WAM! BAM! Thank you, man! An NHL tough guy isn't necessarily someone who goes out and beats the snot out of an opponent every night. Sure, goons like that still exist in the league, but an NHL tough guy is more than that. He is a player who will not only stand up for himself and/or his teammates, but will also play through and dish out pain or a game-changing check whenever his team needs him to do so. Each Wednesday, FOXSports.com's NHL Tough Guy Tracker will spotlight those players and some of the best scraps from around the league. — Punch Imback
Jared Boll vs. Michael Rupp
The Penguins may have beaten up the Blue Jackets on the scoreboard last Saturday, but Jared Boll made sure the hometown fans had something to cheer about when he bested Pittsburgh’s Michael Rupp in a close second-period bout. Boll took a few chopping rights from Rupp before landing a series of jersey jabs and rights to take the fight.
Jody Shelley vs. Shawn Thornton
With his team trailing by a pair of goals at home against Boston, Philly bully Jody Shelley tried to get his team and the crowd into the contest by knocking knuckles with Shawn Thornton. The two NHL tough guys didn’t disappoint, as they emptied their tanks in the even-Steven scrap.
John Scott vs. Cam Janssen
On Nov. 30 Chicago’s “Big John” Scott used his reach to lay the smack down on Blues’ enforcer Cam Janseen. But give Janssen some credit, the smaller scraper did a heck of a job going toe-to-toe with a guy that’s almost a foot taller than and 50 pounds heavier him.
Colton Orr, Toronto Maple Leafs
For the second time in less than a month, Toronto’s Colton Orr dominated Washington’s D.J. King in a fight. With his team down 3-1 to the Caps on Dec. 6, Orr tried to light a fire under his team by taking on and destroying one of Washington’s toughest customers.
Paul Bissonnette, Phoenix Coyotes
Paul Bissonnette quickly dropped Ducks’ enforcer George Parros on his doorstep. On Dec. 5 in Anaheim, the Coyotes’ toughie disposed of his rough and tough dance partner in a mere 20 seconds in front of an unhappy crowd at the Honda Center.
Arron Asham vs. Chris Thorburn
It didn’t take Pittsburgh’s Arron Asham and Atlanta’s Chris Thorburn long to get the CONSOL Energy Center rocking last Thursday. The two combatants dropped the gloves 1:51 into the contest, with the smaller Asham landing the better of the blows in the 43-second bash.
Shawn Thornton, Boston Bruins
After watching Toronto call-up Jay Rosehill hit everyone in sight on one first-period shift, Boston’s Shawn Thornton took matters into his own hands — or should I say, fists — Saturday night at the ACC. The veteran pugilist schooled the rookie in the heated battle, landing right after right on Rosehill’s cranium.
Derek Boogaard, New York Rangers
On Dec. 2, the Boogeyman made his presence known at the Nassau Coliseum 3:24 into the first period when the Rangers enforcer took on and beat the snot out of Islanders’ tough guy Trevor Gillies. After a faceoff just outside the Isles’ blue line, Boogaard just about took Gillies’ face off by landing a series of serious haymakers and upper cuts on the rugged left winger.
B.J. Crombeen, St. Louis Blues
After the Blackhawks took a four-goal lead in the second period on the Blues, B.J. Crombeen tried to change the momentum of the game by challenging Chicago’s Nick Boynton right off a center-ice draw. The fracas was all even until the very end when Crombeen landed a thunderous right to the side of Boynton’s head, which knocked the defender loopy.
Patrick Kaleta, Buffalo Sabres
Last Friday night in Buffalo, Patrick Kaleta turned Blue Jackets’ winger Derek Dorsett into a punching bag after the feisty Columbus winger shoved Thomas Vanek, the Sabres’ leading goal scorer, near the Buffalo bench. Kaleta brought the HSBC Arena crowd to its feet when he pounded Dorsett with a boatload of lefts that had Dorsett ducking for cover.