Roy vs Vernon

 A fight between two goalies in the NHL is not something we see very often. The media made a big deal of the fight between Rick Di Pietro, New York Islanders, and Brent (one punch) Johnson  of the Pittsburgh Penguins, this week . Unfortunately, the glamour was tarnished when it was announced that Di Pietro would miss 4 to 6 weeks because of the punch he took to the jaw. There haven’t been many goalie fights in recent years but two of them stand out in my mind. Both of them involve Patrick Roy. He fought Mike Vernon in May of 97 in a playoff game. 

 (check this link) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eeF5XF8jxkQ  

The other was against Chris Osgood on April Fools Day, 1998.  

Check this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kl2xMXXOw4M   

Both fights were at center ice with the combatants going “toe to toe”. Those two events played a major part in the great rivalry that developed between the two teams; the Detroit Redwings and the Colorado Avalanche

I was involved in a few fights during my career. Before the “3rd man in” rule was instituted, the goalie was often the only player available to help a teammate when a third man jumped in. One such situation developed when I played for the Philadelphia Flyers in 1980 against the Vancouver Canucks: 

 We are killing a 5 vs 3 penalty when a fight breaks out in my crease. I have to get  involved because we are short two men and one of our players gets attacked by a 3rd man. Another players jumps on the ice from our bench to make the playing field even but that caused both benches to empty and an all out brawl to erupt.  The man I grab is Kevin McCarthy who is as strong as an ox. I wrestled with Kevin, who is now an assistant coach with the Flyers, for about 5 minutes, maybe more. We finally separate, my arms are sore from the tug of war we had. Now, I want to find a goalie to pair with. I find Glen Hanlon who is  the backup goalie in this game for the Canucks, hopefully to rest and watch. But, suddenly, he throws a “left” which surprises me and starts throwing punches. At that point I’m am so tired, all I can  do is hold on and duck my head. Luckily, none of the punches land. That brawl is listed as one of the longest bench emptying brawl in NHL history.  

See this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4-NXbpf0Er0 

One other brawl I was involved in with an opposing goalie was against the Flyers when I played for the Atlanta Flames. That was one of many brawls those two teams had in the mid-70’s. This one has a little humor attached to it. I wasn’t playing this particular game when the fight broke out and both benches emptied: 

I’m sitting on a chair behind the players, slightly raised over their heads. A fight breaks out. All of a sudden I see players jumping on the ice to get involved in the fight. “GOT TO GO” I said to myself.  To step onto the ice, I put my hand on the board to swing my legs over. As I’m leaping, another player “nicked” my little finger with his skate as he was jumping on the ice. (I was really lucky that I didn’t get all my fingers sliced off.) The unwritten rule in a bench clearing brawl is  that each player has to pair up with an opponent to avoid outnumbered situations. Goalies usually look for each other. Bleeding finger and all, I pair up with the late Wayne Stephenson, the Flyers goalie. We grab each other by the collar, we wrestle a while and watch on while other fights are going on. When it all ends, Wayne’s Jersey is  full of blood from my bleeding finger.   

In the dressing room after the fight, I bragged about how I beat him up so badly his jersey was full of blood…jokingly of course.  

There were many bench clearing brawls in the 70’s and 80’s. The league has taken steps to prevent them from happening such as penalties for “third man in” and heavy fines to players and management.  

The New NHL has fewer fights but goalie fights will always be a premium for blood thirsty fans to watch. . .  


Phil Myre (www.philmyretalkshockey.com

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6 comments for “NHL GOALIE FIGHTS

  1. Nick Viris
    February 18, 2013 at 4:33 pm

    ah sorry Phil,I just saw you covered the Feb 22,1980 brawl here.

    Do you remember the Dec 09,1970 Habs Leafs game at MLG,big brawl in the first period?

  2. patrick
    July 4, 2011 at 9:51 pm

    How long did that Philly- Canucks brawl go on for? It looks like it went on and on.

    As far as the Atlanta-Flyers game, in the Youtube clip the Philly announcer say that Deadmarsh went off the bench and challenged Schultz. In his book, dave Schultz says that he challenged the Atlanta bench and Deadmarsh came off first. Could you tell me which one is the case, or is it a mix of the two?

  3. gwendoline
    February 8, 2011 at 6:53 pm

    I wish I was at that game Mr. T. to see that!!!! You have another gift besides stopping pucks and that is writing.This a really good thing for all of us old timers to read and enjoy . Thanks for all the good memories and please keep this blog going. I will surely give out this website to my friends here in Philly.
    See you this summer !!!!!!

    • Phil Myre
      February 12, 2011 at 12:34 pm

      Thank You Gwen. I love writing those stories and I appreciate you reading it and forwarding it.
      All the best

  4. al
    February 6, 2011 at 11:33 am

    NOW THATS WHAT IM TALKING ABOUT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    GREATEST BLOG YOU EVER WROTE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    AND READ!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! AGAIN AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I WOULD GIVE
    YOU A 10 ON THIS WRITING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Phil Myre
      February 7, 2011 at 4:33 pm

      Thanks All. I appreciate all your comments. I have a Pretty face because I know how to protect myself against punches…..or I hit first…..

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