Takes and trash talk from both ALL sides of the NHL's most obscure PATHETIC* rivalry

* Thanks, Kevin Lowe!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Knucklehead Proliferation

Two years ago, the Anaheim Ducks won the Stanley Cup thanks to George Parros' moustache and Brad May's right fist. Since then, the other teams in the Pacific have gathered their own eclectic mix of goons, ruffians and whelps to combat the OC menace. Last year the Pacific was the best division in hockey and this year I think it'll be the fightingest. Since there's not much going on these days, I thought it'd be fun to take a look at the fighting prospects of the teams in the Pacific, broken down by role. Be warned: these are my fight roles and they're complicated and more than a little insane, so try to keep up.

Goons: George Parros, Raitis Ivanans, Jody Shelley, Brian McGratton

Goons are guys who play about 5-7 minutes a game and don't really have an impact. They'll skate around and hit someone, get knocked down and then square off with a fellow goon to give the masses a little excitement. It's awesome. Every team has a goon except Dallas, who have a couple of tweeners to do their dirty work. The Kings have the best enforcer because Raitis Ivanans is 1) the best hockey player of the group, and 2) Ivanans isn't keeping someone good out of the line-up like everyone else. Brian McGratton is the new guy in Phoenix and I imagine he'll fight a lot in the beginning. Jody Shelley sucks.

Tweeners: Brad May, Krys Barch, Brad Winchester, Craig Weller, BJ Crombeen, Chris Kunitz

Tweeners are like goons but smaller and better at hockey (though still not good). They fight well and usually beat up on lesser fighters. Brad May pretty much sets the standard for tweeners in the NHL, as he can fight any weight class and do some damage with hooks and slashes as well. Barch and Winchester teamed up to fill the role in Dallas, although I'm not sure if they're going to make the team. Crombeen might take their slot next year and he's pretty fucking crazy. Scott Thornton did fill this slot for the Kings, but he retired. Brian Boyle will probably try to take that role next year.

Avengers: Douglas Murray (of Sweden), Matt Greene, Sean O'Donnell, Brendan Morrow

Avengers and tweeners are similar, in that they're both light heavyweights, but the difference is that the primary role of an avenger is usually hockey-related, not goon-related. Avengers fight when a teammate has been wronged and usually kick ass. Doug Murray excelled at this last year, often coming to the aid of any teammate that had his knee messed with. (Doug Murray hates it when people get kneed.) Matt Greene comes in to fill the role for the Kings this season, while Sean O'Donnell will continue fighting in defense of his teammates in Anaheim. Brendan Morrow is excellent at this role, but he's probably too good a hockey player to fight too much. Phoenix had two players that defended their teammates last year, Nick Boynton and Keith Ballard, but they both left in the Jokinen trade. Someone is going to have to step in and fill that void for them. Criag Rivet also protected San Jose last year, but he's gone now so they can have Rob Blake shoot 9,000 feet wide of the net.

Punching Bags: Todd Fedoruk, Travis Moen, Brian Sutherby, Kyle McLaren, Craig Weller

Punching bags are sacrificial lambs. When someone on their team does something that goes against the code, these men are usually sent out to get their asses kicked in order to end the retaliation. They'll fight anyone and usually lose, but at least the important players on the team are spared. Todd "Ow my face!" Fedoruk is the standard in punching bags, but every team besides the Kings and the Stars have one on their team. Brian Sutherby probably doesn't belong here because he usually starts fights; he just kind of sucks at it.

Pests: Danny Carcillo, Sean Avery, Steve Ott, Corey Perry(?)

These guys are like goons except they usually skate a regular shift. Their job isn't primarily fighting, it's more annoying-related. Lots of stick work, lots of trash talk. They are usually held accountable sooner or later, fighting mostly each other or avengers. Danny Carcillo is the cream of the Pest crop because he's fucking insane and will fight anyone. Avery and Ott will form a dynamic duo of douche baggery in Dallas, making up for Dallas' lack of a straight Goon. Corey Perry isn't so much a pest because he's good at hockey, but he's a little bitch nonetheless so he goes here.

