The best of bench-clearing brawls.
Somewhere in the archives of 1970s sports magazines is a cover of a hockey player with blood streaming down his face. Couldn’t locate it, but have every reason to believe that the Flyers were complicit.
Whether he deserved it or not Philadelphia’s Daniel LaCroix evoked that image after an explosive brawl between the Flyers and Lightning in Tampa Bay.
His ravaged mug came courtesy of the man commonly regarded as the NHL’s first Russian enforcer, Andrei Nazarov.
It was a garden-variety, gloves-on, jersey-tugging affair in the middle of the ice until Nazarov bopped Lacroix but good without any apparent provocation. Lacroix recoiled in surprise more than anything, which left him quite defenseless when Nazarov did rid himself of his gloves and began to pound away with both hands.
Lacroix went down in a heap, partially motivated by befuddlement, and Nazarov backed away. Moments later when he got back to his skates, his cut had opened up and he was, it’s fair to say, a hot mess.
And so too had become the scene on the ice. With temperatures rising to the boiling point all around, Lacroix made sure that everyone stopped watching the pot when he took off in a sprint for the first Tampa jersey he could locate. The innocent bystander — and when was that ever said about him ? — turned out to be Darcy Tucker.
Tucker — completely unprepared for Lacroix’ assault — beat a hasty retreat, in a rare moment of flight over fight.
Here Nazarov re-enters the picture, flying after the temporarily insane Lacroix and tackling him from behind. The two quickly fell to the ice, limbs disappearing into each other’s sweaters. (more…)