Top Ten Tuesdays will be a weekly post in the off-season, celebrating the good and perhaps remembering the not so good of the past 18 seasons of Senators hockey.
First up, the top ten tough guys to wear a Senators jersey.
#10 – Troy Mallette
In parts of 3 seasons with the Senators, Mallette racked up 372 pim in 169 games. He had 26 fights in those years, against such heavyweights as Lyle Odelein, Donald Brashear and Craig Berube.
Here is a video of some of Troy’s “handiwork” vs. Reid Simpson of the Devils:
#9 – Denny Lambert
The Wawa, Ont native was only a Senator for 2 seasons, but he made the most of his 152 games. Lambert amassed 462 penalty minutes, including 43 fights (including 2 in the playoffs) against some of the league’s top heavyweights. His dance card included Wendel Clark, Jeff Odgers, Craig Berube and Louie Debrusk. He didn’t win a ton, but he gets credit for stepping up in weight class to take on some much larger foes.
#8 – Ray Emery
The only goalie to make the list, if he was a skater he would be ranked much higher. Due to lack of opportunity he comes in at #8. Many players have had two fights in one game, but rarely, if ever, has one had two fights on the same stoppage. Emery did, first fighting Martin Biron, and then Andrew Peters, smiling the entire time. This video never gets old:
#7 – Matt Carkner
In two seasons and 132 games as a Senator, the former second round pick of the Montreal Canadiens has amassed 326 PIM. He has had 36 fights including an ongoing rivalry with Toronto Maple Leafs pugilist Colton Orr, whom he has fought 6 times and counting. Donald Brashear, Eric Boulton, Andrew Peters and Scott Thornton are among those heavyweights he has tangled with. This is one of my favorite tilts with Colton Orr:
#6 – Dennis Vial
Vial spent four seasons in Ottawa from 1994-95 to 1997-98. In that time he fought 49 times, including 30 in the 1995-96 season. In 176 games, he amassed 625 penalty minutes. Vial fought the who’s who of NHL heavyweights, including Rob Ray 5 times, Chris Simon, Marty McSorley, Donald Brashear, and Rick Tocchet. One memorable night occurred on Dec 13, 1985 against the Kings, when Vial fought 3 times in one evening, fighting McSorley, Tocchet and then McSorley again. Here is a demonstration of Vial’s fists of fury in a tilt against Rob Ray.
#5 – Zdeno Chara
Big Z was a man among boys, and before he developed into a Norris trophy contender, he was a pugilist who didn’t fight often but made up for it in dominance. Ask Reitas Ivanans, whose face he caved in in one fight. His other dance partners included Gino Odjick, Darcy Hordichuk, Chris Simon and Peter Worrell multiple times. Sens fans will most likely remember this fight with Raggedy Andy Bryan McCabe the most:
#4 – Mike Peluso
In the first year of the franchise, there wasn’t much to cheer about on the ice. However, on player got fans out of their seats more than any, and he did his work with his fists. Peluso played one year for the Senators, amassing 318 penalty minutes with 24 fights. Here is a sample of Peluso at his best.
#3 – Andre Roy
Roy took over the enforcer duties from Vial, and he proceeded to fight 40 times for the Senators over 2 1/2 seasons. He put up 462 penalty minutes in 193 games. He took on the toughest around, and although his won/loss record wasn’t great, he was rarely soundly defeated. He fought Jody Shelley, PJ Stock, Paul Laus, Kelly Buchberger, Darron Langdon among others. He fought twice (Buchberger, Lapierriere) in the memorable brawl-filled game on Dec 20, 2001 against the LA Kings. This is his Buchberger scrap:
#2 – Brian McGrattan
McGrattan, aside from Chara, might be the most feared man on the list. He didn’t care who he fought, and he was willing to take a shot to give a shot, which made for some memorable bouts. He amassed 287 minutes in 143 games, including 37 fights. He took on all heavyweights, including Donald Brashear, Georges Laraque, Andrew Peters, Riley Cote and Reitas Ivanans. He even did the impossible, make Tie Domi bleed:
#1 – Chris Neil
He might not be the most dominant fighter on the list, but he shows up every time, takes on all comers. He has been doing it longer than any other Senator. Neil has dropped the gloves 124 times over his 9 seasons in Ottawa, including 3 playoff scraps. He has been through the wars, and his heart can never be questioned. At 6’1″, he isn’t a big man to have been doing this job for as long as he has. His dance card is too long to list, but safe to say the enforcers around the league that he hasn’t fought are few and far between. In choosing an example of his pugilistic prowess, check out the video from this past season as he taught Steve Downie a lesson.
***All videos are from youtube.com, via HockeyFights.com
Thanks for reading and as always, comments are welcomed.
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