So that pretty much runs down the people you're going to see fighting in the Pacific. Overall, the Ducks still have the best fighters in the division, but the Stars have a variety of people to throw out there if things get crazy. The Kings and Sharks are basically only avengers and 1 goon each, while the Coyotes have two goons, big and small. The Pacific Division is shaping up to be the fightingest division in hockey next year and it's going to be awesome.


jamestobrien said...

Good stuff, Rudy.

I feel like Christian Bale to your Heath Ledger right now. Although I guess you better get cracking on that overdose if we really want this Batman-related analogy to work.

I'd love to hear what the BoCers think about the Dark Knight.

My review: Two words, Heath Legend.

spade-in-victorhell said...

your list is good except kunitz is and avenger more than a tweener..he kicks ass when one of his rookies or any non fighter gets bitched...he doesnt hesitate

ott to me though is the most effective of all the assholes u mentioned...ott pisses the fuck out of anaheim but never gets a call....so hes good at what he does

they gotta send parros at him early and try to slow some of his effectivness

Earl Sleek said...

Although Fedoruk's most memorable moment is getting his jaw reorganized, I actually thought he was a pretty good fighter before that incident, technique-wise.

Maybe, though, that's Boogaard's claim to fame. "I'll knock you down from Goon to Punching Bag, sucka."

You have Moen dead-on, though. The first year he played for the Ducks, before partnering up with Pahlsson, I would say that The Omen's greatest hockey talent was the ability to take a solid punch to the face.

Earl Sleek said...

Oh, and Corey Perry probably deserves his own category. He's not a fighter or even a pretend-fighter, but his specialty is to ensure that his goon-tendency teammates will get ice time.

Maybe he's job security.

RudyKelly said...

I thought it was Heath Ledger's 2nd best movie.

(I'm sorry, but it's going to take more than that to beat 10 Things I Hate About You.)

Earl Sleek said...

Having not seen The Dark Knight myself, I'm a bit amazed at all the Oscar talk about Ledger (and not just because he's dead).

a) I have trouble believing even very credible friends who tell me he's a better Joker than Nicholson was. Maybe I'm just old-school.

b) I don't really care, but I don't think Oscars should go for obviously warped characters like the Joker. I dunno, I think I'm more impressed with actors who play a "real" character than a cartoon-based one, but seeing as I haven't seen an Oscars ceremony in about a dozen years, I guess my vote doesn't really matter.

RudyKelly said...

Have you seen Jack Nicholson as the Joker lately? I remember him being awesome when I was a kid, but I was kind of embarrassed when I caught it on TV yesterday.

And The Oscar thing, I don't know. If Javier Bardem can win an Oscar by not acting at all, I don't see why Ledger can't win for this.

Earl Sleek said...

Have you seen Jack Nicholson as the Joker lately?

Hm, probably not. Still, I do recall them making sequel after sequel and missing a proper villain ever since.

I dunno, if there's one real criticism I have about comic book movies, what's the fascination with killing off characters in the movie that never were killed off in the comic book source? X-Men, I'm looking at you, as well.

jamestobrien said...

Sleek, you just need to see it. Trust me on this one. I was one of those a-holes making jokes about Ledger before I saw this movie.

He's just pure intensity and insanity. Steals the show from the likes of Bale, Freeman and even Gary Oldman.

Earl Sleek said...

Oh, and not related to anything in this post, but all of a sudden, Sleek finds himself an uncle. The kid who promised to be born 8-8-08 has decided to jump the gun and avoid the nickname "Ocho".

New nickname suggestions are welcome.

VeryProudofYa said...

I don't know that I agree with your assessment of moen. He had a rough go of things last season mostly because of fighting people a bit over his head (Barch, Iginla, Walker).

The Iginla fight was worth mentioning because of how much of a pussy iginla was. Took the time to remove his elbow pads but left his visor on? Look, I know last time you took your visor off before fighting a duck Francois Beauchemin punched you right out of the playoffs, but still, guy, c'mon.

Anyhow, two season ago Moen pretty much ran show.

