Fighting in the NHL has slowly bust surely gone the way of the dinosaurs, but it isn’t quite out of the game entirely just yet. That leaves the door open to dream about certain matchups that could headline the next UFC pay-per-view. From big dudes clubbing on each other to anticipated real world matchups, to ideologies clashing, here are five dream fights that can happen in the NHL!
Number 5: Matthew Tkachuk vs Brady Tkachuk
Unlikely? Probably. Would it be awesome? Absolutely! Here’s a fun fact for you, Brady Tkachuk lead the NHL in fighting majors in 2021 with seven. Certainly not the name to be expected at the top of that list. Matthew was 16th in the NHL in penalty minutes with 74 and three fights during the season. Both brothers are studying the art of agitating the opposition and in the right scenario on a heated night somewhere in Canada, if the bad blood on the ice boils over, expect the term sibling rivalry to get a whole new meaning.
Number 4: Travis Konecny vs Brad Marchand
Few players have mastered the agitator role quite like Brad Marchand, and since Travis Konecny entered the league in 2016, his game has always resembled that of Marchand, just not quite to the same degree. If these two had the chance to square off, it’d be like the New York subway- dirty, grimy and rodent infested. Two enter, one shall leave and be called the leader of the rats.
Number 3: Samuel Morin vs Zdeno Chara
While Chara’s NHL future is still up in the air, the idea of two of the tallest defensemen and hardest hitters in the NHL going toe to toe is the definition of a dream fight. Chara stands at 6’9 and 250lbs while Morin is slightly smaller at 6’6 and 202lbs. It’s not very often Morin has to fight a bigger man, nor does Chara ever get to look his opponent in the eyes. The typical approach of rag-dolling their opponent would be out the window and these two behemoths would have to have a stand up fight. It’d be Godzilla vs Kong on ice, coming to a city near you.
Number 2: Kurtis Gabriel vs Tony DeAngelo
What’s a more symbolic fight between good and evil? Gabriel, the pro-love old school enforcer, versus DeAngleo, the red hat wearing Twitter troll. DeAngelo does have half a dozen NHL fights under his belt, most of which are him starting it, getting called on his BS, and getting his clock cleaned. Gabriel has squared off against the toughest customers in the game. In 2021 alone he took on Ryan Reaves, Kurtis MacDermid, Kyle Clifford and Nic Deslauriers. There’s a good chance Gabriel would pound DeAngelo into the ground, and to be fair, DeAngleo needs to have someone beat some sense into him.
Number 1: Ryan Reaves vs Tom Wilson
This one is just about a guarantee to actually happen at some point during the 2021-22 season. The New York Rangers brought in Ryan Reaves during the 2021 offseason to combat Wilson, who single-handedly beat down the Rangers’ lineup late last season. His actions led to a full on 2003 Flyers-Senators line brawl during their next meeting the the Rangers spent the summer adding grit to their lineup in anticipation for the next time they square off. Reaves is one of the best face punchers in the game today and will give Wilson all he can handle. Expect more than one spirited bout from these two throughout the 2021-22 season.
Zack Kassian vs Milan Lucic
The Battle of Alberta has become one of the hottest feuds over the last few years, and the tensions grew thanks to the North Division a.k.a the Canadian Division during the 2021 campaign where the teams squared off 10 times. Both Milan Lucic and Zack Kassian represent the heavyweights for their respective teams and have not squared off in the NHL before. If the Flames and Oilers rivalry is renewed yet again this season, expect these two to finally touch gloves in the NHL. It’ll be a fight worth sitting rinkside for. May the best man win.
By: Dan Esche (@DanTheFlyeraFan)
photo credit: hockeydb.com