Well, that was a lovely change of pace. The St. Louis Blues were largely able to beat the San Jose Sharks at their own game last night, scoring a 4-2 victory over the Western Conference powerhouse in the HP Pavilion with smart play, puck possession and a physical presence. It didn’t hurt that a couple of slick plays gave The Note a couple of their tallies. One thing that DIDN’T happen, but seemed on the verge of happening all night, was a fight. That’s alright – I will take victory over fisticuffs any day of the week (shocking, I know, right?). The Blues, therefore, stand in a large tie for fifth in the National Hockey League with two fights on the still-young 2011-2012 season, and the fight record stands at 1-0-1.
Next up are one of my favorite teams to cover here on Throwdown Lowdown – the Anaheim Ducks. A playoff team last season, the Ducks have one player in particular who likes to throw the gloves down and battle anyone (HINT: he is pictured above), but in terms of physicality, this team has a whole bunch of depth. A lot of this can be attributed to the presence of one Brian Burke in the not-too-distant past, as it is well noted – especially as he currently manages the Toronto Maple Leafs roster – that he is a proponent of on-ice truculence. Some of those players no longer play for the Ducks, but the physical nature of this club has not changed. Thus far in 2011-2012, the Ducks have fought once, putting them in a massive tie for 15th place in the NHL in that category. Last year, however, the Ducks went 22-16-29 in 67 fights, a total good for fifth in the NHL.
The chief among fighters from last year among this year’s Ducks roster is last year’s individual league leader in fights, George Parros (6’5”, 228lbs, 12-3-12). Following him is Sheldon Brookbank (6’1”, 202lbs, 3-1-3) with seven fights, then Luca Sbisa (6’2”, 207lbs, 1-1-3) with five fights. Two current Ducks fought twice each last year – Matt Beleskey (6’0”, 204lbs, 2-0-0, Day-To-Day following offseason shoulder surgery) and last year’s leading goal-scorer Corey Perry (6’3”, 212lbs, 0-0-2). Solo fighters include Bobby Ryan (6’2”, 209lbs, Win), Andrew Cogliano (5’10”, 188lbs, Win), Matt Smaby (6’6”, 239lbs, Draw), Kurtis Foster (6’5”, 226lbs, Draw), Finnish hockey legend and future Hockey Hall of Famer Teemu Selanne (6’0”, 196lbs, Draw) and team Captain Ryan Getzlaf (6’4”, 221lbs, Loss).
Being that Ryan Reaves did not play last night, how well the team played without him even though it wasn’t because of his absence that they won and barring any injuries that no one knows about following last night’s victory, I really do not anticipate any bouts in this game. That being said, Sbisa lost a fight with Matt D’Agostini in last year’s 9-3 Blues victory over the Ducks in February, and that may be revisited. We’ll see what happens, but I would really like to see some fists thrown in this game, as these are two of the more violent teams in the NHL.
Sweep the left coast! Get it done.
LET’S GO BLUES!!!!!
Information obtained via the incomparable Fried Chicken’s Hockey Fights