It’s one of the most controversial aspects of the game, but the players want it, the league accepts it and a lot of fans love it. Fighting may not as prominent as it once was, but in 2013 we did see some memorable tilts. Here are the 10 best.
10. Tom Wilson vs. Justin Falk
Wilson, the Washington Capitals teen, may be the rookie of the year in terms of fighters. Most of his tilts have been quick, one-sided or both, but this one with Falk of the Rangers was pretty solid.
9. Jared Boll vs. Mike Brown
Maybe some folks like tactical fights, but sometimes you just want to see two guys try to speedbag each other.
8. Joe Vitale vs. Brett Sutter
Vitale is perhaps a little underrated as a fighter and you never want to mess with a Sutter, making this a nice middleweight tilt.
7. Milan Lucic vs. Luke Gazdic
Gazdic is another up-and-comer in the fight game and it’s not often someone gets the best of Lucic.
6. Joe Thornton vs. Jamie Benn
Lots of star power in this throwdown. With Benn ascending in the NHL, this had a cool vibe as the young buck took on the wise ol’ gunslinger in Thornton, who almost only fights fellow stars.
5. Andrew Shaw vs. Antoine Roussel
Roussel is emerging as one of the most effective pests in the NHL and whatever he said to Shaw, it worked.
4. Colton Orr vs. Eric Boulton
Two heavyweights in a classic bout.
3. Patrick Bordeleau vs. Brian McGrattan
Two more big boys in a very entertaining scrap.
2. Jonathan Bernier vs. Ryan Miller
Goalie fight! Everybody loves goalie fights (OK, maybe not Braden Holtby) and this came during the insane pre-season carnage between Buffalo and Toronto. Miller won the Internet after the game, tweeting out “Well, that escalated quickly.”
1. Milan Lucic vs. Joel Rechlicz
Another pre-season dance, but certainly the most talked-about in 2013. Just two big dudes going toe-to-toe, throwing tons of bombs.