On this day: Oilers and Kings set a penalty record

On February 28th, 1990, the Edmonton Oilers and Los Angeles Kings combined to set a record for the most penalties in a hockey game with 86 infractions given out on the night. Once again, if you’re not following hockey historian Mike Commito on Twitter then you’re definitely missing out.

As the old Rodney Dangerfield saying goes, “I went to a fight and a hockey game broke out” and this matchup between the Oilers and Kings certainly fits that bill. In total, 356 penalty minutes were handed out (199 for the Oilers, 157 for the Kings) in a game that can only be described as a brawl that looked more like a scene from Road House than an NHL game.

Then again, line brawls like this were much more common in the 80s, whereas seeing the same type of melee is almost unheard of nowadays. As you’ll see in the video (below) things really started to kick off when two former teammates, Mark Messier and Marty McSorley, started trading punches behind the goal line. Once those guys started going then the fuse was lit on what would become a historic night for PIM lovers.

Check out the brawl below:

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below


Fights and brawls aside, there was an actual hockey game that took place on that night. The Kings ended up winning the match by a score of 4-2 with Wayne Gretzky leading the way for LA with three points (1G, 2A).

HockeyFights Notes:

  • Marty McSorley “fought” three times in this game (His second fight, Esa Tikkanen was not given a major for)
  • Steve Smith, McSorley, and Jeff Beukeboom all were kicked out of the game at varying points
  • Edmonton and Los Angeles were 13th and 15th on the total fighting majors list for the season.

  • Spaceman Spiff

    I remember that brawl really well and it’s long been my belief that it ranks up there among the most important “historic” events for the franchise, certainly during a regular-season. It was as important and, more to the point, significant, as any brawl back in the heyday of the Battle of Alberta. The Oilers of early 1990 were still recovering from the Gretzky trade, and from blowing a 3-1 series lead to Gretzky and the Kings in the spring of 1989. This brawl exorcised a lot of demons connected with the Kings and was a huge team-building moment going forward. The Oilers lost this game, but they beat the Kings pretty handily in the playoffs later in the spring on the way to winning the Cup and then beat the Kings in two more playoff series in 1991 and 1992.

    Side note: Gotta love the two homers from L.A. as they called the brawls. The folks at Prime Ticket scored the “punches-landed/punches-thrown” between McSorley and Messier as 2-1 in favour of Marty, but if you’re wondering where Messier’s punch landed, take a look at McSorley’s busted helmet after they’re separated. That would have hurt.

  • Borbs

    I remember watching this game in my basement bedroom as a 14 year old. My dad used to tell me that I could stay up and watch the west coast games with the sound down so Mom wouldn’t bust me when he worked afternoons. He rolled in the door at 1 a.m. and was shocked to see me still up. I told him the game had just ended a while ago, and after I told him what happened, we stayed up a bit longer to watch the highlights. What a game!

  • T Ambrosini

    I have Steve Smith’s jersey from this game. Somewhere he must have got grabbed and a large rip opened on the left flank of the jersey. The jersey was repaired before next use but you sure can see where the damage had been done. One of my more battered game worn Oilers jerseys….