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!
Considering how good Week 22 was when it came to the barbaric side of the NHL (seriously – watch how good those fights were), we were anticipating a bit of a letdown this past week. While Week 23 didn’t have the volume of Week 22, we think you’ll still enjoy the group of five fights below.
5. Shawn Matthias (WPG) vs Cody McLeod (NSH)
McLeod is a regular in our hockey fights columns and there’s a good reason why: He excels at beating people up.
Matthias tried to stand up for his teammate after a questionable open-ice hit from McLeod. His actions were admirable, but he probably should have left the fighting to another one of his teammates.
This fight has some really fun moments. First, McLeod is able to successfully hit Matthias with some of those usually pointless jersey punches and he somehow makes them count. Next, McLeod punches the helmet straight off of Matthias’ head and that’s good enough for a win in our book. Finally, McLeod spins Matthias around and pounds him in the back of the head.
Pretty impressive showing from McLeod.
4. Brandon Dubinsky (CBJ) vs Andrew Ladd (NYI)
Here’s another instance where a big hit immediately leads to a big fight.
Dubinsky was pretty ticked off with Ladd after a powerful hit in the corner and insisted on the two dropping their mitts. Ladd obliged and made Dubinsky regret that decision. Ladd owns the overall size advantage and is the only one to really find the mark with any his punches.
Unfortunately, this fight fizzled out almost as quickly as it began and fans were left hoping it would have gone on a bit longer.
3. Ryan White (MIN) vs Tom Wilson (WAS)
Spoiler alert: Wilson had himself one hell of a week. This fight is the first of two which made our list and it’s pretty solid. You’ll see his other impressive showing further down our list, but this bout with White is a great place to start.
White was brought in to Minnesota as the second piece of a larger trade in the hopes that he could provide some muscle down the stretch. He stepped up to Wilson, but things didn’t go too well. Off the start, White looks pretty formidable. Shortly after, he’s facing the wrong way and getting pummeled by Wilson. This is one White will want to forget and he’s probably happy the fight didn’t go on much longer.
2. Marcus Foligno (BUF) vs Kyle Clifford (LA)
This fight looks like it’s headed down a relatively boring path as both fighters had a pretty secure grip on their opponent. Those grips limited both players and almost led to the officials stepping in early. Thankfully, the officials stayed out of the way and and the punches eventually started flying.
We’re going to have to call this fight a draw. Both players have some strong moments, but things are mostly even when looking at the fight as a whole. Hopefully, these two cross paths again sometime in the future.
1. Austin Watson (NSH) vs Tom Wilson (WAS)
It takes a little bit of time before this fight really gets rolling, but when it does finally take off — wow. Wilson puts on an absolute show, blasting Watson repeatedly in the head with tons of shots with his right. Watson appeared to be in survival mode and barely makes an appearance outside of being Wilson’s punching bag.
We’d love to see Wilson’s knuckles after this fight. He looked like he was trying to punch through Watson’s helmet and that had to leave a mark on both players.
In terms of fighting, Week 23 belongs to Wilson.
[If you’re interested in the best hockey fights from previous weeks of the NHL season, check out our archive.]