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Paul Bissonnette's Blog: European experience and the game's five toughest fighters

Paul Bissonnette has played one game so far this season, but hasn't recorded a point. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

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Paul Bissonnette has played one game so far this season, but hasn't recorded a point. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

Our trip to Europe, where we opened the season, was a lot of fun and just a great time. Where we were in Prague was fantastic. We were right downtown in this nice spot with all sorts of restaurants and places to shop right there. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to play, but man oh man, the women there are just beautiful.

The fans are different in Europe, but the craziest ones I saw were in Latvia, where we played an exhibition game against the Kontinental League team from there – a game I played in. It was just nuts. The fans didn’t shut up the entire game; they were up the whole time singing and chanting, being loud and obnoxious. Not in a bad way at all – it was great. It wasn’t loud in a horn kind of way either, but they were just vocal.

In fact, the owner of that team came down and told his players that if they won he would reward each of them with $3,000 – that’s just how they do it over there.

It was a cool experience, but it can take a toll on you. If I was married with kids like some of the guys on my team I don’t think I would want to do that again. It was also really hard on our trainers and equipment guys who had a boatload of work to do there and paperwork when they got back to North America.

I’ve only been in one regular season game so far, which sucks, but as they say, your worst day in the NHL is better than your best one in the American League. It’s frustrating because I know I can play in this league, but when you look at our fourth line with Petr Prucha and Scottie Upshall who have both scored 20 – or close – goals in a season before, and Lauri Korpikoski, you see we have pretty good depth; it just sucks that I’m the odd one out, but I’ll take it as it comes.

If you follow me on Twitter you’ll know I got a bit of a cut above my left eye in practice. I was just going hard with Radim Vrbata and got hit in the eye going for the puck. I told him I got tunnel vision because of it...he told me I already had tunnel vision.

Something like that makes you think about wearing a visor, but after thinking about it for a bit, realistically I’m not going to do it. I’m a fighter.

Speaking of fighters, who are the five toughest in the game? I call them gamers: guys who come out swinging and don’t back down. Boogaard is obviously No .1: that guy is just scary. Colton Orr is certainly one. Steve MacIntyre in Edmonton. Eric Godard. And D.J. King is a tough guy, too.

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But when it comes to actual rivalries, I always butt heads with Dallas’ Krys Barch. I actually fought him four times last year. Don’t get me wrong, I respect him because he’s an honest fighter and he’s clean, but we’re paid to hate each other – we just don’t like each other.

I tell you what, I was surprised to see Pavel Datsyuk fight Corey Perry and I was pretty impressed with how he did. Actually, I don’t know how Perry missed Datsyuk’s head; it’s like Stewie’s from Family Guy. In warmups, I’ll be chirping Datsyuk about it, tap him on the shin pads and tell him, ‘so I hear you’re the new Red Wings fighter.’

We’ve been selling more of my T-shirts in support of the homeless and passed the 100 mark, so we’ve decided to start promoting and selling them through the Coyotes website, so be sure to check that out.

That’s all for now, but I’ll be back again in a couple of weeks when I’ll hopefully have some more games under my belt. But before I go, for any kids out there who happen to find themselves in their first hockey fight and aren’t sure what to do, here’s some advice: Don’t lead with your chin.

For information on upcoming Phoenix Coyotes games, please visit http://coyotes.nhl.com

Paul Bissonnette (aka BizNasty2point0) was selected in the fourth round (121st overall) by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 2003 NHL draft. An Ontario League graduate, where he played with the Saginaw Spirit and Owen Sound Attack, Bissonnette played 15 games with the Penguins before the Phoenix Coyotes claimed him off waivers in 2009. Last season, he played 41 games for the Coyotes, scoring three goals and five points while posting 117 penalty minutes. Bissonnette will blog for THN.com throughout the 2010-11 season.

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