The one-punch knockout in the NHL is a rarity. But when it happens, the puncher frequently achieves cult hero status: Aaron Downey KO'ing Jesse Boulerice; Evander Kane, striking one for the boys in Boston against Matt Cooke; and, of course, goalie Brent Johnson breaking Rick DiPietro on national television.
Aaron Volpatti added his name to that list on Thursday night in a preseason game against the San Jose Sharks, but with an added bonus — his was a one-punch fight:
The Vancouver Canucks winger, who spent most of his season in the AHL last year, dropped Brad Winchester of the Sharks at 18:52 of the second period, as they both earned 5-minute fighting majors. (The Sharks and Canucks ended up with three fights on the night. In an exhibition game. Geez.)
We can't tell if this fight is the most anti-climactic one-punch special in recent memory or a towering moment of bad-assery by Volpatti.
Winchester wanted to dance because Volpatti had taken out San Jose defenseman Jason Demers with a punishing hit, leaving blood on the ice. But instead of vengeance, Volpatti took out Winchester, too. And then he skated out to center ice and screamed "KING KONG AIN'T GOT NUTHIN' ON ME!" Or at least he should have.
Was flexing all that toughness enough to get Volpatti on the team? He did about all he could. He had a better night than just about any other Canuck in Vancouver's 3-0 loss to the Sharks. But that isn't saying too much.
Sounds like Brad Winchester wasn't the only one on the receiving end of an ugly loss.