Minnesota Wild: Five Best Wild Fighters of All Time


Fighting may be on the decline in the NHL, but it’s always had a special place in the game as a way for players to police themselves and standup for their teammates.  Here’s a quick stroll back in time to see who the best fighters have been over the Wild’s 15 year history.

In the dead of summer smack dab in the middle of no Minnesota Wild hockey, I thought it might be time for a quick look back.  Inspired by watching the hockey cult classic Goon starring Sean William Scott, I started to think back on who the best fighters in the history of the NHL and the Wild.  It’s a hard road to be an enforcer and many have chosen it and become gods of the game, in some cases their fights are just as well remembered as the goals from the scorers they protected.

The enforcer may be a dying breed in the NHL, but there’s always a place for someone who stands up for his teammates.  Wayne Gretzky will be the first to tell you he couldn’t have done what he did in Edmonton and LA without Marty McSorley.

So in the fifteen season of the Wild existence here’s a list of what I feel are the five best pugilists in Wild history.

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5) Brad Staubitz – Staubitz spent two seasons with the Wild in 2010-11 and 2011-12.  Known as more of a dirty player, Staubitz would see a suspension for a hefty seven games stemming from a bad hit from behind on Cody Bass.  Still Staubitz would rack up 25 fights and suffer a defeat in his most famous fight as a member to the Wild when folk hero and former Wild enforcer John Scott would take him down rather handily the season after Scott left for Chicago.

4) Sean O’Donnell –  Great defender in his own right O’Donnell, was one of the original Wild taken in the expansion draft before the inaugural 2000 season.  O’Donnell came to the Wild with a reputation as being a tough as nails defender who could fight to make sure to keep his edge.  Although he only played 63 games in a Wild sweater, he had 8 fights two of which were in the same game against Jamal Mayers on January 6th of 2001.

3) Jason Marshall –  Marshall lasted three seasons in Minnesota from 2001 to 2004.  During that time Marshall participated in 11 fights.  Marshall was a pretty gifted pure defenseman who would use he pugilistic arts to augment his defensive game and offer an edge in toughness.  He was never shy to tangle with some of the best enforcers in the NHL, like the time that he took on the great Steve Montador…and won!

2) Matt Johnson – One of the original Wild in 2000-01, Johnson played four seasons in Minnesota and can be considered the team’s first enforcer.  Johnson would be in the Wild’s first fight on October 7th 2000 in Arizona fighting Louie Dubrusk after being instigated.  That inaugural Wild season would see Johnson rack up a total of 12 fights on his way to a team record 56 regular season fights with the Wild.  His largest total included 23 fights in his last season with the Wild which was his last in the NHL in 2003-04.  Here’s a clip of perhaps one of his best fights, quick TKO of the Avs Scott Parker.

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1) Derek Boogaard – The Boogeyman is someone who needs no introduction in The State of Hockey.  One of the most beloved Wild players ever Boogaard was known as the man that scared many players into retirement to include tough man Georges Laraque.  If that wasn’t enough Boogaard was a master of the fighting craft as he was a student of boxing and the hockey fight.  So good was his approach to the art of fighting, others would seek his advice forcing him to open a fighting school in his native Saskatchewan during the offseason.  Boogaard didn’t just beat players in a fight, he’d could inflict serious injury.  A great example of that is when Boogaard broke the cheekbone of Todd Fedoruk that required a repair of in the form of a metal plate.  He fought 52 times for the Wild in four seasons.

Honorable Mention:  John Scott, Stephan Veilleux, Cal Clutterbuck, Zenon Konopka