Maybe you've had this conversation while watching a hockey game:
You: I HATE that guy! He's such a dirty little bitch! He's gonna get his ass kicked if he's not careful.
Wife/Ladyfriend/Partner (hey, we don't discriminate at Casual Hockey): Yeah, that guy is cheap. (Pause and silence. It's obvious she's thinking about something carefully. And then...) Do you think you could beat that guy in a fight?
My wife and I have had this talk no fewer than a dozen times. It's hard to say what the motive is behind this question. She could be asking an honest question, which implies she actually thinks I have a chance in hell fighting an NHL player. More likely, it's a backhanded attempt at calling me out for all my shit-talking, "You call that guy a little bitch, but he'd actually kill you in a hockey fight."
So, I try to put all sorts of conditions in on the fight, like, "If it was late in the game and the guy was at the end of a long shift, and he was blindfolded with one arm tied behind his back. Yeah. Then I could probably beat him in a fight." But generally, I'm pretty quick to say I'd get absolutely killed in a fight with a NHLer.
But that got me thinking. There have to be a few players in the league I could hang in there with. (Probably. I mean, right?).
Remember this is a hockey fight not a street fight. So that automatically gives me hope. In any case, this is the criteria you should use if you're interested in hockey fighting an NHLer:
- He should be smaller than you. Reach and size are a big advantage in a hockey fight.
- He should be European or French-Canadian. Look, I don't mean to offend, but I'm not going to fight some guy from Alberta who spent his summers loading grain trucks or something. Guys like that aren't soft. Guys from socialist Sweden are soft.
- He should average less than 30 PIMs per season and preferably never been in a fight in the NHL. A player averaging less than 30 PIMs is a skilled guy and its safe to say never mixes it up. His penalties are probably due to tripping or holding or some shit like that.
- Under no circumstances should you fight a defenseman. Defenseman are too tough and crafty. They know how to grind in the corners and battle in front of the net. They also know all of the dirtiest tricks in the book. Take Chris Chelios. Would I fight that guy even though he's almost 63? No way. I wouldn't even glance at him.
Alexi Yashin (Honorable Mention) - I thought Yashin would be the perfect guy to fight because he's the quintessential lazy Russian offensive player. He's not a physical player and averages just over 30 PIMs a season. He doesn't like to play defense (he's a career -81). You watch him play and you just know he's soft. Plus, a lot of people regard him as a doooosh, which I agree with. Plus plus, he wears a turtleneck when he plays (see pic). This fact alone almost convinced me I could take him.
The problem is twofold. First, he's 6'3" and 220, a significant size advantage over me. Second, I'm certain he has ties to the Russian mafia. I just don't want to get involved in any action like that. And if he beat me in a fight, eveyone would say, "You lost to a guy that wears a turtleneck." Then they'd shake their heads and say, "Get out of my sight!" And if he happened to break his hand on my face the Russian mafia would NOT be happy. I'd probably be shot after getting my ass kicked by Alexi Yashin. So, as you can see, it's lose-lose with Yashin.
Kristian Huselius (Honorable Mention) - I also briefly considered this guy. He plays for the Calgary Flames and not Team McDonalds as the pic indicates. Mostly, I considered this guy because of the picture. That and he's a Swede and he has no chin. Just look at him. Someone ought to fight him. Right?
Sedin Twins (Honorable Mention) - Just watch this. Please.
"Little" Pierre-Marc Bouchard (WINNER!) - This was a tough choice as PMB plays for the Wild. And I like the way he plays. But after crunching the numbers, PMB was the only logical choice. Here's the thing. He fits all of my NHL hockey fighting criteria. He's listed at 5'10" and 170lbs, which means he's more like 5'8" and 150. I can handle that. He has averaged about 20 PIMs a season, so he's not an aggressive player. I highly doubt he's been in a fight ever. And he's French-Canadian, which means he probably wasn't loading grain trucks in Alberta as a kid. Also, if you look at his picture, he just looks like a nice little guy. My wife calls him "Little PMB" and obviously this inspires confidence in me.
So that's it. I would drop the gloves with PMB. (Does it count if I pull a Matt Cooke and turtle right away?)