Fisticuffs Friday - February 1, 2013
It’s Friday. That means in a few hours you’ll have the weekend in front of you. Sometimes those last few hours can be the longest. We’re here to help with Fisticuffs Friday. While you may not be able to drop the gloves at work, these guys can (and do, quite frequently). So you get to keep your job by living vicariously through the fighters, and they keep their job for fighting. Sounds to me like everyone wins.
If you’re not familiar with Fisticuffs Friday yet, get yourself acquainted (here). I’ll be giving you the scoop on fights from all around the league on a weekly basis.
We’re only two weeks into this abbreviated NHL season, and over 60 fights have happened to date. To see all of this week’s battles, hop over to HockeyFights.com. Some are good, some are bad, and most of them get ugly. For now, we’ll focus on this week’s fight of the week.
It was no small task to call a definitive Fight of the Week this time around. Milan Lucic made a strong case for the honor last Friday by dropping feared fighter Matt Carkner. Just last night, Eric Boulton and Krys Barch had a marathon brawl that was one of the most entertaining fights of the year. Their tangle falls into this growing category of “long fights.”
Linesmen do not seem as apt to jump in early on fights this year. Perhaps that is just my take, but at this point fights seem to be going 30-40 seconds to where they should likely be broken up, but then continue despite complete exhaustion on the part of both combatants. Don’t get me wrong, it can still be entertaining, but we don’t want anyone seriously injured.
But while both of these fights were entertaining, none of them brought me out of my seat quite like this week’s fight of the week. The Detroit Red Wings have always been a team that ranks near the bottom of the league in fighting majors. That was the case until this past summer, when Jordin Tootoo came to town. Tootoo has dropped the gloves a total of 3 times already this year, and this week’s Fight of the Week took place in a game where he fought twice in the first period! The lucky second dance partner for the week was Dallas’ Brenden Dillon.
Courtesy of Hockey Fights (link above), here’s the brawl in case you missed it:
Fisticuffs Friday – February 1st, 2013 – Fight of the Week
The two begin the fight by circling one another. Tootoo looks to size up the larger Dillon and assures to shoot quickly and get the best grip possible, attempting to stay close to minimize Dillon’s reach advantage. It’s a good strategy, until Tootoo loses his balance and falls forward. Dillon snatches him up and helps him stay up by serving him some big time uppercuts.
Side note: The “West Texas Pump Jack” call might just be the call of the year. Apparently those guys in Dallas don’t get to see many fights either.
Not to be deterred, Tootoo is able to respond with some good lefts, removing Dillon’s helmet. He shows some tenacity in maintaining his grip on Dillon, prolonging the fight though he has fallen forward again. Then we go to body shots from both parties until the guys just run out of gas. Good move by the linesmen to get in so quickly when Dillon’s sweater comes over his head.
Our fighter of the week honor belongs to the aforementioned Lucic. You’ve seen the Carkner fight (above). He added another clean victory this week against Tim Gleason to keep his fight card clean and full of victories.
Colton Orr still sits atop this week’s updated leaderboard with a 2-0-1 record. Remember, this leaderboard is based on fighting record, not total points – which happens at the close of the article. In the case of ties between fighters in wins, we then go to winning percentage as a tie breaker. For example, a fighter who is 2-0-1 would hold advantage over a fighter who is 2-1-0.
Orr, Brandon Prust, and Stu Bickel maintain spots on the leaderboard. Lucic and Senators’ tough guy Chris Neil join him as new additions this week. You’ll see the breakdown here:
^3 other fighters tied at 1-0-1
Once again, supplemental discipline is something that hasn’t necessarily followed the same trajectory of the guys dropping the gloves. In fact, supplemental discipline hasn’t been nearly as common as I remember it having been in seasons past. But that’s a good thing. Perhaps it’s a function of the seemingly stricter (read: softer) calls for boarding.
If that’s the case, bravo to the officiating. I’d sooner take a few questionable penalties here and there rather than watch guys get turned into vegetables on a nightly basis. To this point, I haven’t seen anything entirely terribly questionable from the officials. When guys start jumping and launching themselves into the boards to draw the calls frequently, that’s when we’ll have a problem.
Boarding, though, is always an ugly penalty. This week’s lone “goon move” that resulted in supplemental discipline belongs to former Penguin and current New York Islander right winger Colin McDonald. In a play that I can only describe as “boneheaded,” McDonald followed Penguins’ defenseman Ben Lovejoy for about 30 feet, stared at his numbers, and still chose to launch him into the boards.
Five-minute major? Check. Game misconduct? Check. Supplemental discipline? Check.
Fisticuffs Friday – February 1, 2013 – Goon Move of the Week
For those of you watching at home, that is a perfect example of how NOT to play hockey. There’s no place for that in the game and it’s a well-deserved 2-game suspension from Sir Shanahan.
*GS represents games suspended
This all brings us to our overall totals for the week. Putting quantity over quality, Jared Boll has jumped out in front of the league with 6 fighting majors already this season. Then again, what else is there to do in Columbus?
You’ll find the rest of the leaderboard here:
* Ded. represents suspension and "staged fight" deductions
^Mike Brown (RW, TOR) also has 4 Tot. Points .
That does it for this week’s installment of “Fisticuffs Friday.”
Remember to keep tracking fights as they come up – your feedback is helpful in determining winners and losers! Tweet fight feedback to me. Post it on the Faceoff-Factor Facebook Page. Or, comment in the article comments from the previous week – I’ll get your opinions one way or another.
Until next time, happy hunting, hockey fans.
P.S. If you have to listen to the song now that you’ve heard me mention it, I apologize. My peace offering is this link (courtesy of Vevo & Bone Thugs-N-Harmony).