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Friday, September 20, 2013

HOCKEY FIGHTS CENTRAL WRAPUP: THURSDAY

This is why you love NHL preseason games if you are a fight fan.  Nary does a preseason game not include at least one fight and often you get situations like the one that took place Thursday night between the New Jersey Devils and New York Islanders who started fighting early in the game and didn't let up one bit throughout the remainder.  The highlight of course was the rare fighting hat trick between Islanders tough guy prospect Brent Gallant and Devils veteran Krys Barch.  These two went at it on three separate occasions during the game which resulted in game misconducts for both which was well-deserved.  As far as the bouts were concerned, all three were incredibly entertaining as both men grabbed on with one hand and threw with the other with no defense being played.  Big time punches were landed in all three bouts.  Round 1 was a close back-and-forth affair that Gallant you could argue took late as Barch lost his balance and took two blows as he went to the ice.  Close either way but Gallant getting the slight decision I won't argue too much against.  Round 2 was all Gallant as he peppered Barch with his right throughout the bout and had his older foe completely off balance.  Round 3 however went to Barch who caught Gallant with a few key punches towards the end of the bout, putting him onto the ice.  So that leaves Gallant with four very exciting fights this preseason as he does everything he can to clinch a spot on the roster.

A few things on Gallant for a minute.  His biggest problem is veteran Eric Boulton who is back for his second season on Long Island.   Boulton is aging but is still as good a technical fighter as there is in the NHL.  He only got into five fights last season as the Islanders only played him about half the time.  Also veteran tough guy defenseman Matt Carkner is back for his second season as well and he is expected to handle fighting duty in addition to Boulton.  So that squeezes Gallant a bit but doesn't eliminate all hope.  The era of playing two enforcers on the fourth line has been almost completely phased out of the game, with the Toronto Maple Leafs pairing Colton Orr and Frazer McLaren being the rare exception.  However Gallant could make the team and alternate with Boulton in the lineup.  Either way Gallant is a guy we all want to see break camp with the big club as he could add some much needed fighting freshness to the NHL as a whole.

In addition toe carnage with the Isles and Devils, Matt Kassian got into his first fight of the preseason after rookie Michael Sdao got all the pub earlier in the week.  Kassian, who is right there in the discussion as the best fighter in the league, pretty much manhandled the Maple Leafs' Jamie Devane.  Also Boston Bruins super pest Torey Krug basically attacked and beat down an unsuspecting and overmatched David McIntyre of the Detroit Red Wings.  Krug is not likely to make the Bruins as they are stocked with tough guys in Shawn Thornton, Milan Lucic, Adam McQuaid, and Gregory Campbell.


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