The Philadelphia Flyers' 6-4 victory on April 1 over the Pittsburgh Penguins featured an extended brawl with just over a minute left in regulation that resulted in both coaches screaming at each other over the glass.
"Those guys hadn't been out there in 12 minutes,'' Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said of the Penguins' move to put their checking line out on the ice when Philadelphia took a 6-3 lead on an empty-netter. "It's a gutless move by their coach. It's gutless.''
In honor of the game, here's a look back at the top ten hockey enforcers from the 2011-12 regular season:
1) Brandon Prust: New York Rangers enforcer Brandon Prust engaged in more fights than anyone else in the NHL this year. In his 20 scraps, Prust got the better of most of his opponents to earn him the nod as one of the most dangerous men in the league. On March 19, he went toe-to-toe with New Jersey Devils enforcer Cam Janssen for close to two full minutes.
2) Shawn Thornton: Boston Bruins fighter Shawn Thornton found himself in the penalty box quite often this season, as he had an active year of scrapping it out on the ice. His early-season tilt against San Jose's Jim Vandermeer set the tone for a successful year.
3) Zenon Konopka: Ottawa Senators star Zenon Konopka is usually a lock for 20 fights per season, and this year was no different. One of my favorite tilts was a Jan. 8 contest against Philadelphia's Zac Rinaldo, that Zonopka won in convincing fashion.
4) George Parros: 6-foot-5 enforcer George Parros wasn't as active this year as he was in the past, tallying just 10 fights compared to 27 last season. Nevertheless, he's always a game combatant and his mustache stayed in championship form throughout the year.
5) Tim Jackman: As a New York Islanders fan, I always enjoyed Jackman's presence when he was on my team. I still love watching his scraps, as he throws punches with precision and extreme force.
7) Derek Dorsett: Dorsett was the opposite of Boll, as he seemed to be far more comfortable at home. He battled it out with 11 scraps on home ice, compared to just five road battles.
8) Brad Staubitz: Staubitz is a fan favorite in Minnesota, as he's willing to square off against just about anyone willing to take him on. He racked up 15 pro fights this season.
9) Cody McLeod: Colorado Avalanche enforcer Cody McLeod engaged in some exciting battles this year, including memorable tilts against Stu Bickel and Arron Asham.
10) Zac Rinaldo: 21-year-old Flyers standout Zac Rinaldo hit a career-high mark in NHL fights this year with 15. He took on Prust on two separate occasions, and also squared off against Konopka twice.
Eric Holden is a lifelong New York Islanders fan. Follow him on Twitter @ericholden.
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