Shawn Horcoff flattened an unsuspecting Patrick Sharp last night

Jared Clinton
Patrick Sharp (Photo by Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images)

There’s a good reason why players are taught to check over their shoulders before attempting to make a quick move one way or the other. Unfortunately for him, Patrick Sharp can be used as an example of what not to do.

On Sunday night, as the Blackhawks took on the Stars, Sharp skated into the Dallas zone after a loose puck. With Dallas defenseman Jamie Oleksiak putting pressure on him from the right, he turned back quickly, only to be met by the hard-charging shoulder of Shawn Horcoff. The hit was a train wreck. Read more

Fighting in the NHL: Should it stay or go?

Ryan Kennedy
(Marissa Baecker/Getty Images)

Depending on which team you ask, the opening-whistle line brawl between Calgary and Vancouver last season was either a stupid distraction or just what the doctor ordered. When Flames coach Bob Hartley started noted heavyweights such as Brian McGrattan and Kevin Westgarth, Canucks bench boss John Tortorella countered with enforcers Tom Sestito and Kellan Lain, who happened to be making his NHL debut. Westgarth lined up at center and was eventually greeted by rugged defenseman Kevin Bieksa – who, for posterity’s sake, won the draw – and the fists went a-flying.

The final score was 3-2 Vancouver, but that may have been the least important number that night in a game that featured a combined 204 penalty minutes. Due to ejections, Dan Hamhuis played 36 minutes for Vancouver, while Dennis Wideman led Calgary with 38. And then there was Tortorella, who ended up charging the Calgary dressing room between periods. It was not a normal night at the office. Read more

Yet more evidence that you should never fight Zdeno Chara

Ryan Kennedy
Zdeno Chara (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

If you have watched hockey consistently for the past 15 years or so, it should be perfectly clear to you that fighting massive Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara is the worst idea in the world. Few brawlers can claim a draw with the B’s captain, let alone a win – and Tampa Bay’s Cedric Paquette found that out the hard way last night.

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Reader, puzzle-solver & charity champion, this Islanders banger is more than bloody knuckles

Adam Proteau
Matt Martin (Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

To watch Matt Martin play hockey is to watch a human bumper car.

Now in his fifth season with the New York Islanders, Martin, 25, has earned a reputation as an intense, blue-collar left winger who throws as many punches (447 penalty minutes in 280 games prior to this season) as he does bodychecks (he’s led the NHL in hits three times). But when he’s not playing, he is anything but high-strung. You’re more likely to find him reading or working on a crossword puzzle than trying to knock someone into next week. Read more

From deaths to monsters, a history of fighting in hockey

Adam Proteau
(B Bennett/Getty Images)

It’s fair to say that, for as long as the sport has existed, there’s been a connection between hockey and fighting. Indeed, the first indoor hockey game ever played – March 13, 1875, in Montreal – was followed by fisticuffs between players and spectators and others who wanted to use the arena for skating. And although there’s been no shortage of critics who decried it right from the start, fighting has, for better or worse, helped shape the destiny of the game from its earliest days.

The first evidence hockey historians have of a fight in a game is from one of the first contests that took place in 1890 in Ontario. On Feb. 8, as part of a barnstorming tour of the province, the Rideau Hall Rebels (who played out of Ottawa) were taking on the Granite Hockey Club in Toronto when a major melee broke out. That fight was a prominent factor, if not the driving one, in the organization of hockey in Ontario. Read more

THN’s best NHL fighters by weight class

Ryan Kennedy
John Scott (middle) is one of the most fearsome fighters in the league. (Katherine Frey/The Washington Post)

In most sports that involve fighting, the fighters are broken down into weight classes. It helps provide some semblance of balance and a measure of safety, if you can call it that.

Though the NHL has no official breakdown of fighters into weight classes, we took our time to make it happen. And not only are the fighters separated by weight class, they’re also ranked by who the toughest brawlers are in each category. Read more

U.K. elite league player’s helmet-throwing, spearing meltdown results in his release

Adam Proteau
Joe Grimaldi of the Edinburgh Capitals (top right) throws his helmet at Maxime Langelier-Parent of Nottingham. (Image via http://gfycat.com/BogusCharmingFrillneckedlizard)

The days of daily lunacy on professional hockey rinks are gone. But every so often, you’ll still see a player do the indefensible in a retro-minded kind of way (back when it was defensible). And on Saturday night in Edinburgh, Scotland, an Elite Ice Hockey League game saw a vintage meltdown when Joe Grimaldi of the Edinburgh Capitals went berserk on his opponent, spearing him and throwing his helmet at him before a fistfight began. And this time, there were serious repercussions.

Grimaldi, a defenseman who spent time in the AHL and ECHL before heading to the U.K. league last season, apparently thought it was well within his rights to snap on Maxime Langelier-Parent of Nottingham, first jabbing his stick into Parent, then taking off his helmet and using it as a weapon before engaging in a fight: Read more

Year In Review: top 10 NHL fights of 2014

Ryan Kennedy
Gabriel Landeskog and Andrew Ladd (Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images)

A lot of enforcers are still looking for NHL work this season and some, such as George Parros, have even retired. But that doesn’t mean 2014 was bereft of fisticuffs. Oh no, there were some seriously good donnybrooks during the calendar year, so let’s break down the tilts that really stood out.

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