Knockout blows are a rarity in fighting in the NHL these days. But every so often, a left or a right lands flush and down goes one of the combatants.
Montreal Canadiens forward Paul Byron could barely stand and needed to be held upright and helped off the ice after Florida Panthers defenseman MacKenzie Weegar clocked him with left-handed uppercut during a first-period fight on Tuesday night.
Here’s the fight:
Back January, Byron drilled Weegar in the head on a nasty charging call.
Byron was suspended three games while Weegar was concussed on the play.
So Tuesday’s fight was a little bit of retribution, followed by what appeared to be some instant regret from Weegar, who looked quite concerned for the state he left Byron in after the one-sided bout.
The Canadiens announced that Byron wouldn’t return following the game (not in the least bit surprising).
The debate will now rage whether or not Byron had to answer the bell. Weegar seemed to ask Byron if he wanted to go and Byron turned around, dropped his mitts and they were off to the races. While admirable that he owned his transgression, the Canadiens are in one hell of a fight for a playoff spot and they need Byron, who has 15 goals and 30 points this season.
Given the way Byron left the ice, he might have to miss some time down the stretch here, including an uber-important game against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday.
Perhaps sometimes you should just turn the other cheek.
Meanwhile, it’s not the first fight Weegar has featured in recent days.
On Saturday night, Weegar was on the receiving end of a pummeling at the hands of Boston Bruins forward Noel Acciari.