Week 11 Tough Guy Tracker
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 his
teammates, but will also play through and dish out pain or a
game-changing check whenever his team needs him to do so. In the
heat of the battle, sometimes players not known for their toughness
get in on the action and either turn some heads or get their heads
Each Wednesday, FOXSports.com’s NHL Tough Guy Tracker will
spotlight those players and some of the best scraps from around the
10. In one shift on Dec. 9, Tampa Bay’s Steve
Downie managed to get under the skin of just about every Edmonton
Oilers player that was on the ice. He started things off by
tripping Steve Staios, then, during the delayed penalty call,
Downie ran Robert Nilsson into the boards, which prompted Ladislav
Smid and Ryan Stone to converge on him after the whistle. Stone
wound up taking a seat in the penalty box across from Downie after
laying the smack down on the pesky Lightning forward.
9. It didn’t take Calgary’s Brandon Prust very
long to hunt down Cam Janssen of the St. Louis Blues. The Calgary
enforcer missed 30 games last year with a broken jaw courtesy of a
vicious Janssen elbow so payback was in order. Prust didn’t waste
any time on Dec. 15. In his first shift, he challenged and dropped
the gloves with Janssen but when all was said and done, Janssen
landed more rights than Prust.
8. After hitting Calgary’s Mark Giordano from
behind, Colorado’s Cody McLeod got a face full of Jarome Iginla.
The Flames’ captain not only nailed McLeod with a hit of his own
but also dropped the gloves in an instant in defense of his
7. It takes a lot of guts and toughness to earn a
living as an NHL enforcer, but you don’t have to have an ounce of
toughness to blindside an unsuspecting player. Colorado tough guy
David Koci did just that Monday night in Denver when he railroaded
Mike Green behind the Washington net late in the second period.
John Erskine got right in Koci’s face after the cheap shot, but
unfortunately for the Caps’ Koci took him down too.
6. Vancouver’s Rick Rypien went tree chopping the
other night in a game against Atlanta. The 5-foot-10 forward
chopped Atlanta’s 6-foot-7 defenseman Boris Valabik down to size in
an entertaining scrap on Dec. 10 at General Motors Place.
5. Right after St. Louis took a 2-0 lead on
Edmonton in the second period Friday night, Jean-Francois Jacques
tried to get his team going by dropping the gloves with the
Blues’ B.J. Crombeen on the ensuing faceoff. While Jacques
lost the spirited bout to Crombeen, the Oilers mounted a miraculous
comeback by scoring four goals in the third period to skate away
with a 5-3 come-from-behind road victory.
4. On Dec. 8 in Anaheim, Ducks’ captain Scott
Niedermayer crushed Stars’ center Mike Modano two minutes into
overtime, preventing the veteran forward from setting up a scoring
chance in the offensive zone. The Ducks put the game away a little
over two minutes later when Saku Koivu netted his fourth goal of
3. Atlanta’s Colby Armstrong picked the wrong guy
to sideswipe into the boards last Wednesday night in Calgary. After
Curtis Glencross got up from the hit, the Flames’ winger beat the
living daylights out of Armstrong.
2. On Friday, Minnesota’s Derek Boogaard doused
two Flames in one shift. First, the Wild winger took out Brandon
Prust with a clean open-ice hit to the right of the Minnesota cage.
Then Boogaard took down Brian McGrattan with two solid rights to
the side of the head after the Calgary forward came to the defense
1. Edmonton’s Zach Stortini just about
single-handedly beat the Lightning last Wednesday night in Tampa
Bay. Stortini not only dropped the gloves twice in that game, he
also picked up an assist and buried the game-winner in the Oilers’
3-2 road victory.