The Oilers got in some good scraps this past season

Photo credit:Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
10 months ago
I know the Stanley Cup Finals kick off today but I don’t really care about that series in the slightest, all I want to do is talk about the Oilers. And since I was in the mood for highlights, I found myself rewatching a few of the 17 fights the boys got into during the 2022-23 NHL season, and that made me want to team up with Nation Dan from HockeyFights.com and put together a little look back at some of the best scraps from the past year.
Listen, fights aren’t for everybody — I get that — seeing two guys square up when it doesn’t really have much to do with the actual sport is kind of ridiculous when you think about it, but I’m still a fan provided that the situation is worthy of fisticuffs. There’s just something about two willing combatants going at it to settle some shenanigans that the caveman in me has always appreciated, ya know? And until the NHL decides that fighting no longer belongs in the game — my personal guess on that is within a decade — I’ll be a fan of the rough stuff whenever it happens provided the context makes sense. With that in mind, let’s look at some of the best Oilers fights from the 2022-23 season.


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Rated by HockeyFights voters as a 96.6% win for Nuge, this scrap from March 1st against Justin Holl has to be one of my personal highlights from last season. After Holl ran over Kailer Yamamoto behind the Oilers net, the next thing he saw was Ryan Nugent-Hopkins rushing in to clean his clock, and the reaction from the Rogers Place faithful was unsurprisingly fantastic. There’s just something special that happens when Raging Nugent-Hopkins comes out, ya know? We know my man doesn’t fight a whole lot, but when he does shed the mitts, he always seems to make it count.


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The highest rated Oilers scrap over at HockeyFights — users gave this one a 7.43/10 — it also happened to be the last fight of the season that saw Darnell Nurse tune up Nicolas Hague right at the end of Game 4. As we all know, that scrap in the dying moments of the game led to Nurse being suspended for Game 5 because of a nonsense instigator penalty, but that’s life in the NHL when the application of their own rulebook is about as consistent as baby poo on a warm day. I don’t know why I picked that analogy. Either way, if there’s one thing we know about Darryl it’s that he can chuck ’em and this fight with Nic Hague was another chapter in that same story.


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If you remember back to January, the Oilers were spinning their wheels a little bit and it legitimately looked like their season was in danger of actually getting on the right track. That was, in my opinion, until this Jan. 9th game against the Kings. Yeah, the Oilers lost that game because the PK was a disaster, but the real takeaway was the three fights the boys got into that night and how it almost seemed to be a rallying point for the back half of the season. Rated as a 6.49/10 by HockeyFights users, the vote has Klim Kostin losing this fight but I’m not sure I agree From my side of the laptop screen, this was a pretty evenly matched affair.


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After Evander Kane’s wrist got stepped on by Pat Maroon back in November, seeing him drop the mitts was the last thing I was expecting. While I figured he would still play the same kind of gritty style he always has, I just figured that fighting wasn’t going to be on the menu for a while. So when he squared up with Brady Tkachuk on Feb. 11th, I was as surprised as I was excited. There’s just something special about two big, skilled guys going at it, and that’s exactly what we got with this fight against Brady Tkachuk. Two big men just swinging, and I love it. Rated by HockeyFights users as a 5.85/10, Evander Kane took 52.3% of the votes as the winner with only 26.2% voting for Tkachuk while the remaining 21.5% felt it was a draw.


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I love Brett Kulak. Not only does he give the Oilers reliable minutes on the back end, but every now and then, he sheds the mitts and absolutely dummies someone as was the case in this late January fight against Sam Lafferty. The Oilers ran the show in this game against the Blackhawks — it was also the Matt Berlin game if you remember — but the domination didn’t really get started until Kulak dusted off Lafferty midway through the second period. Honestly, I’m not sure what Lafferty was hoping would happen here because Brett Kulak had absolutely no issue feeding the guy his lunch, prompting 74% of HockeyFights users to name him the winner. I know that fighting is only a small part of Kulak’s game, but I will also file his willingness to do so as exhibit 43 in the pile of reasons why the Oilers should be keeping him for as long as they possibly can.


What’s interesting about putting this article together was seeing that 75% of the fights the Oilers got into this season happened in the second half of the year, almost like it was a conscious decision that they weren’t going to take anyone’s B.S. anymore. Either way, diving into the data at HockeyFights was pretty interesting and it’s always fascinating to see just how many people watch the replays that Dan throws up on the site. As much as the sheer number of fights is dropping by the year, what remains true is that there is a massive audience for this content in the rare instances when they do happen. So what do you think? Do you want me to do more of this kind of stuff during the year? Don’t care? Lemme know in the comments.

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