Thursday, February 3, 2011
Hearing the roar of the crowd as they realize one goalie is skating down to meet the other one is awesome. There's an aura of disbelief, wonder, and amazement. Is this really going to happen? Am I really going to see this? It's wacky. In what other sport would something this bizarre ever happen?
Last night Brent Johnson almost completed a Ron Hextall Hat Trick (shutout, assist, and a fight – hat tip to ESPN’s John Buccigross). With less than a minute remaining in a 3-0 game Johnson skated the length of the ice and dropped the oft-injured Rick DiPietro who was involved in a little skirmish with Matt Cooke (who else).
In honour of Johnson’s one hitter quitter here are the top-10 goalie fights of all-time.
Honourable Mention: Patrick Roy vs. Dominik Hasek
This isn't a good fight at all. It isn't even a fight (much to Roy's dismay). But it's hilarious and has to make the list.
10. Curtis Joseph vs. Tim Cheveldae
I never knew CuJo ever fought, but he has a pretty good one with Cheveldae here. The announcer goes nuts and why wouldn’t he, there are goalies fighting. If you don’t get excited for that you better get your head checked.
9. Tommy Soderstrom vs. Corey Schwab
Corey Schwab gets the better of Tommy Soderstrom (not the first case of Canadian on Swedish violence that this list contains) with the aid of his helmet. Poor Soderstrom didn’t stand a chance.
8. Ron Hextall vs. Alain Chevrier
Ron Hextall is certifiably insane. I can’t even describe it. Watch this video titled ‘Ron Hextall Violence’.
7. Dan Cloutier vs. Steve Passmore
Cloutier has some rage issues. How many guys do you think he’s dropped in bars because they bring this up? By the way, to find that clip I searched for 'Dan Cloutier goal' and the first result was 'Nik Lidstrom Destroys Dan Cloutier's Career'. You'd have rage issues too.
6. Byron Dafoe vs. Patrick Lalime
I really like how this video starts with Patrick Lalime being scored on. I’m pretty sure all Patrick Lalime videos start that way.
Chris Neil starts some trouble, gets a beating at the hands of Bill Guerin and a melee starts. Lalime sticks his nose where it doesn’t belong and Byron Dafoe comes down the ice to make sure he never does that again.
5. Dan Cloutier vs. Tommy Salo
Poor Tommy Salo. Not only did he destroy Sweden’s chance at a Olympic Gold medal in 2002 with this horrible goal allowed, but he suffered a horrific beating from Dan Cloutier. This really isn’t a fight. It’s an assault. It’s a little sickening.
This video also shows a young P.J. Stock (of CBC fame) pummelling a hapless Islander player, while Zdeno Chara looks as big as a tree elsewhere.
4. Ray Emery vs. Martin Biron/Andrew Peters
It’s no surprise that Emery demolished Martin Biron considering he weighs 170 pounds and it probably shouldn’t come as a surprise that Emery hung in there with Peters, even with his bulky goaltending gear.
Emery fought five times in junior and four times in the AHL, which included a spirited bout against an AHL heavyweight named Josh Gratton.
Ray Emery is tougher than Ron Hextall, but probably not as crazy.
3. Patrick Roy vs. Mike Vernon
This fight occurred during one of the most memorable brawls in hockey history - a brawl so memorable that it has its own Wikipedia entry.
In the 1996 Western Conference Final, noted superpest (and four time Stanley Cup winner) Claude Lemieux drove Kris Draper into the boards from behind with an absolutely vicious hit. Draper suffered a broken jaw, shattered cheek and orbital bone, which eventually required surgery that left Draper’s jaw wired shut. Even worse, the Avalanche eliminated the Wings and went on to win the Stanley Cup. To say there was bad blood is an understatement.
There was retribution the next season. But it didn’t happen until the fourth meeting between the two teams because Lemieux was out of the line-up the first three games. The bad blood was simmering between the two powerhouses and it all crested in a violent wave of madness.
2. Patrick Roy vs. Chris Osgood
The teams went at it again the next season, this time Osgood got in on the action with Roy and fared better than Vernon, but still ended up on the wrong side of a Patrick Roy beating. There were tons of penalties again as the refs ended up hitting the two teams with a combined 228 minutes.
These two brawls took the Wings-Avalanche rivalry to new heights.
1. Felix Potvin vs. Ron Hextall
Not even the animosity between the Wings and Avalanche could push those Roy fights to the top spot because this donnybrook between Potvin and Hextall was so great. Most of the fights on this list are beatdowns where there is a clear dominating winner. This is a fight where both combatants get a ton of good shots in on each other.
This was just before the beginning of a pretty good rivalry between the Leafs and Flyers in the late-90s/early 2000s that was filled with multiple playoff series and more than a few fights.
When this happened everyone assumed Potvin was toast. Hextall had a well forged reputation as not only a badass, but a maniac. Potvin was French-Canadian, which isn’t conducive to toughness if you ask Don Cherry (although the last two Roy videos suggest otherwise). But what no one really knew was that Potvin was a punk rock kid who could more than hold his own.