BoltProspects Community Forums  

Go Back   BoltProspects Community Forums > Hockey Talk > Channelside

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 03-03-2013, 11:49 AM
KyleFreadrich43's Avatar
KyleFreadrich43 KyleFreadrich43 is offline
Curtis McElhinney's Game Worn Jersey
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 2,170
Default My Tampa Bay Lightning's top 10 Enforcers/Fighters

Since someone had asked

This is my opinion, and by no means a list of the "best" fighters in Lightning history, but I doubt I left few out. I ranked this both by players ability to fight, willingness to stand up for his teammates, salted with certain favoritism.

1. Rudy Poeschek - 213 GP, 5+16= 21, 418 PIM's (47 Fights)

Rudy joined the Lightning via Free Agency on 8/12/1993. He was a versatile player, able to play both wing and defense. Poeschek was always there for his teammates, weather it be to protect them, avenge them, or to get them fired up. Had multiple fights with both Rob Ray of Buffalo and Paul Laus of Florida, fighting each player 4 times. Rudy had more than a few memorable fights over his tenure with Tampa Bay, including wars versus Bob Probert, Craig Berube, Marty McSorley and the aforementioned Paul Laus. Poeschek helped the Lightning earn their arena's name of Thunderdome, their home from 1993-1996. Rudy also attempted a brief comeback bid with the Lightning in the 02-03 preseason.

+ YouTube Video
ERROR: If you can see this, then YouTube is down or you don't have Flash installed.


2. Enrico Ciccone - 135 GP, 5+9= 14, 604 PIM's (32 Fights)

"Chico" has played for the Lightning on two separate occasions. The first time, he was acquired from Washington, along with a 3rd round pick for Joe Reekie and future considerations on 3/21/1994. The second, on 3/17/1998 from Vancouver for Jamie Huscroft. Ciccone had a quick temper and a short fuse. His eagerness to get involved on his teammates behalf, sometimes led to him sitting in the penalty box a little longer than he had hoped. One, in a spotted line of fan favorites, that kept the games interesting during a time when management didn't have the same interest. Enrico had a solid fight against Luke Richardson of Philadelphia, and a TKO of Jamie Huscroft with Boston.

+ YouTube Video
ERROR: If you can see this, then YouTube is down or you don't have Flash installed.


3. Andre Roy - 218 GP, 17+14= 31, 484 PIM's (44 Fights)

Andre is another on this list that has made more than one stop in Tampa Bay. He first arrived from Ottawa on 3/15/2002 with Ottawa's 6th round pick (Paul Ranger) for Juha Ylonen. He signed with the Penguins after not being re-signed by the Lightning after the lockout in 04-05. After a full season and a few games at the beginning of 06-07, he was claimed off waivers from Pittsburgh 12/2/2006. Coach Tortarella's misuse of him and subsequent confrontations, led to Roy being let go at the end of both of his stints with the Lightning. Roy was about as entertaining OFF the ice as ON it, sometimes more. He was cut from the same cloth as Ciccone, with the ability to play the game, but the lack of self control to do it regularly. He would allow his temper to interrupt his effectiveness at times. Though he never really had any decisive wins, that didn't stop him from sticking up for his teammates or trying to get them motivated. He had running rivalries with both Riley Cote and Donald Brashear in Philadelphia, Brashear would continue his while in Washington.

+ YouTube Video
ERROR: If you can see this, then YouTube is down or you don't have Flash installed.


