In the sport of hockey, most fights are a simple one on one bout. Normally the other players on the teams stay away and let the two combatants work out their differences with their fists. However, on fairly rare occasions, these skirmishes take on lives of their own and soon the entire ice is full of fights going on. Here, I will be taking a look at four of the absolute biggest and craziest brawls in NHL history.
1. Colorado Avalanche vs. Detroit Red Wings
Throughout the 1990’s, these two teams probably had as a good a rivalry as any two teams in sports. Numerous altercations took place between them, but none bigger than the line brawl that took place in 1997. The brawl featured a number of fights, but none bigger than the legendary goalie scrap between Patrick Roy and Mike Vernon, which will go down as one of the most memorable fights in NHL history. There were fights all over the ice and the teams just straight up did not like each other, and it showed on this night.
2. Boston Bruins vs. New York Rangers
This is basically the NHL’s version of the Malice at the Palace. While there was a brawl between players following the game on the ice, that wasn’t even the worst part of this altercation, not even close. With the players involved in a melee on the ice, a rangers fan reached over the glass and struck a Bruins player with a rolled up newspaper, cutting him in the process. As a result, Bruins players began climbing the glass and got in numerous fights with the fans. There is no telling how the NHL would handle madness like this if it was to happen in 2016.
3. Philadelpia Flyers vs. Ottawa Senators
In all the games that have gotten out of control and contained numerous fights and other penalties, no game has ever amassed as many penalty minutes as this meeting between the Flyers and the Sens in 2004. The brawl sort of came out of nowhere as Rob Ray and Donald Brashear got involved in a run-of-the-mill fight, but then as soon as it ended, some Senators players jumped Brashear and the brawl was on. When the dust settles, the brawl led to an amazing 419 penalty minutes.
4. Pittsburgh Penguins vs. New York Islanders
Of all the brawls in this article, this is probably the most predictable of the bunch, which led it to be one of the fiercest. Numerous hits and fights in previous games led to some animosity ahead of this game in 2011. Add that to the fact that the Penguins were down 6-0 in the second period, and this had all the makings of a disaster. And that is what happened as there were more brawls and fights than you could count in this one. Well, actually, there were 15 recorded fights (in two separate, multi-player brawls), 21 game misconducts and almost 350 penalty minutes in total.