Line brawls aren't all that common any more, but they aren't a once-in-a-blue-moon phenomena either. But bench-clearing brawls? Now that's a sight to see.
The AHL is usually good for these types of displays and it didn't disappoint in that regard this weekend. The Rockford IceHogs and Milwaukee Admirals game erupted into a not-so-friendly midgame banquet in one corner.
Check out some video in the aftermath of the melee with the referees trying to get the teams back to their rooms.
So what, exactly set that off? From JSOnline.com:
It all started after Milwaukee's Michael Latta and Rockford's Shawn Lalonde fought at center ice with 9 minutes, 52 seconds left in the second. The two went to the penalty box and then there was a scheduled media timeout.
During timeouts, both teams gather by their respective benches and the goalies remain in front of their net. The faceoff was set for the Rockford blue line, according to Milwaukee coach Ian Herbers.
But for some reason, toward the end of the break, Rockford's Rob Flick was alone in front of Admirals goalie Jeremy Smith when all of a sudden both players started swinging at each other.
"I think we just looked at each other, and I think that's what sparked it," said Smith, who was unsure who threw the first punch. "He was just on the [edge of the crease] and he shouldn't have been there."
I'd say Smith got his licks in and then some. And there is no better way to bring a team off the bench than for its goalie to get involved in any kind of dustup. Then calamity ensues and this is the result.
"They'd been yapping at him all night, and we just finished it," Herbers told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "We stuck together as a team. I don't even know why somebody would be down there like that. I'm glad the guys stuck together."
Here's another video that captures a little bit of the melee in process (with some NSFW language from the video recorder). I love, as the camera operator points out, the backup goaltenders just chilling off to the side having a chat.
If you miss the days of fighting in hockey, I'd suggest you start taking a little more interest in the AHL, that's where most of it is at any more.