The NHL's Western Conference has been tight this season, but it's got nothing on the American Hockey League. Only 6 points separate 4th place from 12th place in the AHL West. It's a hot mess down there.*
That said, both the Rockford Ice Hogs and Milwaukee Admirals, who sit at the bottom of that cluster, are in trouble, and not just because everyone has games in hand on Rockford or because Milwaukee is currently in 12th. Rather, because it will be hard to keep pace in the Western Conference when half your roster is suspended for leaving the bench. Check out this massive brawl from Sunday afternoon's contest between the two teams:
Be sure to buy a 50/50 ticket because -- OH MY GOD EVERYTHING IS HAPPENING.
I love the deejay's decision to spin Carl Douglas novelty funk hit "Kung Fu Fighting". The flute runs give the melee a nice, light-hearted feel.
Here's the backstory, courtesy the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal-Sentinel:
It all started after Milwaukee's Michael Latta and Rockford's Shawn Lalonde fought at center ice with 9 minutes, 52 seconds left in the second. The two went to the penalty box and then there was a scheduled media timeout.
During timeouts, both teams gather by their respective benches and the goalies remain in front of their net. The faceoff was set for the Rockford blue line, according to Milwaukee coach Ian Herbers.
But for some reason, toward the end of the break, Rockford's Rob Flick was alone in front of Admirals goalie Jeremy Smith when all of a sudden both players started swinging at each other.
Smith's explanation of what set everything off is the best thing: "I think we just looked at each other, and I think that's what sparked it." Hockey fights are like love -- sometimes they can happen in a glance.
The officials called the period then and there, sending both teams to the locker rooms for an 18-minute intermission. 8 players were ejected, as were both head coaches, for failing to restrain them. One assumes suspensions will be forthcoming.
Also forthcoming: a rematch. The two teams meet again on April 13.
s/t to Ted Gruber.
Follow Harrison Mooney on Twitter at @HarrisonMooney