This thread has kind of grown into an annual tradition with me, and if it is to survive it has to move to the AHL. Of course its a bit tougher here since I probably have only 70% of the fight results and personally saw maybe 20-30% of the fights. If any of what I say is wrong, correct me, as not all fight calls were verified by multiple accounts. Here goes...
Hartford Wolfpack: 2586 PIMS, 149 Fights
Trevor Gillies: 31 fights, 277 pims, 49 games
An outstanding first year prowling the ice for the Pack. Working around a mid-year injury, he put up great numbers and was a good enforcer on many occassions. His fight card was strong, featuring Orrx3, Godardx3, Fritzx2, Boogard, Koci, Sgroi, Flinn, Thornton, Janssen, etc. Of the fights I recorded, he amassed an impressive 14-2-7 record, dropping a decision to Mike Sgroi and getting edged out in a long battle with Orr late in the season. Some of his good wins included one over Godard, edging out Fritz, beating Boogard, beating Thornton, decisioning Kaczowka twice and dominating Parros late in the season. He also went crazy in a brawl vs. Manchester, apparently hurting Darren Reid. For knowing his role and being ready to do it every night out, I give Gillies a solid A. The guy has all the tools to be a good heavyweight at the NHL.
Ryan Hollweg: 21 fights, 239 pims, 73 games
Hollweg prooved to be a bit of an enigma for me as I only could scrape up a third of his fight results. I have his record at 2-5 but this is obviously very incomplete for some odd probabalistic reason. From watching Pack games, this guy is one of the premier energy guys in the entire AHL. Every shift he is levelling people with hits, or being levelled himself. Pure, hard-hitting energy and its great to see. His fighting seems to be pretty poor, although he appears to have an excellent chin as he absorbed some brutal shots against Cote and Janssen. Those were the biggest name on his card, with most of his opponents middleweights a la Sutherby, Commodore, etc. The guy tries to fight like he plays--pure energy--but he's simply not strong enough to trade punches with some of the AHLs fighters. I'd love to see the guy at the NHL but he would be murdered when he tries to fight some guys 50 pounds heavier than him toe-to-toe. Nevertheless, I'll give Hollweg a solid A- with the blemish for some of the beatings he allows himself to take. Its ok to hang on sometimes bro!
Steve MacIntyre: 17 fights, 207 pims, 27 games
Big Mac was a phenomenal heavyweight-call-up while Hartford underwent injury woes. The guy is a huge, menacing figure and he brings surprisingly decent hockey skills with him. In those 27 games, you can see the sort of massive numbers he put up, which included two of the better fights of the year, awesome slugfests with Fritz and Orr that many scored draws. His fight card included Bonviex3, Orrx2, Fritzx2, Godard, Belak, Doull, and Janssen. I have him at a 4-2-7 record with many fights great slugfests. The blemishes include never being able to master Bonvie (always got tied up) and getting edged out by Parros. I might also note that I saw live another one of the year's great slugfests in pre-season when he showed great heart in coming back to almost even up a fight with G. Belak (Belak gets the decision for bloodying Big Mac there but not counted due to preseason). All in all, with nearing 10 pims a game, this monster is pure fun to watch and deserves a nice A and we hope to see him next year!
Garth Murray: 14 fights, 182 pims, 55 games
Expect to see a season like this for years to come at MSG. A hard-nosed grinder who can hit and fight and just play a good, tough, all-around game. He'll almost exclusively fight middleweights, and loses when he steps up in class (i.e. to Godard). Usually he's good for some somewhat short, action packed fights, like we saw against Rullier, Walsh and others. He can sneak up on some guys, as was seen by his pummelling Dyment, Egener, and T.J. Reynolds who he bloodied up in S.A. Of the fights I have results for, he had a 4-2-4 record. Solid, hard-working, though not spectacular, Murray gets a workmans B+.
Craig Weller: 13 fights, 182 pims, 76 games
I was pleasantly surprised watching this defensively minded, solid, and rough guy play the blueline this year. As a fighter, he kind of reminds me of Murray in that he gives some good, no nonesense fights that are good but not great. Also he fights mostly middles and loses out of class (Orr, Godard). He had a real nice punchup with Brendan Walsh which he won, as well as decisions over Brent Thompson, Darcy Verot, and Cody McCormick. Overall I had him at 5-3-1, with the other loss coming vs. Matt Walker. Another good fighter who also is a solid defensemen earns Weller a B+.
