Feb 5, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon (29) and Detroit Red Wings defenseman Jonathan Ericsson (52) fight early in the first period at the Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Hockey fights are a controversial topic in the NHL. Conventional wisdom has always been that hockey fights minimize some of the dirty play. Many journalists have attempted to debunk this idea, even using statistics showing that decreased fighting in the NHL has also led to a decrease in other penalties. (These statistics don’t take other factors into consideration.)
In general, players support hockey fights. Quite often they see it as a measure of respect. Sometimes grittier players come to the defense of skill players who are getting hassled by opponents. Other times, they use such fights to get their own team motivated.
Coaches and fans generally support hockey fights — as long as it’s their player initiating.
Truthfully, I’m not going to argue for or against hockey fights. The reality is that they happen — quite a few of them happened at Colorado Avalanche games last season. So, let’s look at some of the best fights from the 2014-15 Avalanche season.