Whether you're a fan of fighting in hockey or decry the violence it brings to the sport, there's no denying the allure of the sport's ultimate rarity: the goalie fight.
Buffalo Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller dropped the gloves with Toronto Maple Leafs net-minder Jonathan Bernier last night during a line brawl between the two teams,
The brawl began off the face off 10 minutes into the third period, as Buffalo's John Scott went after Toronto's Phil Kessel and chaos ensued. A minute and a half later, Miller and Bernier squared off.
While the scrap may have lacked a bit of fireworks, there is plenty of goalie fighting action to be found in its own section of Hockeyfights.com, a Web site which makes its opinion on fighting in hockey fairly self-evident. The goalie fights section offers video of the top fights of all time, as rated by the fans on Hockeyfights.com. Among those notable brawls was Felix Potvin vs. Ron Hextall, as mentioned by last night's announcer as the last time a Toronto Maple Leaf's goalie was engaged in fisticuffs.
Preseason hockey tends to have more fights, with players eager to make a lasting impression on their team's coach and front office. That willingness to put it all on the line could be the difference between a spot in the NHL or getting shipped down to a farm team. In two preseason games, the Sabres and Leafs had ten fights. Last season there were six fights in four games, David Singer says on Hockeyfights.com.
In total, there were 200+ penalty minutes assessed for the evening's festivities. Toronto's David Clarkson left the bench to join the brawl, a big no-no. He'll receive an automatic 10-game suspension, as per NHL rule 70.10: "The first player to leave the players' or penalty bench during an altercation or for the purpose of starting an altercation from either or both teams shall be suspended automatically without pay for the next ten (10) regular League and/or Play-off games of his team," Greg Wyshinski points out for Yahoo Sports.
The Leafs and Sabres will see each other again November 15 in Buffalo, in what is sure to be a hotly-contested matchup.
How do you feel about fighting in hockey?