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
Cam Janssen vs. Jared Boll
In one of the most even fights of the week, Blue Jackets' winger Jared Boll got the best of his opponent Cam Janssen early, but the Blues' tough guy came on in the end to earn the split.
Kevin Bieksa vs. Aaron Voros
In the opening seconds of the second period last Wednesday, Anaheim’s Aaron Voros left the bench to fight Vancouver’s Kevin Bieksa. Not a good move by Voros. Not only did he get pounded into oblivion by Bieksa, he also got tossed from the game for leaving the bench.
Matt Carkner, Ottawa Senators
On Dec. 9 in Ottawa, Matt Carkner had no fear going up against “The Boogeyman.” After Derek Boogaard nailed Jesse Winchester with a clean open-ice hit, Carkner didn’t hesitate to drop the gloves with the Rangers’ ruffian, stunning the Broadway bully with a lethal right hand.
Trevor Gillies, New York Islanders
With the game tied 1-1 in the second period, Islanders tough guy Trevor Gillies tried to fire up his team last Thursday by dropping the gloves with Boston heavyweight Shawn Thornton. While Gillies held up his end of the bargain by wining his scrap, he wound up putting his face on the line for nothing, as the clueless club lost the game 5-2 to the Bruins.
Kyle Clifford, Los Angeles Kings
With his team down 1-0 to the Wild early in the second period Saturday night in L.A., Kyle Clifford gave the hometown crowd something to cheer about when he rocked Minnesota’s Brad Staubitz's world. After the two exchanged rights in the early going of the bout, Clifford surprised the 26-year-old winger by switching to his left hand, and landing four thunderous blows which sent Staubitz down for the count.
Ed Jovanovski, Phoenix Coyotes
Saturday night in Glendale, Ariz., Ed Jovanovski was his mean, old, nasty self in a 5-2 win over Dallas. Not only did the veteran backliner dish out one assist and three hits on his foes that night, Jovo also stood up for his teammate Eric Belanger after the Stars Brian Sutherby took a run at him along the sideboards.
Eric Nystrom vs. Wayne Simmonds
On Dec. 11 in L.A., the Kings Wayne Simmonds and the Wild's Eric Nystrom put on quite a show for the Hollywood crowd in the closing minutes of the second period. From the opening seconds of the match, each scrappy forward was swinging for the fences hoping to knock the block off of his opponent.
John Scott, Chicago Blackhawks
Monday’s first period between Chicago and Colorado had a little bit of everything. The two teams combined to throw 22 shots at the starting goalies with six of the chances finding the back of the net. But the highlight of the period came with 1:43 left in the first when Chicago’s John Scott kicked the bejeezus out of Colorado's David Koci after the ‘Hawks’ Bryan Bickell tied the game at three.
Eric Godard, Pittsburgh Penguins
With his team down 4-0 to the Penguins last Wednesday, Toronto’s Jay Rosehill took a run at Pittsburgh super star Sidney Crosby in the third period. Before Rosehill knew what happened, Pens’ tough guy Eric Godard took matters into his own hands and pummeled the young Maple Leafs’ defender.
Brandon Dubinsky, New York Rangers
Brandon Dubinsky was a huge part of the Rangers laying the smack down on the Washington Capitals Sunday night at MSG. New York’s feisty forward picked up a "Gordie Howe" hat trick in the 7-0 thumping of the Caps, which included Dubinsky dropping the gloves with Alex Ovechkin after the Washington captain landed a crunching hip check on Dan Girardi.