Edward Fraser, of The Hockey News, profiles 10 fighters to watch in the NHL.
Milan Lucic, Boston (13 fights in ’07-08)
He probably can’t throw with the heavyweights, but watching the young buck prior to concussion problems last season was still a true treat…oh, and he has the potential to develop into a top power forward, too.
Georges Laraque, Montreal (13 fights in ’07-08)
With Laraque, it’s more about quality than quantity. And that’s a product of no one wanting to step up to the 240-pound behemoth. The Habs took a big step forward in the arms race this off-season.
Jared Boll, Columbus (27 fights in ’07-08)
Led the league in tilts last season. As soon as he adds a few pounds to his 6-foot-2, 190-pound frame he’ll be one of the game’s elite, if he isn’t already.
George Parros, Anaheim (23 fights in ’07-08)
The man with the moustache was part of several memorable scraps last season; his toe-to-toe with David Koci jumps to mind (has Koci ever been in a boring fight?).
Riley Cote, Philadelphia (24 fights in ’07-08)
I couldn’t very well leave the league’s second-most prolific fighter off the list, could I? This guy can’t do anything but chuck, but Philly liked him enough to give him a three-year deal in July.
Zdeno Chara, Boston (four fights in ’07-08)
He’s too valuable to be tossing haymakers on a regular basis, so when the extra-large Slovak decides it’s time, it’s a real bonus.
Sean Avery, Dallas (six fights in ’07-08)
He doesn’t drop the gloves often, but when he does get into it his opponent really wants to hurt the new Stars agitator, which makes for added entertainment value.
David Clarkson, New Jersey (21 fights in ’07-08)
Another NHLer who fits into the more-than-just-a-fighter category, the sophomore right winger found the net nine times in between knuckle-chuckings.
Daniel Carcillo, Phoenix (19 fights in ’07-08)
One of only two fighters amongst the 10 standing under six feet tall (Avery), he’s also the list’s second-most complete forward (again, Avery). It’s not beyond the realm of possibility he’ll develop into a 30-goal, 300-PIM beast.
Zack Stortini, Edmonton (23 fights in ’07-08)
Tied with Parros for third-most tilts in the NHL – in three less games – Stortini, 22, is another up-and-coming scrapper. If the Oil’s plethora of young offensive talent doesn’t excite you, maybe Stortini will do the trick.