BY GREG WYSHYNSKI AND DAVID M. SINGER
(Puck Daddy presents its annual look back at the year in hockey. Check back every day through the New Year for our many lists and hot takes.)
Yes, there’s still fighting in hockey. No, it’s not necessarily found in the National Hockey League anymore.
Once again we called upon our friend David Singer of HockeyFights.com for guidance on what fights rung the bell around the hockey world in 2015. You’ll see some familiar faces here. You’ll see some lengthy bouts here. And you’ll see some very smart linesmen letting them go.
Also keep in mind that every one of these fights served a purpose and happened in order to keep the peace on the ice. Just playin’!
And here … we … go.
There were times in this fight between Menshikov of HC Sibir Novosibirsk and Ryspayev of Barys Astana in which it appeared they wanted to rip the other’s skin off. Nasty little draw.
9. Jon Mirasty vs. Joël Theriault, April 25 (LNAH)
We tend not to run many fights from the sideshow that is the LNAH – and if you must know why, please know this is from a playoff game – but Jon “Nasty” Mirasty always puts on a show. And he also puts on an apron, as the owner/operator of a Tim Hortons.
A good old fashioned staged fight off the faceoff, as Rosehill (playing for the Lehigh Valley Phantoms) has another one of his “throw all the punches you can in as little time as possible” bouts. Gagnon was playing for the Springfield Falcons, who are now the affiliate of the Arizona Coyotes.
7. Justin Doucet vs. Michael Fratangelo, March 8 (QMJHL)
Some good action here, much of it targeting Doucet’s face. Would have likely rated higher if Fratangelo had flipped his lid, and if the fight didn’t end with Doucet, of the Drummondville Voltigeurs, administering a desperation bulldog.
6. Adam Keefe vs. Cam Janssen, Nov. 7 (EIHL)
There was a moment in this fight from the U.K. – between two players familiar to NHL fans – where it looked like a potential dud. Then Keefe got up and it was really on. The best part was the constant, annoyed jawing from Janssen, playing for the Nottingham Panthers. Too bad this wasn’t mic’d up.
When we first saw the Hockey Fights ratings for this fight, it listed Sdao of the Binghamton Senators as the clear winner. And yet Gallant, of the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, was getting the better of him for most of the fight. And then we saw the last 10 seconds and … well, that was quite a rally for Sdao. Ouch.
Gabriel, playing for the Iowa Wild, goes all Inigo Montoya on Maggio, beginning with the left and then pulverizing with the right. But Maggio hung tough. Nice tilt.
Close to 500 pounds of beef twirling around for two minutes. Both players landed huge punches, and no one went down. Can every fight take place at a Winnipeg Jets game, by the way? The crowd shouting with each landed punch, and the AC/DC on the soundtrack … the whole thing felt like a performance.
Let’s give the Atta Boy Award for best effort to Swift Current’s LeSann, who was popped early in the fight but popped back up … only to have Erkamps of the Brandon Wheat Kings land a dozen other direct hits as he hung in there. A valiant, if misguided, effort.
Yes, it’s amazing that the best hockey fight of 2015 has a dude named “thrower” in it. If only Darren Rumble were still playing …
This bout between Osterman of the Seattle Thunderbirds and Thrower of the Vancouver Giants is great, but the reason it ranks first is for a 10-second segment near the end of the fight in which they go toe-to-toe, punch-for-punch and just absolutely crush each other. It’s exhilarating.
There’s so much technique and patience in fighting, that it’s a rare treat to see two guys unleash hell like that. A reminder that ties are sometimes satisfying in fights as in games.
Greg Wyshynski is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or find him on Twitter. His book, TAKE YOUR EYE OFF THE PUCK, is available on Amazon and wherever books are sold.
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