In 06-07 he:
knocked out shea weber
left jamal mayers a bloody mess
lost just one fight (of 9) according to the hockeyfights.com voters
Kicked Matt Greene's ass

And, as far as kunitz goes, he deserves a pussy category. He's been involved in a few scraps where the guy he 'fought' didn't or shouldn't have been called for fighting. Two season ago against ruutu (no FM assessed to Toumo) and last season against Zidlicky. (Marek never even dropped his gloves)

Pretty good breakdown, though. Should have included the video of Barch getting knocked out by Carcillo, that one's a beaut.

Earl Sleek said...

and last season (Kunitz) against Zidlicky. (Marek never even dropped his gloves)

Ha, I remember that one well. Marek and his teammates were very confused how he picked up a fighting major during that skirmish, and while I'll agree with their perspective, I still laughed about it for an entire week.

Morbo said...

Yes, Kunitz is in a category all by himself. The kamikaze. It's slightly different than the avenger. The avenger will actually square off with the offending party, while the kamikaze just goes beserk and jumps on the other guy's back and dry humps them while throwing rabbit punches.

Earl Sleek said...

Strange rumblings today on the Teemu front. A few people with Ducks ties better than mine seem to be awfully Teemu-excited.

I'll hold out on popping my champaigne, but for now here's Ken's vague Teemu-tease.

Patty (in Dallas) said...

Love your title, Rudy!

Not to pick nits or anything, but Winchester's with the Blues now. It didn't even make the papers.

I hope you're right about Crombeen. He seems like somebody we could use.

RudyKelly said...

Oh, I was wondering what happened to him. I figured he was gone when I saw how many fights Crombeen had, but I wasn't sure. Thanks.

la patineuse said...

While I'll admit that Chris Kunitz probably belongs somewhere on this list, I don't agree with the assessment that he is "better at hockey (than goons) (though still not good)."

Kunitz is a fairly skilled player whose offensive numbers are far better than any of the players with whom he's being compared (May, Barch, Winchester, Weller, and Crombeen). 25+35=60,+23 in 06-07 and 21+29=50,+8 in 07-08 don't tell me a player is "not good."

Patty (in Dallas) said...

Well, Winchester was with the Stars this season. He just signed with the Blues as a free agent a week ago. He didn't have too many fights, I don't think.

Patty (in Dallas) said...

Crombeen would get called up, have a couple of fights, and then get sent down. I don't remember a game that he played in where he didn't fight. I just chalked it up to being afraid they'd send him back down if he didn't do something, but it's entirely possible he's just crazy.

RudyKelly said...

Okay, fine, I'll be honest: I forgot about Chris Kunitz. I didn't realize that I didn't have him on there until right before I hit the Publish button and I just stuck him there because that's where he seemed to fit. Are you guys happy now? You get your kicks out of making me look dumb? Screw you, I quit. Wait, no, I can't quit. Not until I publish my award-winning essay, "Greatest American Dog=Greatest American Show."

Earl Sleek said...

Also in random Ducks news: is Eric Boguniecki going to be a Duck?

I guess according to his website, he is.

Nut said...

How do you talk about punching bags and not mention (or use as the definition) either Kelly Buchberger or Tom Kostopolous? (speaking of which, I would love to see them fight each other. Someone would have to win, and it would probably look like that cyclist fight that made the rounds on youtube a couple years ago where neither guy connected with any of their punches)

la patineuse said...

He's been involved in a few scraps where the guy he 'fought' didn't or shouldn't have been called for fighting...last season against Zidlicky. (Marek never even dropped his gloves)

True Zidlicky didn't drop his gloves. However he did instigate the fight by first cross checking Kunitz in the mouth with his stick, then dropping his stick so he would have two hands free to give Kunitz a couple of punches to the mouth.

Zidlicky maybe didn't deserve the fighting major, but he deserved the beating he got.

Anonymous said...

No Pronger Catergory?????

PJ Swenson said...

Ryane Clowe?

Bartcal said...

I would call Clowe an Avenger; I think you forgot about him since he didn't play much last year. I would think he'll take Rivet's avenging role this year, assuming of course he signs his contract.

chris_in_sunnyvale said...

pj swenson and especially bartcal posted what I was going to say. Clowe is an avenger. His work vs. Tootoo (heralded on Youtube) and Phaneuf (sadly forgotten) in the avenger role is superb.