4. Kyle Freadrich - 23 GP, 0+1= 1, 75 PIM's (8 Fights)

Ah, what could have been. Kyle was signed as a free agent by the Lightning on 7/16/1999. He was first noticed when he was brought to the infamous Traverse City rookie tournament. Florida and Montreal had come to fight, and Kyle was Tampa Bay's only answer. Oddly enough, one of his fights in a game vs Montreal, was against future teammate Gordie Dwyer. At 6'7 260 lbs, his job coming into camp would be to see if he could effectively be Tampa Bay's enforcer. He was among three players being given a shot, with Alek Stojanov and Doug Doull being the others. Doull was the first to be eliminated, as he challenged Freadrich and was eliminated with a right hand that could be heard in the upper viewing area of the Ice Sports Forum. The next day, Doull was promptly sent to the Lightning's IHL farm team, the Detroit Vipers. Next was Stojanov, Kyle never had to drop a single glove to get his point across to Alek. Stojanov thought he'd get noticed by attempting to goad Vinny Lecavalier into a fight, Freadrich skated over to them, shoved Stojanov, and that was the last anyone bothered Vinny. Freadrich's first fight in a Lightning uniform, was in the preseason against Chicago's Reid Simpson, a player the Tampa Bay would acquire later to fill the enforcer role. But at the end of the day, Freadrich was deemed too slow to play at the NHL level, and was assigned to the ECHL's Louisiana Ice Gators. He was recalled to the IHL's Vipers, and quickly made a name for himself. This was noticed in Tampa Bay, who at the time, was icing the aforementioned Dwyer and Simpson, but neither was effective. On Kyle's first recall, he fought the then heavyweight champ George Laraque of the Oilers, and earned a draw in front of his family who attended his debut in Edmonton. He would fluctuate in and out of the lineup, depending on the other teams roster, including being sent back down to Detroit. When he was recalled the second time, he made a name for himself that some Lightning fans and all fight fans would not soon forget, when he met up with Chcicago's Ryan VandenBussche. Kyle would appear in one more game that season against Ottawa, beating future Lightning enforcer Andre Roy.

His second season would be much like the first. He was brought to training camp to win the job, but suffered a shoulder injury during a scrimmage and was limited to skating with the other injured Lightning players. He was assigned to Detroit and made appearances during a couple of call ups to the Lightning. He was most effective in his games against the Panthers, where he would be used to counter Peter Worrell, who had a habit of picking on the smaller Tampa Bay players. Freadrich suffered the same fate as many of his ilk under Tortarella and was relegated to being traded. Sadly, while still with the Vipers during a game against Cleveland, Nick Naumenko would hit Kyle with a flagrant elbow, that would leave him with a concussion and eventually end his hockey career.

+ YouTube Video
ERROR: If you can see this, then YouTube is down or you don't have Flash installed.


5. Zenon Konopka 81 GP, 2+4= 6, 294 PIM's (38 Fights)

Konopka was signed as a free agent on 7/10/2008. In 09-10, "Z" would have more fights in that one season, than most players have in their entire time with the Lightning. For his size, he was by far one of the more feisty players in the NHL. At 6' and a little over 200 lbs, he was more than just a "pest". His card included light heavy to middleweight fighters such as Arron Asham, Matt Corrente, Aaron Voros, Scott Walker and Rick Rypien. Though he stayed in his weight class, he was more than willing to fight heavyweights if the situation called for it, as shown by fights with Joel Rechlicz, Eric Boulton, Raitis Ivanans, and Zach Stortini. The results of the fights were never the point for Zenon, his point was to send a message, and that was, to him, size didn't matter. Once being allowed regular playing time, he was not only a checking forward, but had also become quite adept at faceoff's. The coaches eventually had no qualms about putting him on the ice in crunch time when they needed a faceoff win, or to be a back up if another player was tossed from the circle. But, as seems to be the norm for the Lightning, whenever a fighter has any success or gets a fan base in Tampa Bay, they either trade them or let them walk. Zenon would be signed by the NY Islanders during the 10-11 offseason.

+ YouTube Video
ERROR: If you can see this, then YouTube is down or you don't have Flash installed.
__________________
"I don't want to call him scared, but Worrell always seemed to avoid me." -Kyle Freadrich

Last edited by KyleFreadrich43; 03-03-2013 at 11:51 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 03-03-2013, 11:51 AM
KyleFreadrich43's Avatar
KyleFreadrich43 KyleFreadrich43 is offline
Curtis McElhinney's Game Worn Jersey
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 2,170
Default

6. Chris Gratton 482 GP, 98+161= 259, 828 PIM's (34 Fights)

Chris Gratton has the distinction of being one of the few players to play with one team on three different occasions. He was drafted 3rd overall by Tampa Bay in the 1993 Entry Draft, but it wasn't how he arrived that would have the hockey world talking, it would be how he left. His name will forever be linked to the "blurry fax". Stemming from Philadelphia signing him to an offer sheet, during the same time Tampa Bay had agreed to trade his rights to the Chicago Blackhawks. An arbitrator deemed the fax legible, and therefor legally binding, negating the trade with Chicago. Gratton signed officially was allowed to sing with the Flyers, and the Lightning received four first

round picks as compensation. But in typical Lightning fashion, they blundered a good situation, rather than keeping the picks, who turned out to be (Simon Gagne, Maxime Ouellet, Justin Williams and Jeff Woywitka), they in turn, sent the picks back to Philadelphia in exchange for Mikael Renberg and Karl Dykhuis. Gratton, after being blamed for Eric Lindros' lack of production, by his parents, was traded back to the Lightning after a season and a half with the Flyers. Later on in his career, Chris would make his third and final appearance for the Lightning after being acquired from the Florida Panthers for a 2nd round pick.

