Welcome to Hockey Fights of the Week! If you’re new to this column, the premise here is pretty simple. Each week, we gather up the five best fights from the previous week in the NHL, rank them and present them to you for your viewing enjoyment. That’s it!
We don’t want to overhype the five fights below, but we firmly believe that Week 22 was the best week for fights so far in the 2016-17 NHL season.
5. Austin Watson (NSH) vs Kevin Bieksa (ANA)
This is the best fight you may ever see in the fifth spot in our weekly rankings. That should speak to just how special the past week was for the barbaric side of the NHL.
The officials may have stepped in a bit prematurely here, but that shouldn’t take away from a lengthy, intense fight that Bieksa handles by a lopsided margin. Watson may have struggled because of how he was pressed against the glass, but that was apart of Bieksa’s strategy which appeared to work pretty well.
4. Brandon Manning (PHI) vs Matt Beleskey (BOS)
This fight is ridiculous. Beleskey put new meaning behind the “swing for the fences” expression when he was trying to hit Manning. Those last two punches have such a crazy windup that it’s pretty amazing either one of them found their mark.
That last punch practically knocked Manning out of his skates and made it extremely easy to pick the winner. It may be years before hockey fans see that satisfying of a final punch again.
3. Ryan Dzingel (OTT) vs Gabriel Landeskog (COL)
The Colorado Avalanche are historically bad this season and that means there’s probably a lot of anger in the dressing room. It can’t be easy playing out a huge chunk of the season with nothing on the line besides pride. When that pride keeps getting beaten, it’s time to try and beat the opponent — literally.
That’s exactly what Landeskog tried to do against Dzingel and he did a pretty good job. We have to give the win to Landeskog (c’mon, it’s one of the only wins he’ll enjoy this season), but both players deserve some praise for this spirited encounter.
2. Michael McCarron (MON) vs Darnell Nurse (EDM)
The NHL needs more views from the ref cam! This fight was awesome on its own, but it was taken to a whole new level thanks to the shots from the ref cam.
McCarron and Nurse first fought back in October of 2014 and we’re glad their paths crossed once again. Nurse is one of the most intimidating fighters in the NHL while McCarron isn’t a slacker himself.
This could be a tale of two different fighting styles. Nurse is more reckless, throwing as many punches as he can including a healthy amount of body shots. McCarron is a bit more patient, waiting for his openings and then trying to make them count.
Overall, this was a great fight and the ref cam only added to it.
1. Sam Bennett (CGY) vs Jacob Trouba (WPG)
If you’re a regular here at The Comeback, you already know that we highlighted this fight between Bennett and Trouba the night it happened because it was that good. Blood is a fairly rare sight in hockey fights, but this Bennett-Trouba bout saw both players bloodied.
Bennett was masterful, landing blow after blow for what must have seemed like an eternity for Trouba. Despite the fact Bennett was so good and the clear winner, hockey fans will remember this one just because both players left it all out on the ice… and on their helmets … and on their jerseys.
[If you’re interested in the best hockey fights from previous weeks of the NHL season, check out our archive.]