A lot of people don’t see the appeal of ice hockey, some guys skating around hitting a puck at each other. You’re missing the point. Take a quick look at the crowd; those shirtless, beer-fuelled specimens are there for only one thing and it isn’t the hockey. They’ve worked out something a lot of us haven’t yet – watching guys in large amounts of padding starting a fight with one another while trying to stay upright on ice is hilarious. Who knows, if you’re really lucky it might even develop into a mass brawl.

I’m kind of kidding, I wouldn’t pay money to go see these things for myself but watching the Youtube clips of some famous ice hockey brawls is a lot more fun than I thought. We’ve recently added world famous sports merchandiser 47 Brand to our ranks, with caps from five top NHL teams Chicago Blackhawks, Detroit Red Wings, San Jose Sharks, L.A. Kings and New York Rangers. So in celebration of this we’re picking out the top 5 brawls – one for each team.

Vancouver Canucks vs Chicago Blackhawks– March 2009

The Blackhawks team logo features a Native American so if Cowboys and Indians movies are anything to go by (which they’re not) you’d expect them to be up for a fight. If this clip is anything to go by then they certainly are (0:50 is the point at which things start to get a bit ugly).

Detroit Red Wingsvs Anaheim Ducks – May 2009

Ah, 2009… a vintage year for brawling, everyone was at it. This no-holds-barred scrap got the crowd on its fee, sticks were downed and helmets were pulled off. Hockey matches must over-run by quite a bit with all these stoppages!

San Jose Sharksvs St. Louis Blues – April 2012

This one was only from a month ago and already it’s racked up a number of views, that’s probably because the intensity is pretty high, no half-hearted nudging here.

L.A. Kingsvs Ottawa Senators – December 2001

By the end of this video, it looks like Armageddon has hit. When the L.A. Kings go, they go hard.

Edmonton Oilers vsNew York Rangers – November 2010

Madison Square Garden is best known for its historic sporting and music events; well in November 2012 it was also home of one of the biggest mass brawls seen in in the NHL in a long time.

If these video clips have whet your appetite then now’s the time to don a team’s cap and cheer every player’s loss of discipline.

Each of the teams above produces quality merchandise for their legions of fans the world over; apparel with the team’s branding on is hugely sought after so it’s a great time to get involved.

Pick out your favourite 47 Brand NHL cap online at the Northern Threads now.

Bruins Continue Tear Ripping the Maple Leafs Apart

The Toronto Maple Leafs were scheduled to play the Boston Bruins Saturday night, instead they got mugged, mauled and generally discarded aside by the defending Stanley Cup Champions. Again, for the fourth time in four attempts this season.

They did actually make it on to the ice and indeed kept the game tight for a while despite looking like they were playing hot potato with the puck. They very rarely showed any patience on offence as the Bruins and their arena played the part of a very successful turnover factory.

The Bruins were mean and fluid – generally a bad combination for opponents – and their pressure finally made the Leafs turtle about half way through the third period en route to a 4-2 victory, one that will look better on paper than it will feel for the Leafs and their nation.

With ten minutes to go in the third period Toronto succumbed to skating a passive , non checking five on five mannequin-esk defensive zone waving of the white flag. Joe Coburne looked lost and overwhelmed on this particular shift, perhaps figuring he should follow everyone else’s lead and give up.

James Reimer in his first game since October after being out with “concussion like symptoms”  looked good if not nervous at times.  He did his part and that was really the only silver lining for the Buds.  He kept the Bruins from scoring five or more goals against the Leafs for the first time in four contests this season. Four is a good sign.

Meanwhile Boston’s net backup Tuuka Rask still hasn’t allowed more than two goals against in any game in his career against Toronto.  Rask is now 6-1 against the team that drafted him and then traded him away. I wonder if he holds a grudge or just wants to show the city what they could have had.

The man who traded him will probably never run another NHL team again.

The Maple Leafs are on a Father-Son road trip thing, where all the players dad’s are with them.  I’m not sure that’s such a good idea. There might have been too much nervous energy running through the blood of the team and at times you had to wonder where some of the players heads were at.

