Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The middleweights

Jim Matheson had a good piece in the Edmonton Journal on Phoenix Coyotes winger Dan Carcillo today:
Carcillo, in particular, spends an inordinate amount of time sitting next to the timekeeper in the penalty box. He went into Tuesday's game against the Oilers leading the league with 284 penalty minutes in only 47 games. If you average it out per game, this would equate to 494 penalty minutes over a season. That would have broken Dave Schultz's NHL record of 472 set in 1974-75 with the Philadelphia Flyers — if Carcillo hadn't sprained his knee twice this year.
It seems to me there've been far more "middleweight" fighters in recent years, with the big boys not dropping the gloves quite as often (or not getting out on the ice, perhaps).

The top 10 fight major leaders this season:

Player Total Fights Ht Wt
1 Jared Boll 24 6'2 190
2 Riley Cote 23 6'2 216
3 George Parros 22 6'5 232
4 Zack Stortini 20 6'3 228
5 David Clarkson 19 6'1 205
6 Colton Orr 18 6'3 220
7 Daniel Carcillo 16 5'11 202
8 Eric Godard 16 6'4 218
9 Adam Burish 15 6'1 189
10 Ian Laperriere 15 6'1 200

There are some pretty small bodies in there, getting beat up every night. A result of a faster NHL, perhaps?

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At 2:30 p.m., March 19, 2008, Blogger Canuckfan said...

This is striking because (a) Vancouver has no-one in the top 20--in fact, you have to go down to #26 on the list (Jeff Cowan) to find a Canuck fighter, and (b) despite that, Vancouver is number 3 in the league in team fighting majors, behind Anaheim and Calgary.

Canucks fans have for a few years excoriated their team for a lack of "team toughness". I think these figures disprove that argument. Vancouver doesn't have a real goon who exists to take care of the rest of his nancyboy teammates: we've got a team committed as a group to taking care of each other.

Not bad.

At 3:39 p.m., March 19, 2008, Blogger Down Goes Brown said...

I think your point illustrates another -- how much bigger players are getting, "tough guys" included.

You've highlighted guys 205 and under as "middleweights", but 10 or 15 years ago most of the top enforcers were that size. There were certainly exceptions (Probert, Grimson and McSorely come to mind), but off the top of my head here are some guys that were considered heavyweights back then:

John Kordic - 190
Basic McCrae - 205
Shane Churla - 200
Chris Nilan - 205
Criag Berube - 205
Ken Baumgartner - 205
Kelly Chase - 200
Lyndon Byers - 190

(All weights from

I'm not sure what it says about today's NHL that all of those guys would be considered middleweights today.

At 3:40 p.m., March 19, 2008, Blogger James Mirtle said...

The average weight of a hockey player has been about 205 pounds for six or seven years, so by that definition, these guys are right in the "middle."

At 3:57 p.m., March 19, 2008, Blogger Down Goes Brown said...

No doubt they're middleweights today. Just an illustration of how the game is evolving.

It seems like a Bob Probert (6'3, 230) used to be huge. Today he'd be fighting heavyweights bigger than he was most nights.


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