I have Gratton on this list more for his accomplishment wearing the "C", than being a legit fighter. He knew his job and what it meant to be the leader. For whatever reason, the Lightning management mishandled him from the start, and he was never able to reach his full potential. He had solid showings against Matthew Barnaby, Brendan Witt, Jeff Odgers, and Eric Cairns to name a few.

+ YouTube Video
ERROR: If you can see this, then YouTube is down or you don't have Flash installed.


7. Gordie Dwyer 78 GP, 0+4= 4, 291 PIM's (35 Fights)

Gordie Dwyer was acquired from Montreal on 11/26/1999 for future pedophile Mike McBain. Dwyer, who is probably best remembered for leaving the penalty box and going batshit crazy as a linesman tried to keep him from getting at Washington Capital players, and earning a 23 game suspension. Had the same characteristics as Ciccone and Roy, but a little less talent and ability to use them. Gordie didn't shy away from any player, weather it was Krzystof Oliwa, Sheldon Souray, Darcy Hordichuk or the immortalized Bob Probert. He would spend most of his career shuttling back and forth between Tampa Bay and the Detroit Vipers of the NHL. Like some players before him, he has become a head coach at the junior level, going 19-43-0-6 in his first season. But in his second season, his PEI Rocket have improved their record through 62 games, to 35-23-3-1 while earning a playoff spot.

+ YouTube Video
ERROR: If you can see this, then YouTube is down or you don't have Flash installed.


8. Brantt Myhres 62 GP, 5+1= 6, 217 PIM's (17 Fights)

Myhres was an inaugural season 5th round pick. He would be a brief part of what would be considered Tampa Bay's first "rivalry" in the NHL with the Philadelphia Flyers. Playing on a roster that would include Gratton, Wiemer, Ciccarelli, Igor Ulanov, Poeschek, and Jamie Huscroft, they were one of the few teams that could stand up to the Flyers. Had a great pair of fights with the Flyers Dan Kordic, where they exchanged TKO's of one another. He also had good fights against Mark Janssens, Marty McSorley, and Stephane Quintal. Brantt was unceremoniously moved to Edmonton, due to some rumored "off ice" incidents.

+ YouTube Video
ERROR: If you can see this, then YouTube is down or you don't have Flash installed.



9a. Sandy McCarthy 81 GP, 5+12= 17, 206 PIM's (14 Fights)
9b. Andrei nazarov 40 GP, 3+1= 4, 101 PIM's (8 Fights)

Brought in along with Andrei Nazarov during one of the Lightning's "need for
toughness" moments. Though neither had long career's for the Lightning, both served as important pieces for the Lightning's future success. Sandy was dealt to Tampa Bay by the Calgary Flames with Curtis Rich and a 3rd round pick for Jason Wiemer.

Nazarov, was acquired from San Jose for Bryan Marchment and David Shaw. Along with that deal, was a stipulation, that Tampa Bay could either keep their own 1st rounder, or trade for Florida's first round pick that San Jose had previously acquired, which ever was higher. Those 2 picks turned into Vinny Lecavalier and Brad Richards. That being said, McCarthy had more playing talent than Nazarov, and was elected to play wing for Lecavlier during his rookie season. Not only did he help protect the future captain, but also had the honor of assisting on Vinny's first career goal.

When Sandy showed up, he made a statement his first game, challenging then heavyweight champion Tony Twist and earning a draw. He fought all of the tough guys the league had to offer, Twist, Worell, Johnson, Oliwa, Grimson and Laus to name a few. His time in Tampa Bay was short lived as he was traded to Philadelphia along with Mikael Andersson for Colin Forbes and a conditional pick.

Nazarov, was responsible for starting one of the bigger brawls in Lightning history when he decided to sucker punch Philadelphia Flyer, now Tampa Bay assistant coach Daniel Lacroix. He split Lacroix open just over his left eye, a cut which Darcy Tucker would open even further when the 2 fought. the teams were squared off with even the goalies Mark Fitzpatrick and Sean Burke coming together if no other reason to keep the other from getting involved. Later that night, Eric Lindros and some other Flyers would threaten Nazarov while he was leaving the arena with his girlfriend.

