Happy Friday, hockey fans. Valentine’s Day always carries the perk of some Free Candy. Although Brooks Orpik and that fantastic nickname of his haven’t been involved in a fight this season, plenty of pugilism has continued. We take a look at a few guys this week pounding on each other’s “sweet tooth” in this week’s edition of Fisticuffs Friday.

As usual, HockeyFights.com provides video of all the escalated disagreements around the league. When the gloves drop, head there to see the footage.
We’re a little more than a quarter into the NHL season now, and the front runners are beginning to emerge. But there’s still plenty of time for struggling teams to turn their seasons around. Whether for the turnarounds, or the assertions of dominance, the fights will always remain.

This week’s fighting pool was a bit slim, as the overall number of games tapered off a bit – especially the in-division games. It was looking like a pretty ho-hum week of fighting until last night, which played host to this week’s Fisticuffs Friday Fight of the Week.

One of the most feared fighters in the league for many years, Colton Orr has come out swinging in many bouts this season already. He’s a big, bulky guy who is certainly not afraid to step up and drop the gloves. Obviously, anyone that goes with him to settle the score deserves stick taps. This week, though, it was more than just some taps – Kevin Westgarth of the Carolina Hurricanes handled Orr in a great fight. We’re giving him the win, and some crazy respect for the effort he throws out there. Those in tandem pale in comparison to the honor of being named the winner of the Fight and Fighter of the Week.

Courtesy of Hockey Fights (link above), here’s the brawl in case you missed it:
Fisticuffs Friday – February 15th, 2013 – Fight of the Week

Though I’m not a fan of the staged fight, right off the faceoff, and likely on the two guys’ first shift of the game, you have to respect the tone that it set (see: Glass v. Asham in January). Orr snatches Westgarth and it looks like he’s going to be off to another impressive fight and victory. Westgarth manages to avoid some big swings and is then able to match Orr’s hold with a mirrored hold of his own. Now the two guys are engaged and the big blows can come.

Westgarth holds Orr at bay by throwing left jabs with the hand he is holding onto Orr with. As Orr attempts to gather himself to throw a big right to respond, Westgarth matches him. With his hold and the advantage in landing his punches closer to Orr’s head, Westgarth really takes over. In dodging Orr’s initial punches and maintaining his hold, he is able to wheel around the subsequent blows. He pulls Orr down. Credit to Orr for keeping the fight going, but the two guys are exhausted. Westgarth pulls Orr in and the linesmen break it up.

Gotta call Westgarth the winner here. Impressive fight from both skaters, though. With Orr’s first loss of the year, the fight leaderboard will see a shakeup! Check it out here:

Fight Leaderboard
Name Team Pos. Record TKOs
Jordan Nolan LAK RW 3-0-0 0
Patrick Bordeleau COL RW 3-0-0 0
Zenon Konopka MIN C 2-0-2 0
Frazer McLaren TOR RW 2-0-1 0
Tye McGinn PHI RW 2-0-0^ 0

This week wasn’t without its fair share of controversy, but it was without suspensions. Controversies included Mikhail Grabovski’s alleged biting of Max Pacioretty. There wasn’t enough evidence to suspend Grabo. But if there’s anyone in the league who deserved to be bitten, it’s Max Pacioretty. He tried to knock Kris Letang out last year in Montreal.

I’m an unabashed Penguins fan. I’m only mentioning Matt Cooke’s name here to give my interpretation of what happened with Norris Trophy winner Erik Karlsson the other night, since everyone else appears to be doing so. While unfortunate that Karlsson’s Achilles injury will sideline him for the remainder of the regular season and likely the season’s entirety, I don’t feel that Cooke was trying to hurt him, or that Cooke did anything that would constitute “dirty play.” While this may be a viewpoint Penguins fans agree with, go do a quick Twitter search of “Matt Cooke” and see what Ottawa thinks.

This week’s Goon Move of the Week actually happens overseas, because when something this goonish and somehow wonderful happens, it deserves to be recognized.
Fisticuffs Friday – February 15th, 2013 – Goon Move of the Week
I don’t even think I really need to say any more about that. I might tear up if I do.

No changes to this week’s Wall of Shame Suspension Tracker:

Suspension Leaderboard
Name Team Pos. Sus. GS
John Erskine WAS D 1 3
Colin McDonald NYI RW 1 2
Brayden Schenn PHI RW 1 1

*GS represents games suspended

That brings us to this week’s overall leaderboard. A continuing trend that we’ve found thus far is that none of the fighters atop the leaderboard have been involved in suspendable plays.

Brandon Prust took his first loss of the season, which allows Jared Boll to take over first place again. Check out the full leaderboard here:

Overall Leaderboard  
Name Team Pos. Pts. Ded. Tot.
Jared Boll CBJ RW 9 .5 8.5
Brandon Prust MTL RW 7 0 7
Jordan Nolan LAK RW 6 0 6
Patrick Bordelaeu COL RW 6 .5 5.5
Zenon Konopka MIN C 6 .5 5.5

* Ded. represents suspension and "staged fight" deductions
* Tot represents the total points after suspension deductions are calculated

That’s all 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.

Oh, and just since everyone’s doing it now a days:

Until next time, happy hunting, hockey fans.