32-year-old Maple Leaf Wayne Simmonds is in his 13th NHL season. He won the Mark Messier Leadership Award two years ago. He established himself as a tough bastard in the world's best league a decade ago. That's the long way of saying the Wayne Train certainly doesn't have to fight in today's NHL.
Jordie Benn is a well-respected, stay-at-home defensman who worked his ass off to get to the NHL. He wasn't drafted and was playing in the CHL two years before his NHL debut. He became an NHL regular at 26 years old. Though a hard-nosed player, fighting isn't the first thing that comes to mind when you think about him.
Well, that's until his young stud D partner and Grinnelli stunt double Quinn Hughes takes this bone-rattling hit into the end boards from Simmonds late in a 7-3 blowout loss.
Benn immediately jumped to the defense of Hughes to square off with Simmonds and they treated us to one of the best fights so far this season. I'm not sure I've ever seen a guy block punches with his elbow pad like that before. Sick D by Simmonds. For real.
Though Benn didn't get the W, he showed up to let the Leafs know that there will be a toll to pay if you're gonna bundle one of Vancouver best players, particularly in garbage time. These two teams face off again tomorrow night then again Monday. And then six more times after that later in the season.