+ YouTube Video
ERROR: If you can see this, then YouTube is down or you don't have Flash installed.
+ YouTube Video
ERROR: If you can see this, then YouTube is down or you don't have Flash installed.


10 Louie DeBrusk 54 GP, 1+2= 3, 166 PIM's (19 Fights)

Louie was signed by the Lightning on 8/26/1997. He joined a team that had Mick Vukota as their main enforcer. He was assigned to the San Antonio Dragons of the IHL DeBrusk made his first appearance with Tampa Bay in November and remained with the team for the rest of the season. Another in a long line of in one year, out the next enforcers for the Lightning, Debrusk accepted all invitations. Having fights with Eric Cairns, Ryan VandenBussche, Marty McSorley, and Scott Daniels. Louie was later traded during the offseason on 6/11/1998 with a 5th round pick to Phoenix for Craig Janney.

+ YouTube Video
ERROR: If you can see this, then YouTube is down or you don't have Flash installed.
__________________
"I don't want to call him scared, but Worrell always seemed to avoid me." -Kyle Freadrich
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 03-03-2013, 02:29 PM
njbolt12's Avatar
njbolt12 njbolt12 is offline
Bingo Bob's Intermission Contest
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: NJ
Posts: 1,736
Send a message via AIM to njbolt12
Default

This is a really great, informative writeup. Couple comments:

I think Andre Roy was highly underrated (perhaps not in fighting ability, but in his value to the team on and off the ice and as a fighter who could play without being a liability). Yes, he lost control sometimes, but I thought Torts was way too hard on him after the Cote incident. Mary and Vinny immediately went public about how they wanted him with the team.

I'll always love Zenon Konopka for beating David Steckel's skull like a snare drum in the game where Alex Ovechkin was emasculated by having to have his teammate (Hendricks?) rush to be the third man in against a much smaller (than pudgy OV) Steve Downie.

Sandy McCarthy was somewhat of a favorite of mine... I do remember his beauty feed for Vinny's first.

Learned a lot more about your namesake. He seems like a modern day John Scott. I began to follow the Lightning in the late 90s and didn't know his whole story, tbh.

Gratton was definitely mishandled (common thread with prospects throughout the team's history). I didn't know those multiple draft picks turned into Simon Gagne and Justin Williams... wow... although we probably would have picked Nikita Alexeev's cousins with them

Speaking of Flyers connections, I wish Nazarov would have actually fought Lindros in the parking lot that night

This list kind of makes me want R2 back. Not that you'd consider him a true enforcer, but he was pretty good as a shit disturber, and also effective in: (at least) challenging Chara, destroying Alex Tanguay's shoulder (glad he did after Tanguay sucked so bad here), and beating people with their helmets like Mike Millbury with a shoe. Shame he got penalized for being the strongest guy in the league sometimes.

Also surprised you left such celebrated pugilists as Chris Dingman, David Koci, and recently... B.J. Crombeen, off your list. Honorable mentions?

Enjoyed your writeup. Thanks Fready!
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 03-03-2013, 03:59 PM
mustang mustang is offline
John Tortorella's Doghouse
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 366
Default

Much appreciated, a very enjoyable read - thanks for putting this together.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 03-03-2013, 04:07 PM
ChaseSpace's Avatar
ChaseSpace ChaseSpace is offline
Cooper's Law
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Williston, FL
Posts: 4,655
Default

I do remember the first year I started following hockey(and the Lightning), I came on during the last third of Stamkos' rookie season and my first full season was Hedman's rookie year. I loved watching Knopper and Downie patrol the ice looking for people to hurt. Never understood why they let Knopper go, while he wasn't amazing he was an effective grinder who would do terrible things to the other team if you let him off his leash.
__________________
Gudas Priest
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 03-03-2013, 04:11 PM
KyleFreadrich43's Avatar
KyleFreadrich43 KyleFreadrich43 is offline
Curtis McElhinney's Game Worn Jersey
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 2,170
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by njbolt12 View Post
Learned a lot more about your namesake. He seems like a modern day John Scott. I began to follow the Lightning in the late 90s and didn't know his whole story, tbh.
Scott has had it easy during his time in the league, he disappeared from hockey after his 01-02 season in the NHL, resurfacing in the AHL with the Wild's Houston Aeros in 06-07. He didn't have to fight his way through the WHL, not fight all the upper echelon fighters, up until this season, he's pretty much fought Koci 3 times, and Kevin Westgarth once. The rest are lesser fighters or not true heavyweight fighters.

