One thing everyone can
agree about in the fighting debate: fisticuffs aren’t gone yet. Hockey is certainly trending that way, but fights still happen for now. So when they do, which team is most heavily armed to win a battle royale on a nightly basis? We set out to crown the best overall tough-guy team in the NHL.
Our data source was hockeyfights.com, which has documented decades of information. Players earn wins, losses and draws based on fan votes. With the help of our dedicated interns, Craig Hagerman and Namish Modi, we compiled the career record of every player who’s played a game this season, through the second week of November. Fights that didn’t have any votes were deemed no contest, as the sample size was large enough for us to throw them out. We included regular season scraps but also pre-season and post-season ones, because fights are fights, no matter when they happen. Even if you’re a star player shaking off summer rust, you don’t ease up in the pre-season when you’re protecting your own face.
We then summed the total records of the players on each active NHL roster to produce an aggregate record, which was converted to a points percentage. We awarded two points for a win and one point for a draw. At this stage in the calculations, we realized our overall team rankings skewed too heavily toward winning fights and not enough toward experience. Which enforcer would you fear more: a guy with two fights and two wins or a guy with 100 wins and 60 losses? So we multiplied our team points percentages by their players’ total number of fights to create a final score that combined fight proficiency with fight frequency.
We believe the rankings on the pages to follow accurately reflect the NHL’s glove-dropping hierarchy. The likes of San Jose and Boston are loaded with pugilists and finished high, whereas last-place Detroit throws punches as often as Gandhi did.
My, what a difference one year and a massive TV contract can make.
In 2013, when American business magazine Forbes released their NHL franchise valuations, only one team was said to be a billion dollar organization: the Toronto Maple Leafs ($1.15 billion). That the Leafs were – and still are – the most valued team in the NHL comes to little surprise what with a fan base that continually shells out top dollar regardless of the outcome. It is hockey mecca, like it or not.
But Tuesday, when Forbes released its rankings for 2014, two franchises, the Montreal Canadiens and New York Rangers, found themselves in the billion dollar club thanks in large part to a friendly bump from the NHL’s league-wide television deals plus some added money from local television contracts. Read more
There are always early season surprises. That’s just the nature of hockey. A lucky bounce here and there, and you have Jon Sim fighting for the lead in preseason scoring, which is something that has actually happened in the past.
Over the course of the year, however, these things tend to even out. At the quarter mark of the season, trends are starting to develop. Of those trends, you’ll notice some are related, while others, not so much. These are the ten most unexpected stats at the quarter-pole. Read more
In the Swedish third league on Wednesday, one of the most incredible comebacks in hockey history happened.
Down 3-0 in the third period, IFK Arboga scored with just under 12 minutes left in the third period. Then they scored again 20 seconds later. And again nine seconds after that. And once more 30 seconds following their third goal. In less than two minutes, Arboga had erased a three-goal deficit to Grastorps, and held on for a 4-3 victory.
While there are no four-goals-in-two-minutes comebacks in NHL history, these are the five best. Read more
Inclement weather has led to the cancellation of the Buffalo Sabres home contest against the New York Rangers on Friday, turning a four game NHL slate into three. It’s not the first postponement the NHL has had, and it certainly won’t be the last.
With over five feet of snow falling earlier this week, it took few by surprise that Friday’s game was called off and rescheduled for Feb. 20. Even the NFL’s Buffalo Bills, who wouldn’t have played at home until Sunday, will be taking their game to Detroit. Whether it be a terrible tragedy or something as trivial as a boxing match, postponements have halted league play several times. Read more
What constitutes true fanhood? The easy explanation is the eye and ear test. The loudest, most decked-out supporters come across as diehard fans – like those of the big, bad Boston Bruins.
To THN, however, fanhood is about faith above all else. It’s not just supporting your team when the going is easy. What about standing behind your team when the losses pile up and paying to watch it lose when it costs you an arm and a leg? The Bruins fill the TD Garden, but the last time they missed the playoffs – twice in the season-and-a-half following the Joe Thornton trade – they ranked near the bottom in attendance. On the other end, look at a team like Edmonton. Year after year, the Oilers struggle to progress in their “rebuild,” yet the fans keep coming, selling out Rexall Place and paying top dollar to watch a flailing operation.
It’s easy to make fun of fan bases that blindly support their struggling franchises, but isn’t that what true fanhood is, unconditional love? We set out to create a fan ranking system that rewards such a quality. The formula applies the past five completed NHL seasons. The final rankings were an aggregate score over each category. Perfect science my algorithm ain’t, but we believe we’ve concocted an objective system. We published the results in our Nov. 24 Fan Issue of THN.
The following legend breaks down the fan ranking criteria:
Artrurs Irbe’s surprise appearance on the Sabres’ bench as their emergency goalie on Tuesday brought to mind his colorful NHL career, his adventurous puckhandling skills and that brilliant run he had in the 2002 playoffs for Carolina.
Based on that Cinderella performance, plus some of the other upsets he anchored as the backstop in San Jose, the now 47-year-old goalie coach for Buffalo sneaks onto our list of the NHL’s top 10 European goalies of all-time.
In the span of 11 hours, Florida Panthers winger Rocco Grimaldi played in two games in different leagues, covered 1,350 miles on a three-hour flight, crossed over an entire time zone, and suited up for his fifth career NHL game. Not a bad Tuesday for the 21-year-old prospect.
It all began at 10:30 a.m. (8:30 PST) in San Antonio as the Rampage, Florida’s American League affiliate, hosted the Oklahoma City Barons for their fifth annual Cool School Day. The game, which begins early and serves to host kids from around the region, would be the saving grace for the Panthers and allow Grimaldi to take part in both an AHL and NHL game in the same day. Read more