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
Trevor Gillies vs. Paul Bissonnette
In a game between the Islanders and Coyotes on Dec. 18, it didn't two NHL heavyweights, Trevor Gillies and Paul Bissonnette, long at all before they were throwing punches at each other's mugs. The two NHL tough guys dropped their gloves on their very first shifts, with Gillies landing the more lethal blows in the 1:15 scrap.
Jared Boll, Columbus Blue Jackets
It didn't take Jared Boll long at all to jack Calgary's Tim Jackman Tuesday night in Columbus. The feisty Blue Jackets' forward only needed 30 seconds and a few formidable right crosses to dispose of his dance partner.
Eric Boulton, Atlanta Thrashers
Atlanta toughie Eric Boulton used his hands to help the Thrashers trounce the Washington Capitals last Saturday night at Philips Arena, but not in the way you'd expect an NHL pugilist to contribute. Boulton gets paid a good penny to send the opposition home with their tails between their legs each night. Amazingly enough, Boulton did just that on Dec. 18 without dropping his gloves by recording his first career NHL hat trick in Atlanta's 7-1 pasting of the lowly New Jersey Devils.
Deryk Engelland, Pittsburgh Penguins
Monday night in Pittsburgh, Deryk Engelland added injury to insult when he knocked Coyotes forward Taylor Pyatt into La La Land with a thunderous right that landed flush on the winger's chin.
Tom Sestito, Columbus Blue Jackets
Last week, Flames' veteran Robyn Regehr got an early Christmas present from Columbus youngster Tom Sestito when the Blue Jackets' winger handed him a beating at Nationwide Arena. Sestito was a busy boy last week, squaring off three times in four games for the Jackets and picking up 29 penalty minutes along the way.
Dale Weise, New York Rangers
New York's Dale Weise only played 6:43 in his NHL debut on Dec. 18 in Philadelphia, but that didn’t stop the 22-year old from making an impression. In his first game for the Rangers last week, Weise not only took on and beat one tough customer in Daniel Carcillo, he also came thisclose to scoring his first NHL goal. Weise's apparent first goal of his NHL career was disallowed after the referees went to the video tape to determine if the young winger used a distinct kicking motion to bury the biscuit in the basket.
Colton Orr, Toronto Maple Leafs
On Dec. 14, Toronto's Colton Orr laid the smack down on Edmonton's Zack Stortini but good. The Maple Leafs' enforcer rendered Stortini battered and bruised in the 1:45 bout, landing bomb after bomb on the Oilers' winger.
Jamal Mayers, San Jose Sharks
The Blues and Sharks were at each other's throats from the opening draw Saturday night in St. Louis. The two teams dropped the mitts three times in the opening period, with the best bout taking place at the 18:18 mark when San Jose toughie Jamal Mayers rocked Brad Winchester's world.
Mike Cammalleri vs. David Krejci
Two unexpected combatants, Mike Cammalleri and David Krejci, went toe-to-toe last week in a heated Northeast Division clash between the Canadiens and Bruins. Neither NHLer had knocked knuckles in their respective careers before last Thursday's skirmish. When all was said and done, Krejci wound up winning the battle while Cammalleri and the Habs won the war 4-3.
Sheldon Brookbank vs. Trevor Gillies
Two NHL enforcers, Islanders Trevor Gillies and Anaheim's Sheldon Brookbank, earned their keep last week when they came together in defense of their teammates. Brookbank was about to rearrange the face of New York's Matt Martin for landing a suspect hit on his teammate, Andreas Lilja, in the first period. But Gillies wasn't going to let that happen on his watch. The 6-foot-3, 225-pound brute sent Brookbank to his knees by landing an assortment of overhand lefts and upper cuts in the 60-second scuffle.