Confession: generally speaking, I’m not a huge fan of hockey fights. To be specific, the choreographed ones featuring career fighters tends to be gross and/or boring far more frequently than they are exciting.
(Besides, why watch guys fight for a living in a relatively awkward hockey setting instead of trained fighters in MMA or boxing?)
Maybe we can blame this on Vincent Lecavalier vs. Jarome Iginla, but the exceptions also often come down to when skilled/star players drop the gloves. This isn’t to say that those bouts are always predicated on passion, yet they tend to seem more “real” than when some poor soul tangles with Tanner Glass.
It goes over the top when you either see two big, bruising stars throw knuckles (although the flip side of two tiny, often-ineffective fighters can be fun for the comic relief of it all). With that in mind, a recent Dustin Byfuglien – Jamie Benn bout was quite the sight. Watch it in the video above this post’s headline, and then consider this: Benn told Buffy to prepare from round two when the Dallas Stars and Winnipeg Jets face each other tonight.
Wow. Can officials call an instigator penalty before a game even starts?
(Fun fight fact: according to Hockey Fights, Benn has dropped the gloves with David Backes three times, while every other opponent was a one-off. Byfuglien’s never fought anyone more than once … until tonight?
For those who are entertained by big-time bouts, this has been a quality-over-quantity start to the 2017-18 season, as you may remember Ryan Johansen and Joe Pavelski squaring off.
Stars – Jets already figured to be a game to watch considering the offensive firepower on both sides, but if you need some violence sprinkled into all that talent and finesse, then it might check off that box for you, too.
Now, since we brought it up, here’s Iginla vs. Lecavalier:
(Note: an image search didn’t come up with anything for Benn vs. Byfuglien, so when in doubt, go with that funny-great photo of Joe Thornton vs. Benn, right?
James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.