Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Notable Tough Guys In Wild History

The past few days, fighting has become front and center in the NHL news stream. And to be honest here, fighting has become more staged than anything, making it a joke to the game now (this rant will be saved for a different day).

But for fun today, we take a trip down memory lane and look back at the notable "goons" in Wild history.

He was the first noted goon in the team's history, as he was a member of the Wild's inaugural team from the 2000-2001 season. In his four seasons with Minnesota, Johnson racked up 698 penalty minutes. In addition to spending time in the box, the left winger was named team Captain by Head Coach Jacques Lemaire for the month of December in the infamous 2002-03 season. Johnson is the team's all time leader in PIMs with 698.

Another member of the Wild's inaugural squad, Blouin and Johnson were a formidable tandem on the Wild in their first two years. Blouin racked up 117 and 130 penalty minutes respectively in his two seasons here, before being let go early in the 2002-03 season.

Brown joined the Wild in the 2001-02 season, and he racked up 123 penalty minutes that season, joining Johnson and Blouin as a trio of tough guys. Brown played the next two seasons with the Wild, but had a decrease in fights, as he took on more of a leadership role with the squad. Brown served as Wild captain twice, the first in 2001-02 and the second in 2003-04.

Derek Boogaard 
There has been no more high profiled tough guy in Wild history than the late Derek Boogaard. He came on to the scene in the post lockout season of 2005-06, and spent the next five seasons in Minnesota. He racked up 544 penalty minutes in those five seasons, and was considered one of the better fighters in the league during that time. Injuries cut down Boogey's time here and he was let go following the 2009-10 season.

After the departure of Boogaard, Staubitz was brought in to keep the "tough" image on the team. In his first season in Minnesota, he racked up 173 penalty minutes. He also added a little offense to the fold by scoring nine points (four goals, five assists) that season as well. Staubitz played another half season in Minnesota before being sent to Montreal.

The Wild brought in Konopka just last summer to fill the tough guy void left by Staubitz. Konopka had previously racked up 307 penalty minutes with the Islanders in the 2010-11 season and in his first season with the Wild he managed to find the box for 117 minutes in just 37 games. Imagine what he will do in a full season this year for the Wild.

Rupp was also brought in last season to "toughen up" the team. He played the fourth line with Konopka and took on a few fights last year. He only had 67 penalty minutes, but he definitely is not afraid to drop the gloves when needed too.

Follow Giles on Twitter @gilesferrell

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