You know, my dear readership, (which is most likely down considerably from the zero readers I had after almost a month without fights), it is good to be back. With a few losing streaks, a few bad games, a shitty power play, and a bunch of cry baby bandwagon fans over the past month, the lack of fights for the Penguins has made hockey almost unbearable. Thankfully, last night, we finally got back into the saddle, (oh yeah, I did it.)
Eric Godard stepped in and finally did what I've been waiting for: played a complete game on the fourth line. I've mentioned it before but I'll say it again; Godard, while a great fighter, isn't exactly that great at anything else whether it be shooting, or passing, or hitting, or even skating. Last night, Godard was at least doing the hitting part. Both fourth lines, in fact, were getting their noses dirty and getting some good chances. After Godard went to the box for slashing at Dion Phaneuf, I knew he was in the game. Perhaps it was playing in front of his old crowd that got him going, but something kept Godard's legs churning and he was delivering actual checks instead of just minor bumps.
Once a year this seems to happen, last year it was when Godard thumped Dustin Byfuglien (a name I refuse to pronounce anyway except phonetically), when the Penguins played Chicago. Everyone knows about Byfuglien, a poor man's Milan Lucic. You know, a guy that plays with an edge but rarely fights for himself and when he does he's usually fighting someone smaller than him? Though, really, that's not really true with Lucic, he's had some big time fights. Hmmm, let's go poor man's Chris Neil then, eh? Sounds good.
Byfuglien is known for his shenanigans, the most recent big time example being him getting in Roberto Luongo's head, along with the rest of the Canucks', during the playoffs last season. Byfuglien never answered for it. Quite honestly I'm surprised a Canuck didn't just take an extra two to beat some sense into him. But, this is about Godard.
In that game as previously mentioned, Godard took a run at Byfuglien. Byfuglien was obviously not going to fight Godard but Godard took him off his game with a rough, despite four goals being scored by Chicago, Byfuglien didn't figure in on one, and was a minus for the game. Too busy worrying about this happening again I imagine:
Personally, I think my favorite thing about this is Godard's smug look. He knows at this point he's going to the box, but he's done good. Byfuglien was a non factor the rest of the game. Seriously, I don't even remember him playing.
So, in this game, Godard was doing much of the same, laying the body when he could. Really, this is all just a set up for me to be able to post a picture of Godard checking someone, cause it's about as rare as a photograph of Alex Ovechkin delivering a clean check:
Love me some Eric Godard checks, especially with his hair flowing through the air like some mighty medieval champion. Sidenote: Godard would slay some dudes if he was in Gaul back in the day.
Anyhoo, Godard actually did do more than hit people in this game, he actually got in a fight! Yes, there is a Santa Claus! After almost a month without a fight, someone on the Pittsburgh Penguins finally dropped the gloves, and it was a dozy:
What a tilt. Honestly, I'm not sure if I like seeing Godard clearly win more or see a great fight between him and another heavyweight. He and Brian McGrattan have a history, fighting in the NHL and the AHL, so they know each other well. As Errey talks about after the fight, this was a discussed fight just how it should be. McGrattan wanted to get the crowd involved in a 1-0 game, as the Saddle Dome had gone quiet, so he went to Godard. Godard follows The Code, so he obliged the fight. Most any other heavyweight would do the same, and I imagine McGrattan would do the same if the roles were reversed. Part of the respect and honor in these fights.
The fight itself is a draw. Despite Godard opening McGrattan up with a little cut, both were getting in some heavy shots on each other. My favorite part about this fight is the end where they know they are done and just say a little something to each other. Judging by no extra stuff after the linesmen step in, I'll bet it was something about respect, each telling the other that they did a good job. That's what I like the most about fights in hockey, the heavyweights respect other heavyweights, they know what kind of job they do and they think highly of each other, despite trying to end each other with monstrous blows to the face.
It's good to see the Penguins fighting again, and winning too. The Penguins were 2-7-0 from the last time there was a fight to last night, wherein they got a victory. The math seems pretty simple to me: Fight more, win more.