Quote:
Speaking of Flyers connections, I wish Nazarov would have actually fought Lindros in the parking lot that night
He might of, if there weren't 3-4 other Flyers with him

Quote:
This list kind of makes me want R2 back. Not that you'd consider him a true enforcer, but he was pretty good as a shit disturber, and also effective in: (at least) challenging Chara, destroying Alex Tanguay's shoulder (glad he did after Tanguay sucked so bad here), and beating people with their helmets like Mike Millbury with a shoe. Shame he got penalized for being the strongest guy in the league sometimes.
I've never appreciated a "tough guy" who wears a visor, especially if they don't take it off to fight. He reminded me of guys like Samuelsson and Pilon. No respect for those players.

Quote:
Also surprised you left such celebrated pugilists as Chris Dingman, David Koci, and recently... B.J. Crombeen, off your list. Honorable mentions?

Enjoyed your writeup. Thanks Fready!
My honorable mentions would have to be guys like Downie, Barnaby and Darcy Tucker. They were all smaller guys, but did their job and would have been more successful if they had someone watching their backs.

Dingman was a better player than he was anything else, having watched him since his Calgary/Colorado days, his willingness to fight was admirable, but his ability to do more than wrestle was deplorable, especially for being 6'4 245 lbs.

Koci was an anomaly, when he fought, he was kinda like Any Elmore, no "D". He led with his face and tried to stop as many punches as possible with it. I got to enjoy watching him the following couple of years with Colorado where he had some much better fights against the then wild west.

Funny you should mention Crombeen, he'd be on my list of WORST Lightning fighters, along with Mick Vukota.
__________________
"I don't want to call him scared, but Worrell always seemed to avoid me." -Kyle Freadrich
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 03-03-2013, 04:51 PM
njbolt12's Avatar
njbolt12 njbolt12 is offline
Bingo Bob's Intermission Contest
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: NJ
Posts: 1,736
Send a message via AIM to njbolt12
Default

My honorable mentions were very much tongue in cheek. Dingman was miscast as a fighter; he was a dead puck era grinder extraordinaire.

Your observation regarding Koci makes more sense now, I mostly remember him for fighting Chara with an already broken nose, and hadn't watched him much since. I remember one game in 08-09 when he was actually getting top 4 minutes against the Sharks (a 7-0 loss IIRC).

I thought Crombeen would have given it away... perhaps I should have replaced Koci with Brewer

On a side note, seeing Todd Fedoruk fight while he was here always scared the shit out of me. Some of the shots he took before he got here... ugh. I remember seeing an x-ray of his face one time. It's really nuts that he still fought, trying to keep one side of his face away from the other guy at all times.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 03-03-2013, 05:11 PM
KyleFreadrich43's Avatar
KyleFreadrich43 KyleFreadrich43 is offline
Curtis McElhinney's Game Worn Jersey
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 2,170
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by njbolt12 View Post
On a side note, seeing Todd Fedoruk fight while he was here always scared the shit out of me. Some of the shots he took before he got here... ugh. I remember seeing an x-ray of his face one time. It's really nuts that he still fought, trying to keep one side of his face away from the other guy at all times.
Yeah, that was compliments of a run-in with "The Boogeyman" (RIP).

He wanted to get his 1,000th PIM with a fight, and he got TKO'd by Boulton for the occasion. He had 3 more fights with the Lightning. He sat out the 10-11 season and then tried a comeback with Vancouver, he fought 3 times in the preseason, losing twice to Darcy Hordichuk, after that, he called it a career.
__________________
"I don't want to call him scared, but Worrell always seemed to avoid me." -Kyle Freadrich
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 03-03-2013, 06:33 PM
the_narrow_way's Avatar
the_narrow_way the_narrow_way is offline
Evan Oberg's Frequent Flyer Miles
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Sarasota, FL
Posts: 3,688
Default

Thanks for the research KF43. Man, I miss those guys.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 03-03-2013, 06:44 PM
Hoek's Avatar
Hoek Hoek is offline
Steven Stamkos' One Timer
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Tampa, FL
Posts: 11,130
Default

Good stuff.

I miss chanting "Rudy! Rudy!" sometimes.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 03:39 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.7.2
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright © 2005-2008, BoltProspects.com. All Rights Reserved.