Toronto had a seemingly large number “oh whoops, was i offside?” moments.

I’d love to have been a fly on the wall of the fathers sections. I bet the chatter dwindled to minimum as the game wore on, as if someone was pressing a mute button down one every five minutes.

Fortunately for Toronto they are the youngest team in the league, and they might be good enough to give themselves a fighting chance against three quarters of the NHL’s teams. But they are not good enough to beat the NHL’s best. And Boston has been at the top of the class since last season.

Despite playing a little hooky to start the season the Bruin’s rolling and might be better than they were when they won the cup.

For the Maple Leafs, if there is lesson to be learned here it is that the they will have to learn how to fight back. And they’ll have to learn from the Bruins and these frequent beatings. And they are beatings, no question about it.

Toronto is being bullied mentally and physically by the toughest kid in school and they have no one to stick up for them.

I don’t know what to say about Dion Phaneuf tonight other than the Toronto Maple Leafs need a captain to lead and inspire them.

Toronto has had some injuries and no doubt about it Mike Brown could help if he were in the lineup, but the Leafs needs an infusion of Toughness, not just one guy and they need a Chris Neil or Sean Avery like player to deal with Scott Thornton specifically.

They need the old Colton Orr in the lineup every time they play Boston.  Milan Lucic seemingly wasn’t the same player for a full year after Orr broke his nose a few seasons back.  We don’t know if the old Colton Orr can come back after suffering from a serious concussion last season.

Mike Komisarek?  I don’t think he wants any part of the Bruins either.

Toronto has no truculence and if they ever hope to rise up and slay the bears who defend the title, they are going to need on their tree that are full of it.

Winning in Sports is Never Easy

While winning in sports is never easy, sometimes it can look easy. One thing it is never is however is guaranteed.

Welcome to reality Ottawa Senator fans. With all your pomp and righteousness your finally learning that winning is indeed harder than it looks. Despite a first half to the regular season that had many calling Ottawa an unstoppable juggernaut and the Stanley Cup Champion in waiting, the wheels came off in the new year.

Not only did the wheels come off but the driver was thrown clear from the wreck and none of the passengers were wearing seat belts.

As a Maple Leaf fan, I absolutely love this. If I was a Senator fan reading this, my level of disgust and sickness in the pit of my stomach would be boiling over ten fold knowing their misery is my silver lining to a dreadful season. It is salt in the wounds, not necessarily ground in but definitely poured on.

Of course us Leaf fans have known how hard it is to win for ages. The Leafs have had Borje Salming and Daryl Sittler put together the majority of their Hall of Fame careers as integral members of the Maple Leafs with neither even sniffing at the cup. Wendal Clark, Doug Gilmour, Pat Burns, Curtis Joseph, Dave Andrychuk and Ed Belfour each were members of good Maple Leaf teams that never won the big one or even play for it. Felix Potvin, , Vince Damphouse, Al Iafrate, even Larry Murphy and Alexander Mogilny , No Cups in Toronto.

Vancouver fans have gone through the Pavel Bure, Kirk McLean and even the Stan Smyl years. Soon Markus Nlasland and Trevor Linden will be added to that list. The Sedins and Roberto Luongo are on deck.

It took the New York Rangers 54 years since their last cup when they won in ‘94 and they haven’t been back to the dance since. In fact they’ve been downright awful for a lot of those years.

Chicago, the last time they won a Cup, the NHL was played outside on ponds* and the goalies didn’t even wear masks to protect their faces.

Philadelphia, Boston, Minnesota,, Los Angeles, and certainly Washington fans will all tell you the same things,. Win the big one and THEN climb aboard your high horse.

Ottawa your recent existence in the NHL is still less than 20 years old and you’ve just begun your list. Zdeno Chara and Marion Hossa are a good starting pair.

Now I know there are exceptions to every rule. For every Chicago and Toronto there is a Tampa Bay, Carolina or Anaheim. To that I say, pfft, I’ll probably be dead the next time one of those three teams wins a cup again.

To Ottawa I say this; thanks for the first half and thanks for the collapse. It’s been fun.