Michelle Kenneth's Hockey and Musings

Fight Club: New York Rangers

In continuation of the Fight Club series where we ask the ultimate question “Can the NHL move away from fighting in its entirety?”, we’re going to take a look at the current New York Rangers roster and their fight card.

I’ll be including the number of fights each player has had over the course of their career in the NHL.

No. Player Position Hometown Region Total Fights Notes
63 Anthony Duclair LW Pointe-Claire, Quebec CANADA N/A Rookie
33 Cam Talbot G Caledonia, Ontario CANADA 0
22 Dan Boyle D Ottawa, Ontario CANADA 8 Last Fight: March 27, 2013 versus Corey Perry (ANA @ SJS)
5 Dan Girardi D Welland, Ontario CANADA 5 Last Fight: January 22, 2011 versus Andrew Ladd (NYR @ ATL)
16 Derick Brassard C Hull, Quebec CANADA 4 Last Fight: February 12, 2012 versus Lubomir Visnovsky (ANA @ CBJ)
28 Dominic Moore C Thornhill, Ontario CANADA 5 Last Fight: April 14, 2012 versus Vladimir Sobotka (SJS @ STL)
8 Kevin Klein D Kitchener, Ontario CANADA 8 Last Fight: January 20, 2014 versus Antoine Roussel (DAL @ NSH)
18 Marc Staal D Thunder Bay, Ontario CANADA 4 Last Fight: January 3, 2009 versus Alexander Semin (NYR @ WAS)
26 Martin St. Louis RW Laval, Quebec CANADA 0
4 Michael Kostka D Etobicoke, Ontario CANADA 1 Last Fight: February 9, 2013 versus Brendan Gallagher (TOR @ MTL)
61 Rick Nash LW Brampton, Ontario CANADA 8 Last Fight: March 21, 2014 versus Matt Calvert (NYR @ CBJ)
15 Tanner Glass LW Regina, Saskatchewan CANADA 65 Last Fight: October 19, 2014 versus Andrew Desjardins (SJS @ NYR)
62 Carl Hagelin LW Sodertalje, Sweden EUROPE 0
30 Henrik Lundqvist G Are, Sweden EUROPE 0
36 Mats Zuccarello LW Oslo, Norway EUROPE 1 Last Fight: October 9, 2014 versus T.J. Oshie (NYR @ STL)
20 Chris Kreider LW Boxford, Massachusetts USA 2 Last Fight: October 11, 2014 versus Jack Skille (NYR @ CBJ)
14 Chris Mueller C West Seneca, New York USA 0
21 Derek Stepan C Hastings, MN USA 0
17 John Moore D Winnetka, Illinois USA 4 Last Fight: January 12, 2014 versus Brayden Schenn (PHI @ NYR)
13 Kevin Hayes RW Boston, Massachusetts USA N/A Rookie
12 Lee Stempniak RW West Seneca, New York USA 6 Last Fight: November 16, 2013 versus Andrew Ference (EDM @ CGY)
44 Matt Hunwick D Warren, Michigan USA 2 Last Fight: November 28, 2010 versus Evander Kane (BOS @ ATL)
24 Ryan Malone LW Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania USA 48 Last Fight: January 7, 2014 versus Mark Stuart (TBL @ WPG)
27 Ryan McDonagh D St. Paul, Minnesota USA 2 Last Fight: September 29, 2014 versus Blaire Jones (PHI @ NYR)
TOTAL Fights 173

As you can see, like the New Jersey Devils Fight Card, the majority of fights (62%) came from Canadian players.  Very few came from European players (1%) (with the goalie outlier), and the Americans only consisted of 37% of the total fights.

One of the elements I’m reviewing is the region where the majority of fighters emerge.  With 108 fights coming specifically from Canadian players, there is one outlier, Tanner Glass, who already has a career 65 fights, with his most recent fight two nights ago.

The Americans also have an outlier that boosts their number.  Ryan Malone boasts 48 career fights over the course of his career.  That’s 75% of the total fights from the Americans side.

Like the Devils, the Rangers have two enforcers on board this season.  During this season, we’ll take a look at their use and effectiveness as a member of the NHL.  While people want to believe that the day of the goon is gone, it seems that the role has evolved in that enforcers must be able to play hockey instead of just being able to skate and throw a punch.

Of the roster, only five players fought last season: Kevin Klein, Rick Nash, John Moore, Ryan Malone and Lee Stempniak (2 Canadians, 3 Americans).  With only a few weeks into the regular season (plus preseason), the Rangers have had four fights already this season.

Excluding the rookie Anthony Duclair and Cam Talbot (G), only one Canadian (10%) has never fought over the course of his career.  That is Martin St. Louis.

For the Americans, excluding the American rookie Kevin Hayes, only two of the eight Americans (25%) have never fought.

If you look at the numbers a different way, that means 90% of Canadians on the New York Rangers have fought at some point in their career.  For the Americans, 75% have fought.

Since there are only two Europeans that can be measured in this fight card, the number is drastically higher making Zuccarello’s most recent fight (on October 9, 2014) an indicator that 50% of European born NYR have fought in their career.  Due to only two members being able to be measured on this fight card, this number would be more effectively measured among all current European NHL players.  {This will be measured at the end of review of all 30 rosters.}

Like Jaromir Jagr from the Devils, St. Louis poses as an interesting statistic.  In his 39 years and 16+ years in the NHL, he has never fought.  Perhaps it says something of talent and the ability to have a long NHL career.

Like the Devils fight card, the Canadians are the most violent in this game.  This is the second fight card where the Canadians dominated in the violence.  I’m sure we’ll see this with every single team in the NHL as we go through each roster.

There have been rumors that they are moving towards eliminating fighting in junior hockey.  They’re taking steps in this direction, but fighting has not been completely banned.  As they test this theory in junior hockey, we could eventually see the NHL evolve into a game where there is no fighting because it’s not how the players were taught to play the game.  That is something we may see in the upcoming generations.

As for now, with doctors and pundits demanding a ban to fighting to protect NHL players from concussions and CTE, we need to see if it is possible that the NHL can evolve into a non-fighting sport sooner rather than later.  Right now, we need to look at players and regions that have found success or failure in playing their game with little to no fighting.

[Statistical Source: HockeyFights.com]


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