We Love Goalie Fights!

By Patrick Hoffman

Fighting between forwards and defensemen is a given in our favorite league.

Our sport is fast, played with high intensity, and is obviously extremely physical. When you put these elements together, something is bound to happen between the players on the ice.

Fighting between goalies, however, is something quite different and even rare. For two netminders to get into a fight, something big needs to happen on the ice where each masked man feels the need to go out and protect his teammates.

With that in mind, let’s look at some of the other great goalie fights that have occurred over the last 20 years or so.

Match: Tim Thomas (Boston Bruins) vs. Carey Price (Montreal Canadiens)
Date/Year: February 9, 2011  
It is always a bloodbath when the Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens go at it. The hate is ever present, the checks are everywhere and no one is left out when it comes to dropping the gloves, including the goaltenders.

Match: Dan Cloutier (New York Rangers) vs. Tommy Salo (New York Islanders)
Date/Year: April 4, 1998
Winner: Cloutier
At the time of this bout, both teams were nowhere close to a playoff spot and were playing for pride. Considering that this was a rivalry game between the Rangers and Islanders, it should not surprise anyone that there were some fisticuffs. What was surprising, however, was that on bout featured both goaltenders.

Match: Corey Scwhab (New Jersey Devils) vs. Tommy Soderstrom (New York Islanders)
Date/Year: December 9, 1995
Winner: Schwab
While Salo was at least ready to fight Cloutier, Islanders’ goaltender Tommy Soderstrom was in no way, shape, or form prepared to fight New Jersey Devils’ netminder Corey Schwab. As you will see in the clip below, Soderstorm was minding his own business watching several scrums occur behind his net until Schwab skated the length of the ice to get into it with him.

Match: Miikka Kipprusoff (Calgary Flames) vs. Tomas Vokoun (Nashville Predators)
Date/Year: March 20, 2004
Winner: Tie
It’s always awesome when there is a brawl at center ice. It is even better when it involves two goaltenders, which is exactly what happened during a game between the Calgary Flames and Nashville Predators in March of 2004.

Match: Mike Vernon (Detroit Red Wings) vs. Patrick Roy (Colorado Avalanche)
Date/Year: March 26, 2007
Winner: Mike Vernon
At this time, it was well known that the rivalry between the Detroit Red Wings and Colorado Avalanche was one of the league’s best. It got even better when netminders/warriors Patrick Roy and Mike Vernon got into it during a game at the Joe Luis Arena in March of 2007.

Match: Chris Osgood (Detroit Red Wings) vs. Patrick Roy (Colorado Avalanche)
Date/Year: April 1, 1998
Winner: Tie
Just over a year after Roy went at it with Vernon, he got into it with Chris Osgood.

Match: Brent Johnson (Pittsburgh Penguins) vs. Rick DiPietro (New York Islanders
Date/Year: February 2, 2011
Winner: Johnson
If one is a player who is susceptible to injuries, getting into a fight with another player might not be the greatest idea. It appears that Islanders’ goaltender Rick DiPietro did not listen to this advice as he drops the gloves with Pittsburgh Penguins’ goaltender Brent Johnson.

Match: Steve Shields (Buffalo Sabres) vs. Garth Snow (Philadelphia Flyers)
Date/Year: May 3, 1997
Winner: Shields
In the playoffs, everything is extra-intense between each team. This was especially in the case in a second round series in 1997 between the Buffalo Sabres and Philadelphia Flyers as not only do the players get into it, but so do the goaltenders.

Matchup: Ron Hextall (Philadelphia Flyers) vs. Felix Potvin (Toronto Maple Leafs)
Date/Year: November 10, 1996
Winner: Tie
Everyone knew that Philadelphia Flyers’ goaltender Ron Hextall was a hot head but Toronto Maple Leafs’ masked man Felix Potvin got to experience it up close in a game back in November 2006.

Previously, Patrick has covered the NHL for Sportsnet.caKukla’s Korner, Spector’s Hockey, About.com, NHL Network Radio blog, TheHockeyNews.com, The Fourth Period, Stan Fischler’s “The Fischler Report”, as well as a slew of others.

For comments and hip checks, feel free to contact Patrick at patrickhoffman3530@gmail.com or on Twitter at @pathoffman35.