February 25, 2009
The date was Dec. 4, 1993. The Pittsburgh Penguins were visiting the Hartford Whalers (R.I.P.), whose young defenseman Chris Pronger took a run at Penguins rookie forward Markus Naslund to spark a melee. Eventually, this led to Randy Cunneyworth of the Whale sucker punching Naslund before the two paired off for a short, painful fight. The whole thing nearly escalated into a full-blown bench-clearing brawl. Old time hockey!
Fast forward over 15 years later, and Naslund has finally had his second NHL "fight" in tonight's New York Rangers/Toronto Maple Leafs game. He collided with Ian White of the Leafs after taking a shot on Vesa Toskala; White dropped the mitts and, as you'll see, Naslund responded with an aggressive counterattack of hanging on for dear life:
Rangers Coach John Tortorella, who lost his debut in the shootout for a 2-1 final, is preaching more aggression for his players. Perhaps he meant the kind that doesn't make him visibly chortle on the bench.
As for Naslund, give him credit: In the 15 years between fights, he learned how not to take a right uppercut to the mug: By passionately holding his opponent like they're dancing at a spring formal. Zack Stortini approves ...
H/T to HockeyFights.com for all of it.