Friday, August 25, 2017

The Top 10 NHL Fighters of All Time

Tiger Williams
Williams holds the record for highest penalty minutes of all time with 3,966. His NHL career started in 1974 and ended in 1988 with 246 fights. His most well known incident caused him to be charged with assault and carrying a deadly weapon when he caused serious injury to an opposing player by breaking a stick over his head.

Dale Hunter
Hunter has the second most penalty minutes in NHL history with 3,565. He accrued 165 fighting majors during his 1980-1999 career. He earned himself a 21 game suspension when he delivered a cheap shot to Pierre Turgeon while Turgeon was celebrating a goal after stealing the puck from Hunter.

Tie Domi
Despite being on the small side for an enforcer, Domi still managed to rack up 3,515 penalty minutes during his 16 season career from 1989-2006. He finished his career with 274 fights, not including a fight involving a Flyers fan that landed in the penalty box with him. One of his most controversial incidents took place when he was suspended for sucker punching an unsuspecting Ulf Samuelsson, causing Samuelsson to miss several games due to a concussion and laceration.

Marty McSorley
During his 1982-2001 career, McSorley received 3,381 penalty minutes. He was the enforcer tasked with protecting teammate Wayne Gretzky during their time together on the Oilers and Kings. In 2000, McSorley slashed opponent Donald Brashear with his stick, causing a major brawl between the teams. Brashear suffered a severe concussion. McSorley was convicted of assault with a weapon and received 18 months probation. He was suspended for a year and never played in the NHL again.

Bob Probert
Probert accrued 3,300 penalty minutes during his 1985-2002 career. He formed one half of the "Bruise Brothers" along with his teammate Joey Kocur during their time together on the Red Wings. He finished his career with 239 fights. He died of a heart attack in 2010. His brain revealed chronic traumatic encephalopathy, caused by his years of fighting.

Rob Ray
Ray earned 3,207 penalty minutes during his time with the NHL from 1985-2004. He was known for unlatching his equipment from his pants, so that his opponents could not get a good grip on him during fights. The NHL created the "Rob Ray Rule", awarding game misconducts to discourage players from this practice. Despite this, Ray continued to be a strong fighter. He finished his career with 241 fights.

Chris Nilan
From the start of his career in 1972 to the end in 1992, Nilan received 3,043 penalty minutes. He earned the nickname "Knuckles" due to his inclination to fight. He averaged more penalty minutes per game than any other NHL player in history. He also holds the record for most penalty minutes during a single game with a whopping 42 minutes.

Donald Brashear
Brashear's NHL career spanned 1993-2010, during which time he accumulated 2,634 penalty minutes. He was involved in over 200 fights during this time. One of his most well known incidents occured in 2004 during a game against the Flyers. Brashear dominated fellow enforcer Rob Ray during a fight which then caused a brawl between both teams.

Derek Boogaard
Boogaard earned 589 penalty minutes during his short 2005-2010 NHL career. He was a tough player and he earned himself the nickname "Boogeyman". He once fractured the cheek of opponent Todd Fedoruk with a punch. In another incident, he knocked out Trevor Gillies with an uppercut. He was involved in a controversy along with his brother, Aaron. The two ran a camp called the "Derek and Aaron Boogaard Fighting Camp". The purpose of the camp was to teach children how to fight when playing hockey. Boogaard died at the age of 28 due to an alcohol and drug overdose while recovering from a concussion. An autopsy revealed that he suffered from severe chronic traumatic encephalopathy, likely due to fighting. His death, along with two others, spurred a debate regarding enforcers in hockey. 

Georges Laraque
Laraque accrued 1,126 penalty minutes during his 1997-2010 NHL career. He was awarded the 'Best Fighter' award from The Hockey News in 2003 and was named the number one enforcer by Sports Illustrated in 2008. In 2005, Laraque defeated fellow enforcer Derek Boogaard with a very decisive victory. In November 2009, he was suspended for 5 games for a knee to knee hit against Niklas Kronwall of the Red Wings. Before the end of his NHL career, Laraque fought his last fight in December 2009 against Erik Boulton of the Thrashers. He retired in 2010.

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