Martin Grenier: 8 fights, 136 pims, 23 games
As you can see, this monsterous defensemen saw very limited action after injuring his hand and suffering other nagging injuries. Occassionally he seemed to be a bit distanced from the rough stuff, and occassionally he would snap and go beserk (see vs. Springfield when he defended a late hit on Joel Bouchard to the tune of 42 penalty minutes and a 2 game suspension). I have him at 5-1-1, with two of his wins being against people who did not recieve a fighting major. But he is a legit heavyweight who easily picked apart Gratton, beat up Verot, and had an outstanding war with Orr that ended in a draw. His lone loss was a solid loss to Mark Jerant of Worcester. As a defensemen, I didn't think he was great in the little I saw of him. But for his menacing stature I would probably prefer him over Weller as the Ranger's "tough" d-man next year (and who knows where Dale fits in to the mix). I think the guy can handle himself with most fighters in the NHL as well. I give him a solid B for an injury pleagued year that showed promise.
Dave Liffiton: 6 fights, 74 pims, 33 games
This is a promising young d-man who got some bonus AHL time with all the injuries. He was another fighter that seemed to live in a black-hole for me--I almost never got to see him play or fight. All i know of is a draw against Rajamaki and a win against Henrich. Elsewhere he fought Walsh a few times, Parros and Robin Gomez. What I saw of him I liked. He played hard and with spunk and seemed to be able to handle himself when dropping the gloves alright. B+ from me, though I obviously have limisted information.
Jake Taylor: 6 fights, 156 pims, 43 games
Another promising young d-man who got bonus AHL time this year. I think Taylor can really develop into a good defensmen that can play at the NHL level because of his height and size. Unfortunately for him he broke his face in practice right after he got called up by the coach. When he finally was ready to fight, he was horrible at it. I don't know why he can't use his height to his advantage yet but he got killed by D.J. King, Brendan Yarema, and Darren Van Oene. He did decision Brendan Walsch I heard but a 1-4 record with several beat-downs is just screaming for some practice. The kid was certainly trying but I will have to give him a gentleman's C until he can learn to throw down and land some punches.
Alexander Giroux: 6 fights, 128 pims, 78 games
Not really a fighter but the guy, although not a huge guy and a good goal-scorer, can fight when he needs to! He bloodied up R.J. Umberger opening night, beat Doug O'Brien handily and beat down Jay Leach in a scrum. I'll give him a 3-1-1 mark with his one loss coming when he did not fight back for whatever reason (I didnt see the fight) vs. Mike Egener. I really like the way he plays and snaps when he's pissed off. Nothing like a skilled guy fighting mad... and winning. I give a A to Giroux for going above and beyond. He could have been a Hamiltonian goal-scorer for this team had he chosen to.
Others who fought
*Lawrence Nycholate: 5 fights (1-0-2) with a knockdown win over Kostopoulos
*Jeff MacMillan: 5 fights (1-1-0) with a TKO of Kostopoulos anda TKO loss to Tarnasky.
*Jamie Lundmark: 4 fights (1-2-0). Lundy racked up 146 pims but he clearly can't fight yet. Hopefully he keeps up the more aggressive game in NY.
*Chad Wiseman: 3 fights (1-0-0). Seems like he can throw 'em a bit (beat Cutta nicely)
*Bryce Lampman: 3 fights (0-2-0). Clearly not a good fighter but nice of him to try occassionally
*Jed Ortmeyer: 3 fights (0-2-0). Gets the "Worst fighter on the team" award IMO. Beat down by Henderson and lost to Soucy one-sidedly. Good effort as he showed in NY but he can't compare to Hollweg.
*Ryan Cuthbert: 2 fights (1-0-0). Seems like a good energy guy from Charlotte who can go when needed as demonstrated by his bloodying up Jay Leach.
*Lucas Lawson: 1 fight (?)
*Thomas Pock: 1 fight (?). Fought Dwyer so I'm sure he lost, but I liked this guy's game actually. Showed a willingness to mix it up here and there.
Considering they led the league in penalty minutes, and may very well have led the league in fights, you know this is a good grade. Amazingly all those penalties didn't kill them as they gave up the least goals in the AHL. They dressed one of the toughest lineups in the league, and occassionally even threw out three of the biggest heavyweights in the league together in Grenier, Gillies and MacIntyre. They were also stacked with back up middleweights who were very capable in Murray, Weller, and Hollweg (ok, he was not so capable). Add to this they brawled many times with Providence, Manchester, Springfield and even Lowell for goodness sake so pretty much everyone who played got involved. The Lundmarks, Giroux's, Wisemans, Lampmans, etc all got involved and fought several times. What can I say about a team that had a full 11 guys over a hundred pims but give them a nice A+ and hope like hell many of them come up to the big club next year.
Hopefully we can get some decent coverage of a bunch of teams, though I know its hard with AHL TV coverage...