For the first time the other day, I took the 10 minute drive from my house to Rayzor's Hot Dog Stand in Springville, NY. Rob Ray has done an excellent job with the place and the food was pretty good as well. Inside, Rob has his own "penalty box" gallery with many pictures of himself as a Buffalo Sabre. There he had a picture of one of his memorable fights against Bill Guerin of the Devils, shirtless and baring his chest and all. When looking at the photos, I thought about his greatest fights with the Sabres such as his multiple bouts with Tie Domi and Dennis Vial, and his knockouts with Jim Kyte, Brandon Webb, and Dennis Bonvie.
Then I thought about some of the greatest fights in Buffalo Sabres history. And there are plenty of them. Whether it is one player fighting another or just a full out line brawl, there are plenty of them in Buffalo's 43 year history. I came up with a list of them and there are just too many to go about. So I created my own list of the top fights of all time in Sabres history. Here's my list:
15.) John Scott vs. Shawn Thornton (KO)
What I love about this one is that Shawn Thornton was itching to go with Scott and Scott put Thornton in his place. Plus, I wanted to throw one of the more recent fights in my list.
14.) Andrew Peters vs. Kip Brennan-Rounds 1 & 2 (KO)
These two only fought twice in the NHL and Peters both times dropped Kip Brennan multiple times. As Rick Jeanneret said in their first battle, "Peters is eating him alive!"
13.) Rob Ray vs. Steve Webb-Rounds 1-3 (KO)
Similar to Peters and Brennan, Ray and Webb met on more than one occasion. Each time, Ray got the better of Webb and knocked him out not once, but twice.
12.) Rob Ray vs. Paul Laus-Rounds 1-7
These two had multiple fights between one another in the 1990s. Always saw good fights between them, and a majority of them lead to Ray's sweater hitting the ice.
11.) Matthew Barnaby vs. Garth Snow and Rod Brind'Amour
This brawl happened towards the end of the 1995-96 season when Matt Barnaby was cheap-shotted by Philadelphia Flyers' Shawn Antoski. Barnaby played injured until Garth Snow poked Barnaby and Matt jumped Snow. Then it lead to more mayhem as Snow paired off with Andrei Trefilov and Barnaby fought Rod Brind'Amour.
10.) Andrew Peters vs. Brian McGrattan-Rounds 1-6
In a span of 2-3 years, these two met a total of six times. McGrattan was Ottawa's heavyweight guy and Peters was Buffalo's heavyweight guy, which led to many battles of epic proportion. In their third battle, Peters KO'd McGrattan with a fake jab and then caught McGrattan with a right that stunned him. It was a battle that was expected everytime those two played in between 2005 and 2007.
9.) Rob Ray vs. Quebec Nordiques fan (KO)
I had to throw it in there. The fan jumped down onto the ice and Rob Ray let him know he was not supposed to be there. The poor guy had no chance against Ray.
8.) Patrick Kaleta vs. Derek Dorsett
The amount of lefts that Pat Kaleta threw against Derek Dorsett was incredible when these two battled on another in December of 2010. Kaleta then deservingly cleaned his hands off after the win.
7.) Rob Ray vs. Dennis Bonvie (KO)
As Rick Jeanneret said, "Down is Bonvie as Ray applies the Kudegra!"
6.) Rob Ray vs. Jim Kyte (KO)
I don't think there's a doubt about this one. Ray was getting hammered and with one punch to the lower jaw, the 6' 5" Kyte went down in a heap. Kyte was sent to Lala Land in the words of Jim Lorentz.
5.) Steve Shields vs. Garth Snow
Gotta love playoff hockey. This brawl took place in the 1996-97 playoffs when a scuffle in front of the net led Steve Shields to Garth Snow in the Flyers zone. They itched and itched to go, and when they did, they were the only two players to throw any punches in the brawl.
4.) Rob Ray vs. Dennis Vial (KO)
I know both players have fought many times in their careers, but the one fight that stands to mind is the fight where Ray knocked Vial out. This was the fight where Jeanneret called out to Mike Tyson after Ray took care of Dennis Vial.
3.) Jim Schoenfeld vs. Wayne Cashman
This one is in the film vault as one of the most famous moments in Sabres history. Schoenfeld was going to check Cashman when the Zamboni doors opened up in the Aud, and then Schoenfeld and Cashman settled their differences in the tunnel. Just a classic.
2.) Buffalo Sabres vs. Ottawa Senators-February 22, 2007
I was at this game when I was 15 years old, and it still resembles in my mind today. The irony was that I was talking about Ray Emery fighting Neil Little with my dad before the game. He asked me if I thought there would be a brawl and if Marty Biron would really fight Ray Emery. I just said it would be cool if it happened. Well, if you go after one of our best players, we're going after yours. Emery fought Biron AND Andrew Peters after Chris Neil decked Chris Drury with a cheap shot. Patrick Kaleta got some action too in his first career NHL game. What a way to start.
1.) Rob Ray vs. Tie Domi-Rounds 1-13
I still cannot believe these two fought over a dozen times in their career. Helps that they were part of one of the biggest rivalries in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Whenever Toronto and Buffalo met, you had to expect that Tie Domi and Rob Ray would square up with one another. This is number one because most of their battles were evenly fought and it was so exciting when they would fight. I don't think you could ask for anything more.
Eric Boulton vs. P.J. Stock-Rounds 1-3
Each time these two got together, they were throwing bombs. But they only got together three times (that I know of).
Rob Ray vs. Claude Lemieux
"He's Rag-Dolling Lemieux!"
Paul Gaustad vs. Scott Hartnell
To me, Paul Gaustad was always one of the toughest Sabres to play against. Not only was he a good faceoff guy, but he could throw punches too. This was in the 2011 playoffs, and created exciting playoff hockey between the two clubs.
Zack Kassian vs. Matt Martin
This was before Kassian was dealt to Vancouver, but the fight he had with Martin saw two guys just trading punch after punch.
Andrew Peters vs. Rob Ray
When Ray was on Ottawa, he decided to fight Andrew Peters. Just fun to see the old enforcer fight the new enforcer at the time.
I am a firm believer that fighting is part of the game of hockey. When it's staged it is not fun, but when it serves its purpose, that's what matters.
Any fights that I missed that should be on the list? Let me know. Leave a comment or let me know on Twitter @BraytonJWilson
Thanks for reading!