Dropping the gloves in the NHL has become somewhat of an art-form in today’s game. Whether it be the endless marathon, total beat-down or even the occasional all-out brawl, nothing gets the blood of hockey fans pumping better than two players tossing hay-makers.
The Buffalo Sabres racked up 30 fighting majors this season — many of which resulted in a Sabre skating triumphantly over to the penalty box. With that, we take a look at some of the best Sabre throw-downs this season had to offer.
And here … we … go.
[tab: Part 1]
Coming in at No. 1o:
Paul Gaustad vs Scott Hartnell, January 11, 2011.
We kick off our list with Gaustad v Hartnell Part 1. Can I just say how horrible the Versus call on this fight was. Many times I think hockey fans would prefer to pummel the Versus’ commentary rather than listen to them call the actual fight on the ice — but I digress. More to come from “The Grumpy Gaustad” and Philly’s biggest loser further down the rankings.
At No. 9:
Cody McCormick vs Ryan Getzlaf, December 21, 2010.
Tempers flared in this rare out-of-conference game versus the Ducks which featured a whopping 57 combined PIM and three fighting majors. This fight between Sabres’ bruiser McCormick and Ducks’ star Getzlaf was the first to ensue, coming right off the faceoff that began the second period. Is it just me, or are fights that much better when they start right off the draw? Brace yourself folks for a Cody McCormick takeover throughout this list.
At No. 8:
Paul Gaustad vs Kyle Chipchura, Decmber 21, 2010.
For No. 8, we return to the same game that brought you No. 9. A mere five seconds after McCormick and Getzlaf concluded their dance, Goose and Chipchura felt no need to actually continue on with the game. It’s safe to say Lindy didn’t go into the locker room with a play nice speech following the first period. Believe it or not, the two teams actually did play hockey in this game — the Sabres went on to dominate the Ducks 5-2.
At No. 7:
Cody McCormick vs Milan Lucic, March 10, 2011.
What a wild game this one was. This bout versus Lucic was actually McCormick’s second of the night after he opened up the game by pounding Greg Campbell to the ground (more to come on that fight). Much of the second period was pretty heated between the two rivals so what better way to head into the locker room than tossing a few punches? The best part of this is seeing little 5’6″, 173 Gerbe drop 6’2″ 229 Nathan Horton after the play — just imagine how awesome it would have been to see Gerbe KO Horton in a fight of their own. McCormick was notably exhausted but still managed to connect with Lucic’s goony face a few times. McCormick’s effort is what grabs this fight a spot at No. 7.
At No. 6:
Cody McCormick vs Greg Campbell, March 10, 2011.
As previously mentioned, this fight between McCormick and Boston’s gritty forward Greg Campbell was what ignited this wild game. Not even three minutes in, a seemingly harmless run-in behind the net provoked the dropping of the gloves. Little did we know at this point Sabres fans were in for a huge treat in this game. McCormick definitely provided a spark for the Sabres against one of their most hated rivals as the Blue and Gold won it in overtime 4-3.
Click “Part 2” at the top of the post to continue the countdown.
[tab: Part 2]
At No. 5:
Patrick Kaleta vs Luke Schenn, November 26, 2010.
Kaleta’s first fight to make this list was a good one. It’s always cool to see the 5’11”, 198 Kaleta unleash his fury on much larger defensemen (Schenn is 6’3″, 219). What makes this fight so memorable though is how Kaleta just flew down the ice and pummeled Nikolai Kulemin, and then proceeds to hand Schenn a beat-down. As for Schenn, I’m sure he was second guessing his involvement in this one as Kaleta skated to the box with his arms in the air.
At No. 4:
Cody McCormick vs Jake Dowell, October 11, 2010.
We all remember this game as the game where ‘Hawks D-man Niklas Hjalmarsson drove Pommer’s head into the boards with arguably the dirtiest hit of the year (Richard’s hit on Connolly gives it a run for it’s money). Obviously the blood of the Sabres was boiling after witnessing that hit and McCormick took it out on Jake Dowell later in the game. You almost feel bad for the guy… nah, nevermind. Ah, nothing’s better than sweet revenge.
And now for our Top Three.
At No. 3:
Cody McCormick vs Mike Commodore, December 3, 2010.
I was very tempted to push this fight up to No. 2 but I decided to leave it be. McCormick plays a part in exactly half of the fights on this list and this one at No. 3 was without a doubt his best. The Sabres’ leader in penalty minutes made quick work of Commodore in front of a crowd about half composed of Sabres’ fans who made the journey over to Columbus. They certainly didn’t go home upset after McCormick gave them a nice little treat with this tidy KO.
At No. 2:
Paul Gaustad vs Scott Hartnell, April 16, 2011.
Without a doubt Gaustad’s best effort of the playoffs came in this showdown with Hartnell (even though that’s not saying all that much). Not only did Goose knock Briere right on his ass during the first attempt of a faceoff, but on the second attempt he exposed Hartnell as the wimpiest “tough guy” in all the NHL — taking the sweater right off his back in the process.
And our No. 1 Sabres fight this season is … drum roll please.
Patrick Kaleta vs Derek Dorsett, December 3, 2010.
This was honestly a no-brainier for me. When asked about the best Sabres fight of the season, Kaleta’s Dec. 3 shellacking of Dorsett immediately pops into my head. I mean, Dorsett barely manages to get a few measly taps in on Kaleta before everyone’s favorite local-boy Kaleta unloads on the helpless Blue Jacket. Kaleta owned Dorsett so much the refs could barely even pry him off after the two hit the ground. And of course, the best moment is Kaleta skating to the box while he brushes off his hands. You simply can’t beat that.
Well, that’s a wrap. Here’s to hoping we have plenty more fights to chose from at this time next year. Let me know in the comments if you feel any of these bouts should be ranked higher.
Be sure to follow Brandon on Twitter for more Sabres coverage @GoldSchlager23