All of the talk this week during the general manager's meetings has been about arranged fights, instigator penalties, and Brian Burke (the real one) challenging other GM's to fisticuffs if they voted to eliminate fighting. Last night, Nashville's Wade Belak(notes) and his left hand showed us why hockey fans are attracted to heat of the moment bouts, not the contrived ones. Belak squared off with fellow heavyweight Donald Brashear(notes), and in a sight rarely (if ever) seen, caught the Washington Capitals tough guy with a perfect punch.
The Capitals broke a four game losing streak after Sergei Fedorov's(notes) goal in overtime gave Washington the extra point and a 2-1 win. Nashville suffered their second consecutive loss after winning six straight.
Has Brashear ever suffered such a loss before? As you saw, Brashear's legs buckled underneath him and he was forced to miss the rest of the game with a sprained knee. Belak impressed again according to his HockeyFights.com card, is 8-2-1 this season, with losses at the hands of Minnesota's Derek Boogaard(notes) and St. Louis' Cam Janssen(notes), which he avenged last month.
With Brashear falling via TKO, Montreal's Georges Laraque(notes) playing sparingly this season, and Boogaard only having two fights in 2009 thus far, is there an open competition in the NHL for a heavyweight champion? Is there an up-and-comer out there ready to challenge for the title?