The playoffs are here. And you know what that means: the usual suspects will start endlessly pointing out that there's no fighting in the post-season.
Which, of course, isn't true. While there's certainly far less fighting in the playoffs, it doesn't disappear entirely and never has. In fact despite the league's steady stream of rule changes and near-constant finger wagging from the media, some of the more memorable fights in recent years have come when there was the most at stake.
We've already done the fighting debate song and dance around here, so let's save that for another day. Instead, let's just enjoy ten of the most memorable playoff fights of the instigator era.
Thanks to all the fine folks at hockeyfights.com for their help with this list.
#10 - Tie Domi vs. Donald Brashear
2003 Eastern Conference Quarter-Finals
Domi always seemed to have trouble against much bigger guys like Brashear. And by "always", I mean "always, except for here".
Odd stat: Donald Brashear is now 0-2 lifetime in the #10 spot of DGB Top Ten Lists.
#9 - Bob Probert vs. Chris Simon
1996 Western Conference Semi-Finals
Veteran heavyweight Bob Probert takes a run at Joe Sakic. Bad idea, as it turns out.
This fight was important because it allowed the 1996 Avalanche to get all that violence out of their system before their upcoming series against the Red Wings.
#8 - Colorado Avalanche vs. Detroit Red Wings
1997 Western Conference Finals
This isn't one their best efforts, but it's not bad. And I can't do a "best fights" list without including these two teams somewhere.
And no, I have no idea how Patrick Roy didn't wind up in the middle of this.
#7 - Zdeno Chara vs. Vincent Lecavlier
2006 Eastern Conference Quarter-Finals
Two things we know for sure about fighting: it doesn't exist in the playoffs, and only no-talent goons do it.
Why are two franchise guys like Chara and Heatley fighting for the Senators? Well, that's what ends up happening when your so-called tough guy does stuff like this earlier in the game.
#6 - St. Louis Blues vs. Detroit Red Wings
1997 Western Conference Quarter-Finals
Gary Bettman can change the names around all he wants... sometimes the Norris is still the Norris.
Nice cheap shot by Pronger. Guess he was mad that he couldn't find anyone to elbow.
#5 - Shane Churla vs. Darin Kimble
1991 Norris Division Semi-Final
Five seconds to go in the game, and these two are not kidding around.
Hey, remember when "setting the tone for the next game" meant doing stuff like this, not whining to the media about how you weren't getting enough power plays?
#4 - Shayne Corson vs. Eric Cairns
2002 Eastern Conference Quarter-Finals
This gong show of a series is still the most vicious I've ever seen. This is the fight that saw Corson suspended for trying to knee Cairns in the head, one game after Tucker and Roberts eliminated Peca and Jonsson. I blame you for all of this, Steve Webb.
And since I feel dirty for posting a fight that a Leaf lost, here's what happened a few minutes later to cleanse your palette.
#3 - Garth Snow vs. Steve Shields
1997 Eastern Conference Quarter-Finals
Garth Snow does a masterful job of looking tough, right up until the moment when the fight actually starts.
This was the most one-sided beating of Snow's career. Or at least it will be, until the next few weeks when he tries to talk trade with Brian Burke.
#2 - Jarome Iginla vs. Vincent Lecavlier
2004 Stanley Cup Finals
The two best players in the Stanley Cup finals decide to drop their gloves. Other than that, pretty standard.
Needless to say, the crowd is outraged and boos throughout the entire incident.
#1 - Wendel Clark vs. Marty McSorley
1993 Campell Conference Finals
This is not just the greatest playoff fight of all time, it's also the greatest moment in all of human history.
And of course, a glove tap to Todd Gill and Dave Taylor on the undercard.
A few honorable mentions:
- Jarome Iginla and Francois Beauchemin drop the lids.
- Islanders vs Capitals - You know in hindsight, Hunter's hit may have been a little late.
- Felix Potvin and friends vs. Dino Ciccarelli, which I can't find on youtube but featured Bob Cole's infamous "Oh, there's gonna be a donnybrook here!" call.
- Ryan Getzlaf vs Dion Phaneuf. Again, remember, stars never fight.
- Brent Burns vs. Corey Perry
- Ryan Whitney eats Wade Redden's lunch