to say "YES. THIS IS WHY I CAME." They scream and cheer with a greedy sort of relish, born of stereotypes, ignorance... whatever. During these times, I remain firmly entrenched with both buttocks touching my seat. I fail to see how any of it has to do with where the next Stars goal is coming from, and how it will help the Stars make the playoffs (My only goal in life between September and April every year.)
But there IS a time to appreciate a good fight, and that time is right around August 30th in the dead of the off-season.
Hockeyfights.com is one of the crown jewels of the NHL blogosphere (and leagues beyond.) These guys, and their members, comb through every fight with painstaking detail, and while most of them consider Steve Ott to be some kind of villain, (a 20 goal scoring villain) their comments are entertaining nontheless.
The complete list of Dallas Stars fights can be found here. What follows are my own personal favorites, sprinkled with input from other DBD writers. The criteria is simply entertainment value and preferably an outcome that favors the good guys. 5 was too nice a number. I had to go with 6...
#6. Jamie Benn vs Johnson
This one is as much a win for the Stars as it is for their production truck. Jamie Benn sticks out a couple of tough blows from Johnson, only to come back HARD and land the deciding punch of his own, and then on top of that the crew is right on the money with the instantaneous Ott reaction shot. Well done, guys, and love the Ralph and Razor homer call as well.
Much love to Jamie Benn for scoring 20+ goals in his rookie year, AND dropping the gloves like a pro.
More after the jump...
#5. Steve Ott vs Chimera
Hockeyfights.com scores out next bout at over 70% in Ott's favor, and it's hard to argue. Steve starts and finishes strong here in a game that was a turning point in James Neal's season. 69 penalty minutes in this one added up to an ugly Dallas loss, but this Ott/Chimera fight was part of the rich tapestry that was Stars vs Blue Jackets last year. A nastiness that will likely carry over into the coming season.
#4. Fistric vs Nystrom
Next up, a controversial bout that had us all sitting on our hands for the next 24 hours while we waited for a suspension that never came to Mark Fistric. He inadvertently, in his superiority over Eric Nystrom, grabs his helmet and accidentally beats him with it as his fury rained down upon him.
We all make mistakes, right?
Helmet or no helmet, Fistric was going to have his way with Nystrom here in an entertaining whopping....
#3. Barchy vs Janssen
This one we add with an eye on the future, while acknowledging the greatness of the fight itself. Recently these guys hooked up on Twitter and seemingly set a date for the the 2010-2011 campaign. It won't be their first go-around. [Link - Pro Hockey Talk]
These guys met last year and it was an entertaining affair. Simultaneous rights by Janssen and lefts by Barch made for quite a spectacle. Get ready for Barch Janssen II next year.
#2. Steve Ott vs Clusterbuck
Here Clutterbuck makes a marginal, though legal hit on Richards, and Ott does his job. You don't extend the arms on a teams best player like that and not answer for it. It's part of the game. Clutterbuck was the big man on the hit, but was completely and utterly unable to answer the bell when Ott came a calling (in the battle between an extremely short name versus an extremely long one.) Point Ott. Enough said.
#1. Brenden Morrow vs. Tim Gleason
Finally, an allegedly personal fight between Morrow and Gleason of the Carolina Hurricanes. Brenden Morrow was supposedly sticking up for one of his teammates in a personal matter and we'd prefer to leave it at that. There's more then enough rumor out there that I'm sure you can figure out the uncertain details of it.
Brenden leaves it all on the ice here, and however true or false the personal matter, you can see he means business. Morrow is a man. Exhibit A:
You'll notice several things. The hockeyfights.com folks seems to have it right that Gleason actually lands basically nothing, despite the take down. The other item of note is Razor's comment that "That's a teammate," despite nothing having been done in the game to warrant such a violent exhibition. Razor knows the goings on behind the scenes.
Got a beef? Rank your favorite Dallas Stars fights in the comments. My own opinion is bound to be flawed and baseless, if writing my thoughts down publicly for several seasons has taught me anything. ;)