Hockey fighting is, without question, at a crossroads. Many levels are introducing new rules to curb it. Incidents in the NHL – attacks that are lumped in with traditional fights – have sparked debate about its future in the League with regard to player safety.
But there is now, and probably shall be for decades, fighting in hockey. And David Singer of HockeyFights.com witnesses nearly all of it throughout the year. So once again, we call on our favorite fighting enthusiast to tabulate and count down the top 10 (or 11) hockey fights of 2013. (Here’s the 2012 list.)
Here’s David Singer with this year’s list.
The season has been cyclical in terms of fighting numbers, but overall the stats are similar to the last couple of years.
10. Zack FitzGerald vs Tim Spencer (8.8)
Adirondack Phantoms at Springfield Falcons, Mar 1, 2013
Try as they might, the linesmen just can’t break this up.
9. Alexander Svitov vs Josh Gratton (7.9)
Ak Bars Kazan at Barys Astana, Oct 12, 2013
We head over to the KHL and Kazakhastan for our most surprising outcome of the year. Svitov is no stranger to fighting, and isn’t small, but has nowhere near the experience of Gratton. Borat references are too old to be cool and too new to be vintage, so I’ll save it for the decade in review.
8. Tanner LeSann vs Chad Labelle (8.9)
Swift Current Broncos at Medicine Hat Tigers, Sep 28, 2013
Back to the WHL for some fast punches. A true rock ‘em sock ‘em bout.
7. Patrick Bordeleau vs Brian McGrattan (8.7)
Colorado Avalanche at Calgary Flames, Mar 27, 2013
Arguably the top two heavyweights in the NHL right now, and rightfully so. Both go all-offense and enjoy their work. They followed it up with another bout in the fall.
6. Joël Theriault vs Alex Penner (9.0)
Isothermic de Thetford Mines at Marquis de Jonquière, Nov 2, 2013
Familiar with the LNAH? You have time to settle in, like the players do. This is what they do there. Somehow, after going three rounds, everyone wound up a winner.
5. Jessey Astles vs Jacob Doty (9.1)
Tri-City Americans at Medicine Hat Tigers, Nov 1, 2013
Time to go out west and trade rights. And more rights. Then heavier rights. Doty’s massive punches were almost as impressive as Astles’ chin.
4. Brett Gallant vs Eric Neilson (8.9)
Bridgeport Sound Tigers at Syracuse Crunch, Oct 26, 2013
There’s a lot of jockeying for position before these two open up wide and let the punches fly. Neilson lets his hair fly like Chris Simon pre-40 game suspensions.
3. Joel Rechlicz vs Milan Lucic (8.9)
Washington Capitals at Boston Bruins, Sep 23, 2013
From this year's NHL preseason, Milan Lucic goes with the big-time up & down heavyweight. A great yellow-glasses call by Jack Edwards adds flavor (and haters), but it’s entertaining all-around. Interesting voting note: while any fight that doesn’t have one player receive 50 percent of the vote is seen as a draw by most, usually even draws have an even distribution between the players and draw up top. This vote has Lucic and Rechlicz each topping 40 percent, making it one of the most indecisive even calls I’ve ever seen.
2. Cory Genovese vs Johnny McGuire (9.8)
Sudbury Wolves at Oshawa Generals, Feb 18, 2013
Some people like toe-to-toe fights, others like knockouts. Here you get both.
And finally …
No. 1 & 1a: Brett Gallant vs Joel Rechlicz (9.5 and 9.1)
Bridgeport Sound Tigers at Hershey Bears, Nov 9, 2013
Which is a sequel from January:
Portland Pirates at Bridgeport Sound Tigers, Jan 12, 2013
They had three fights in 2013. The first was Jan 5 and a good fight in its own right.
Any of this sound familiar? It should, because these two had the top fight of 2011 with this marathon bout.