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Photo credit: Paul Bereswill

Claude Giroux is one of the best and toughest players in the NHL. Last season, he had 93 points for the Flyers and then played beer pong two weeks after getting dual wrist surgery. It’s hard not to like him.

Capitals rookie defenseman Steve Oleksy is pretty tough customer too. Midway through the third period of Sunday’s game, as Giroux tried to glove the puck, Oleksy delivered a big, clean, open-ice hit on the Flyers captain.

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Photo credit: Jonathan Kozub

Steve Oleksy isn’t the most talented hockey player on the Washington Capitals, but he may very well be the smartest. That’s why he earned a three-year deal from George McPhee. The Management major from Lake Superior State University always seems to make the right play on the ice. And he’s pretty tough.

After nailing six-foot three-inch James Wright high with a hit, the Jets forward threw a few punches at Oleksy, but Binky kept his composure. Instead of retaliating and potentially taking a minor penalty with a 2-0 lead, Oleksy waited for the Capitals to regain possession of the puck to take care of his business.

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Har har. Bruins fan taunts Ribs. (Photo credit: Emily C.)

The Washington Capitals and Boston Bruins have developed an intense rivalry since their back-and-forth seven-game series in the first round of the playoffs last year. From the Olympic-quality dives from Brad Marchand to Nicky Backstrom’s cross-check to the face, it’s apparent these teams hate each other.

That’s why on Saturday, as they played each other for the second time in 16 days, all hell broke loose. First, Mike Ribeiro fought Brad Marchand, and Matt Hendricks laid down the law with Nathan Horton. Then, in the third period, as Shawn Thornton tried to get Hendricks to drop the gloves, Hendy bloodied his fists in a fight with Adam McQuaid.

Let’s recap all the crazy.

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oleksy-fight

Steve Oleksy has had a lot of firsts this past week. He played in his first NHL game, he scored his first NHL point, and he scored his first NHL goal. Let’s add first NHL fight to that list. It’s like a Gordie Howe hat trick in slow motion.

In the third period, with the Capitals down 3-0, Oleksy tried to spark his team, dropping mitts with Carolina Hurricanes’ center Drayson Bowman. Oleksy, who fought elevent times as a member of the Hershey Bears this season, manhandled Bowman. He landed the first punch, a haymaker that dropped Bowman to the ice, and then landed four more rights before respectfully pulling back.

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Video: Karl Alzner Fights Steve Downie and Lands a Punch

Ladies and gentlemen, Karl Alzner‘s first NHL fight occurred tonight against everyone’s favorite antagonist, Steve Downie. Alzner landed one solid right, took a few punches to the visor, and then wrestled Downie to the ice when things started looking a little dicey. How awesome is that though?

Even more incredible is the fact that Alzner chirped at Downie after he reported to the penalty box. This comes from one of the most mild-mannered players in the NHL. I seriously would love to know what Downie said to start this.

Per hockeyfights.com, this was Alzner’s fourth career bout. He actually dropped the gloves three times when he played junior hockey in the WHL.

You can check out a photo of the dust-up below the jump.

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Photo credit: Joel Auerbach

Ever since the Panthers beat the tar out of the Lightning 7-4 on Monday, they’ve struggled to put the puck in the net. On Tuesday, they traveled up to DC to face former teammate Tomas Vokoun and got blanked 3-0. Thursday, the trend continued.  Down one goal to the Sabres after 30 minutes of listless hockey, Florida was  looking for momentum.

Enter Matt Bradley.

After a neutral zone faceoff, the former Capital skated with purpose towards Paul Gaustad and shoved him. You know what happened next.

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Dustin Stevenson and Aaron Schmit settle their differences with their fists. (Video via Suzanne K.)

On Saturday, during the third and final scrimmage of the Caps’ Development Camp, the prospects turned the physicality up notch in front of a capacity crowd at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. There were three fights, each of them featuring a different combatants.

In the first period, 2009 sixth-round draft pick Garrett Mitchell got in his third throw-down of the week, challenging Group B’s Mike Bovin after a rough run. The two traded a few punches before Mitchell lost his balance and were separated by officials.

In the second stanza, Dustin Stevenson — a 6’5” behemoth — got in his second fight of camp and did so with a bit of flair, bending over and chucking his helmet through his legs before engaging Aaron Schmit. Stevenson got the upper-hand of the altercation, despite absorbing several heavy shots from Schmit at center ice.

Finally, in the third, ‘Dirty’ Danick Paquette looked for blood after being hit in open ice by Karl Stollery (video can be seen at 8:17 here). The fight, however, was a hugfest as neither landed any good punches.

Below the jump, check out my photos from all the bouts.

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A Sheldon Souray Fight in 100 Pictures

The knock-out blow

Mama, said knock you out!

All photos by Kyle M. of Sweetest Hockey On Earth.

In Hershey’s nail-biting 3-2 victory over the Norfolk Admirals Saturday, Sheldon Souray got in his second fight of the season, choosing Lightning defense prospect Vladimir Mihalik as his combatant. Mihalik, who stands in at a towering 6’8”, was still no match for the 6’4” Souray, a veteran of over 50 NHL fights.

SHOE’s Kyle M. has supplied us with the 100 pictures he took of the fight from the Giant Center’s photo-well. His pictures slow down the thirty-second altercation into a work of art, expertly capturing all the essential elements of a good fight: the grappling, the punches, the emotion, and the knock-out blow. Enjoy!

For those who missed Thursday’s Russia/Canada game at the World Championships, here’s two videos of major interest via our great friend Dmitry who some of you may know as R17a on twitter:

The Brooks Laich Bodycheck on Alex Ovechkin That Started a Brawl

Sergei Fedorov’s Second Career Fight Against Steve Downie

God, I hate Downie.