(Sunday’s brawl between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Buffalo Sabres. 8 out of 10 for effort, 2 out of 10 for technique.)
By Jared Jones
While the NFL’s fascination with MMA-style body slams has only become apparent in recent years, the NHL’s obsession with violence dates back to the earliest days of the sport. Although the history of the Canadian military would suggest the contrary, the NHL is definitive proof that our neighbors to the north are just as bloodlust-driven as we are — they simply know how to channel their aggression a little better is all.
Case in point: The NHL preseason began all of 10 days ago and there have already been over 70 fights according to the NHL Fight Log. Also, the NHL has a Fight Log. With voted winners and a ratings system and everything. While most of these fights serve their purpose of firing up a crowd when the action is at a standstill, they also feature some absolutely dogshit techniques that have not evolved one iota since those aforementioned early days.
With all this in mind, we here at CagePotato have taken it upon ourselves to do the responsible thing and point out a few effective MMA moves that will not only elevate the level of hockey fights in general but help a handful of NHL players really drive home the notion that they are not to be tangled with on the ice. Enjoy.
#5 – The Muay Thai Plum
Fight in Question: Alexander Urbom vs. Brandon Prust – Sep. 23, 2013
Voted Winner: Brandon Prust (97.4%)
Voted Rating: 5.6
Analysis: While most hockey players seem content with the Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em, Frye vs. Takayama approach of grabbing ahold of one another and trading wild haymakers until someone falls down, a simple Muay Thai clinch could effectively put a decisive end to 90% of hockey fights. Take the above fight between New Jersey Devils defenseman Alexander Urbom and Montreal Canadiens forward Brandon Prust for example. While Prust was able to get a decent couple of shots in at the end there, both men looked like they were trying to punch their way out of a hurricane for the duration of the bout.
By closing the distance and utilizing a Thai plum, Urbom could have easily compensated for his reach disadvantage, as well as controlled Prust’s body weight and momentum. Although delivering knees to your opponent’s skull is next to impossible while on skates, Urbom could have used his superior position to rain down a hellstorm of elbows on Prust. Or he can continue being content with getting his ass kicked. What do I know? I’m not even here. (*backs slowly out of room with hands raised*)
#4 – The Standing Guillotine Choke
Fight in Question: Ryan Carter vs. Travis Hamonic – Sep. 21
Voted Winner: Draw (68.8%)
Voted Rating: 2.9
Analysis: I’ve only been following professional hockey for a couple of years now, so I can’t claim to know what is considered a dirty, bitch move and what isn’t. But being that 8 out of 10 hockey fights end with both men tying up, collapsing and being pulled apart by the refs, it’s safe to say that a simple guillotine choke could end the “draw” issue that apparently permeates the NHL Fight Logs.
In the video above, the Devils Ryan Carter and the Islanders Travis Hamonic engage in a mostly substandard clinchfest along the
fence barrier. At the 40 second mark, however, Carter presents Hamonic with a *golden* opportunity to snatch up a standing guillotine choke that is sadly ignored by the Croatian. As Nick Diaz expertly demonstrates in this video, the standing guillotine cannot only be used to finish a fight from a tied up position but can also be used as a setup for a takedown.
Again, I’m no expert on the politics of a hockey fight, but a standing guillotine could serve as an effective tool during a hockey fight for several reasons, the most obvious being the element of surprise it brings to the table. Simply put, not many hockey players are going to see any submission coming until it is too late. Simplier put: No can defense.
#3 – The Takedown/Slam
Fight in Question: Corey Tropp vs. Jamie Devane – Sep. 22
Voted Winner: Jamie Devane (94.1%) (?!)
Voted Rating: 6.4
Analysis: Unfortunately, the NHL has instituted a new rule (46.6) which states the following:
No player may remove his helmet prior to engaging in a fight. If he should do so, he shall be assessed a two minute minor penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct. Helmets that come off in the course of and resulting from the altercation will not result in a penalty to either player.
In order to get around this rule, helmet removal has quickly become either A) An issue that is simply left up to fate or B) A gentlemanly, agreed upon precursor to a fight (see Krys Barch vs. Brett Gallant). In either case, (*switches to movie trailer voice*) once the helmet is off, all bets are off.
Although us MMA fans are already aware of the devastating effect a takedown/slam can have when performed on canvas, that devastation increases exponentially when a player is slammed onto ice (this guy knows what I’m talking about). Are we saying that NHL players should start powerbombing each other through the ice to settle a minor grudge, possibly ending both their opponents and their own careers in the process? No, we’re just saying that the option is available. Maple Leafs left wing Jamie Devane clearly understood this, as he chose to utilize the takedown to KO Corey Tropp during yesterday’s Leafs/Sabres game, resulting in the massive brawl that was the inspiration for this list.