One of the most buzzed-about prospects at the draft combine in Buffalo was Saint John Sea Dogs defenseman Jakub Zboril, a Czech national who plays with an edge and can contribute at both ends of the rink. It’s looking like Zboril will go in the middle of the first round in Florida thanks to that combination of talents, but his physicality has made him far from a favorite amongst opponents.
Fighting is better suited for the ring, not the rink, and that’s where it’ll be tonight, when boxing’s two biggest superstars, Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao, face off in the biggest fight in, well, all of human history.
Two boxers of this stature rarely step in the ring together, but it’s a significantly more frequent occurrence among the NHL’s elite players.
Here are the top 10 fights between NHL superstars since the 2004-05 lockout*:
The post-series handshake line is one of the most cherished traditions in playoff hockey, but after Val-d’Or knocked out Baie-Comeau Tuesday night, it quickly became apparent that no good would come of such a meeting.
Just so we all have this straight, Buffalo Sabres fans are chided for cheering for their team to lose games so it can guarantee itself a chance at drafting a generational talent who could alter the course of the franchise. Meanwhile, the Toronto Maple Leafs are being hailed as “classy” for calling up a player who can barely play at the American League level for the last game of the season?
All right, carry on then.
The Maple Leafs have called up Orr, a player to whom they’ve already paid almost $6 million in exchange for eight goals in 231 games and are paying $925,000 to play for their AHL team this season, as some kind of thank you for everything he has done for them. We can only imagine what the send-off would be if Orr had actually done anything to help the Leafs win a game over the years. Read more
Police in Sweden still have not spoken to former NHLer Andre Deveaux concerning his alleged on-ice attack on another player last week, but his lawyer claims to know where Deveaux is. And that lawyer just happens to be the most high-profile defense attorney in the country, one who at one time represented WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on his sexual molestation charges in Sweden.
Deveaux, who has been arrested in absentia in Helsingborg, has hired Leif Silbersky, a Stockholm lawyer who has gained a reputation for handling high-profile cases in that country. Reached at his office in Stockholm by thn.com, Silbersky did not want to discuss the case. “I’m not going to tell you anything,” Silbersky said. “Call me after Easter. Goodbye.” Read more
The news former NHLer Andre Deveaux would face criminal charges in Sweden for a blind-side, stick-swinging attack on an opponent prior to a playoff game last week isn’t entirely unexpected. Once video of the incident surfaced, there were bound to be severe repercussions for the 31-year-old, and it’s looking like being released from his contract (as he was Monday) will be the least of Deveaux’s concerns.
The day after his release from Swedish League team Rogle BK, Deveaux had a warrant issued for his arrest, the TT news agency reported. Swedish prosecutors saw what we all saw – Deveaux inexplicably charging VIK Vasteras HK player Per Helmersson as his back was turned in warmups, winding up with his stick, swinging it baseball-style at Helmersson’s ankles, then clubbing him in the head – and decided a hockey punishment wasn’t nearly enough. And they were right. There was no major injury on the play, but what if that massive slash had shattered Helmersson’s ankle and decimated his ability to play at peak form for the rest of his career? In effect, Deveaux was gambling with an opponent’s career – and as it turns out, his own career.
You can argue whatever you like about whether or not Deveaux had been provoked in an earlier playoff game between his team and Helmersson’s, but that is missing the point. This is another cautionary tale, and it’s the one hockey’s fundamentalist old-schoolers don’t like to talk much about: the culture of the game can push you to levels of hyper-aggression you never thought possible, but there’s a Rubicon you can cross – and once you do cross it, the game’s gatekeepers won’t always be there to protect you. Read more
Well-traveled center Andre Deveaux played 31 NHL games with the Toronto Maple Leafs and New York Rangers from 2008-2012, but he will likely be known from this point on as the man who snapped before a Swedish League game and brutally attacked an opponent with a blind-side attack that included a baseball-type swing of his stick.
Deveaux’s Rogle BK team was set to take on VIK Vasteras HK Thursday in Game 4 of a playoff series that would determine which team would go on to play in Sweden’s top division. But in warmup, Deveaux suddenly went after Vasteras captain Per Helmersson from behind, slashing him viciously in the leg, and then taking another clubbing swing at Helmersson’s head before he tackled him and pushed him to the ice: (video via Reddit user kaugesaar) Read more
Tampa Bay Lightning star Steven Stamkos doesn’t fight often, but when he does – well, as he showed Sunday in a brief, Greco-Roman wrestling-like encounter with Boston winger Brad Marchand, the Bolts’ captain still doesn’t throw a lot of punches.
The host Lightning were tied 1-1 with Boston midway through the first period Sunday when, after bumping into each other in the Bruins zone, Marchand and Stamkos both dropped their gloves and made a priority out of going after each other. But be warned: if you’re hoping for machine-gun fisticuffs from watching the following video (via SportsnetCanada) of the run-in, you’re going to come away disappointed: Read more