If you’re going to have someone whose only purpose is fighting, they might as well be good at it. The Flames have had goons like Andre Roy, Brian McGrattan, Krzystof Oliwa and Raitis Ivanans – some seriously bad dudes (and I don’t just mean their hockey skills).
Career fights, of everyone with at least 10 fights going into this season, including regular season, pre-season and post-season (a fight’s a fight).
Fighter NHL AHL Total Raitis Ivanans 68 55 123 Tim Jackman 64 56 120 Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond 20 83 103 Guillaume Desbiens 5 75 80 Tom Kostopoulos 63 15 78 Jarome Iginla 57 0 57 Cory Sarich 37 0 37 Stefen Mayer 7 27 34 Olli Jokinen 28 0 28 Curtis Glencross 10 16 26 Mark Giordano 11 7 18
Let’s look at their top five fighters, two of which are NHL-caliber hockey players, the other three … not so much.
33 years old, 6’4”, 240 lbs
NHL Record: 28-15-15
Fighting probability: 21.1%
Wins: Parros (x4), Shelley (x3), Gratton (x2), Rupp (x2), Stortini (x2), Fedoruk (x2), Norton, Roy, Carcillo, Laraque, McLeod, Lucic, Keefe, Barch, Staubitz, Koci, Brookbank, Carter, Jacques, Rechlicz
Losses: Boogaard (x3), Laraque (x2), MacIntyre (x2), Chara, Koci, Shelley, Norton, King, Pyatt, Stortini, Thorburn,
Draws: Parros (x2), McGrattan (x2), Bissonnette (x2), Winchester, Koci, Shelley, Boll, Walker, Staubitz, Eager, Thornton, Konopka
Opened 5-7-2 in 2006-07, losing twice to Boogaard and Laraque, but is a mighty 23-7-13 since then, including a win over Laraque (but another loss to Boogaard).
Favourite opponents: He’s 4-0-2 against George Parros, 3-1-1 against Jody Shelley, 2-0-0 against Josh Gratton, Michael Rupp and Todd Fedoruk.
Scores to settle: 0-2-0 against Steve MacIntyre, 0-0-2 against Brian McGrattan and Paul Bissonette, 1-1-1 against David Koci,
26 years old, 6’2” 210 lbs
NHL Record: 6-5-7
AHL Record: 33-11-14
Fighting probability: 35.2%
Wins: Clackson, Cote, Asham, Janssen, Rosehill, Konopka
Losses: Brashear, Cote, Thornton, Shelley (x2)
Draws: Cote, Winchester, Henley, Gillies, Boll, Walker, Carlson
Leblond fights the heavyweights, and can generally keep his own, with wins over Asham, Janssen and Konopka, and a tie with Gillies and Boll.
Favourite Opponents: 1-1-1 against Riley Cote. Also Matt Clackson and Tom Sestito, 3-0-0 in the AHL, and Joel Rechlicz, 3-1-1.
Scores to settle: 0-2 against Jody Shelley, and in the AHL Brad Staubitz, 0-2-1.
30 years old, 6’4” 220 lbs
NHL Record: 19-23-16
Fighting probability: 14.9%
Wins: Montador, Sydor, Glass, Schultz, Stewart, Conboy, Smaby, Deveaux, Bradley, Thorburn, Desbiens, Murray, Hale, Corrente, Hnidy, Oreskovich, Vandermeer, Hendricks, Strudwick
Losses: Clowe (x4), Asham (x2), Engelland (x2), Davison, May, Clarkson, Reich, Mair, Lecavalier, Salvador, Neil, Thornton, Montador, Gaustad, Eager, Boll, Staubitz, Liffiton
Draws: Laperriere, Fitzpatrick, Moreau, Stortini, Gleason, Oreskovic, Thorburn, Salvador, Thornton, Semenov, Hnidy, Davison, Clarkson, Rupp, Clifford, Glass, Peckham
Started off 0-6-2 before his first win over Steve Montador in January 2008. Is a relatively average fighter since then, rarely taking on heavyweights and winning about half of conclusive fights.
Favourite Opponents: 1-1 against Steve Montador, 1-0-1 against Tanner Glass and Chris Thorburn
Scores to settle: 0-4-0 against Ryan Clowe, 0-2-0 against Arron Asham and Deryk Engelland, 0-1-1 against Rob Davison, David Clarkson, Bryce Salvador, Shawn Thornton
26 years old, 6’3” 216 lbs
NHL Record: 1-2-1
AHL Record: 13-19-11
Fighting probability: 18.6%
Losses: Jackman, Stoner
Most of Desbiens fighting experience has been in the AHL and ECHL, where he has fought Matt Pelech, Ryan Reaves, Kenndal McArdle, Brad May, J.D. Watt, Nolan Yonkman, Matt Kassian, Ryan Flinn, D.J. King, Brandon Prust, and Ryan Donally.
33 years old, 6’0” 200 lbs
NHL Record: 2-36-13
Fighting probability: 8.7%
Wins: Bieksa, Ott
Losses: Konopka (x3), Asham (x2), Artyukhin (x2), Mayers (x2), Carcillo, Janssen, Nystrom, Voros, Laperriere, Corrente, Sauer, Clarkson, Rechlicz, Rivet, Eager, Stuart, Hnidy, Boll, Reich, O’Brien, Brookbank, Gratton, Tollefsen, Bell, Richmond, Sarich, Moen, Morrow, Beauchemin, Allison, Ward
Draws: Mayers (x2), Sauer, Campbell, Wilson, Welch, Adams, Alberts, Barch, Laperriere, Glumac, Smith, Rossiter
One of the league’s worst fighters, even against middle-weights.
Favourite Opponents: 1-0-0 against Kevin Bieksa and Steve Ott, two great fighters oddly enough.
Scores to settle: 0-3 against Konopka, 0-2 against Asham and Artyukhin, 0-2-2 against Jamal Mayers, 0-1-1 against Kurt Sauer.
The Calgary Flames have two effective fighters on their team, as both Raitis Ivanans and Pierre-Luc Leblond can take on heavyweights and, in the former’s case, beat them more often than not. Of course, Ivanans may be forever neutered as an NHL enforcer by the concussion he suffered versus MacIntyre last year and he’s currently plying his trade in the AHL as a result.
Players like Tim Jackman and Guillaume Desbiens can step in to fight when games get hot, but shouldn’t really be dressed expressly for their fighting. Tom Kostopoulos shouldn’t fight at all, unless they’re up against the Peoria Paper Bags.