[VIDEO] Things brewed in the NHL this weekend and unexpected fights broke out
The start of the NHL playoffs seems to mark the great return of violence in hockey. The first round is not over when several fights have already broken out, some involving unlikely opponents.
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Two 60-goal scorers who come to blows to defend their teammates, a goaltender who is ready to throw down the gloves against a tough forward…
Last week, in an interview on American radio NPR, Gary Bettman pointed out that there are no longer any players in the NHL with strictly pugilist status.
The fights are now the result of a spontaneous emotional reaction , said the commissioner.
And indeed, last weekend, some fighters did not have the job profile. This is the case of Auston Matthews, who had never fought in his… 523 first meetings in the circuit.
But on Saturday, the Toronto Maple Leafs scoring ace — who has scored 40 goals this season — accepted the invitation after teammate Morgan Rielly served a hard hit at Brayden Point of the Tampa Lightning. Bay.
Said invitation did not come from anyone, moreover: it was Steven Stamkos, also the captain of his team, who threw down the gloves with him.
This third game of the series was therefore at the origin of a first in the long history of the NHL. Never before have two 60-goal scorers fought each other (Matthews reached that milestone last year and Stamkos, in 2011-2012).
The expected confrontation between the Lightning and the Maple Leafs is also the most violent of this spring, so far.
Of the eight fights listed by the specialized site Hockey Fights before Monday's games — in 28 meetings — five have broken out between players from the two clubs, three on Thursday and two on Saturday.
Threats and body checks
< p>Moreover, it was not only the fights that testified to a return to violence in the circuit, but also, disgraceful remarks and dangerous checks.
As Pat Maroon of the Lightning, who told Luke Schenn mid-game on Saturday that they were going to “kill him”.
Or Matt Dumba of the Minnesota Wild, who awarded a hard check to veteran Joe Pavelski of the Dallas Stars. Pavelski had to retreat to the locker room, completely stunned, and suffered a concussion.
Dumba was not punished for his gesture, unlike Matthew Tkachuk. The Florida Panthers forward was fined $5,000 on Monday for cross-checking Boston Bruins' Garnet Hathaway on Sunday.
< strong>Goalkeeper slowed down by the referee
This meeting between the two teams also had its share of tumult. So much so that even Boston goaltender Linus Ullmark wanted to come to blows with Tkachuk.
As several players struggled behind his goal in the final minutes of the match, the goalkeeper was tempted to accept the attacker's invitation, going so far as to drop his mitt and blocker on the ice. ;
It was finally a referee who intervened and prevented the fight from breaking out (see below).
The scene did not displease Montrealer Jim Montgomery, the Bruins coach, who told a local radio station having “loved” to see that his goalkeeper was ” all in “.
Which is nothing to calm the game, his team being approached by several to surrender until the end…