Pittsburgh Penguins–New York Islanders brawl

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Fight Night Brawl
123 Total
Pittsburgh Penguins 021 3
New York Islanders 441 9
DateFebruary 11, 2011
ArenaNassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum
CityUniondale, New York,  United States

The Penguins–Islanders brawl was a National Hockey League (NHL) regular season ice hockey game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the New York Islanders that resulted in a record for combined penalty minutes for both teams. The game was played on February 11, 2011, at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, the home arena of the Islanders at the time. New York won the game 9–3. In all, 65 penalties were assessed, including 15 fighting majors and 21 game misconducts, resulting in a total of 346 penalty minutes.

The high number of physical altercations was attributed to numerous on-ice incidents between the two teams throughout the season, most notably an incident during the prior meeting of the two teams in which Penguins forward Maxime Talbot delivered a hit to Blake Comeau that concussed him. Prior to the rematch, there were hints and indications from the Islanders that there would be retribution for the injury. The game itself featured two separate multi-player brawls, one of which occurred after Pittsburgh's Eric Tangradi took an elbow to the head, which caused a concussion. The NHL suspended three players for actions occurring in the game and fined the Islanders organization $100,000. After the disciplinary action was announced, Penguins owner Mario Lemieux questioned the direction of the League for allowing fighting. Lemieux was highly criticized following his comments, with critics noting that his Penguins team led the entire league in fighting majors.

Previous game[edit]

Maxime Talbot was at the center of the incident

The previous matchup, which took place nine days prior to the brawl, featured several incidents that contributed to the hostilities between the teams. In the first period of that contest, Penguins forward Maxime Talbot delivered a "questionable but unpenalized" body check to the Islanders' Blake Comeau.[1] Talbot was not penalized and Comeau played for the remainder of the game, but was diagnosed with a concussion two days later.[2] The injury caused Comeau to miss four games, including the rematch against the Penguins.[3]

A second incident occurred later in the game. With just 16.5 seconds left in regulation, Islanders goaltender Rick DiPietro shoved Penguins forward Matt Cooke as he skated through the crease.[4] As Cooke fell to the ground, a scrum ensued. Penguins goaltender Brent Johnson skated the length of the ice and engaged DiPietro in a fight. Johnson threw a single left hook, knocking the Islanders goaltender to the ice.[5] DiPietro was sidelined for six weeks following the fight due to facial fractures and knee swelling.[6][7]

Brawl game[edit]

The Islanders were upset over what had transpired in the previous game, and hinted that there would be retribution when the clubs next met on February 11, 2011.[8][9] The game began as a penalty-filled affair as eight penalties were called for infractions in the first period. The Islanders started the physical play early in the game, as Micheal Haley was assessed a roughing penalty at the 2:37 mark in the first period. Half way through the first period, the first fight of the game occurred when Haley fought with Craig Adams. A second fight broke out late in the period when the Islanders' Trevor Gillies squared off with Penguins' enforcer Eric Godard with just over two minutes left in the period. At the end of the first, New York had scored four goals on Johnson and led 4–0.[10]

Early in the second period, New York scored two goals just 30 seconds apart, taking a 6–0 lead.[10] After the sixth goal, Johnson was pulled and as he skated to the tunnel where the back-up goaltender sits, he was showered with boos from the crowd, largely due to the ramifications of his prior fight with DiPietro.[11] Shortly after Johnson was pulled, the first brawl occurred. Due to his previous hit on Comeau, Talbot was targeted by the Islanders' players, and he was 'jumped' from behind by Matt Martin.[1] Martin's attempt to engage Talbot in a fight resulted in three separate fights breaking out. In his first NHL fight, the Islanders' Josh Bailey squared off with Pascal Dupuis, while the Penguins' Mike Rupp tangled with Travis Hamonic, while Martin fought with Deryk Engelland.[11] All six players were automatically ejected from the game after each received ten-minute game misconduct penalties. Martin received an additional ten-minute misconduct and a two-minute minor for instigating the altercation.[10][11] Martin's minor was offset when Engelland was assessed a minor for roughing for his part of the altercation. Three more minors were called during the period, which ended with the Islanders leading the game 8–2.[10]

Trevor Gillies was given a nine-game suspension for his actions in the brawl

At the start of the third period, Johnson returned to the game and less than five minutes into the period, a second brawl occurred.[8] The melee started when Gillies elbowed Penguins forward Eric Tangradi in the head.[12] After the elbow, Tangradi fell to the ice, where he was continually punched.[13] When Gillies was separated from Tangradi, he was given a five-minute major for elbowing, a double minor for roughing, a ten-minute misconduct and a game misconduct.[10] Despite being ejected from the game, Gillies continued to taunt the injured Tangradi from the runway to the dressing rooms.[12][13] Tangradi left the game with an apparent concussion.[12] While that situation was unfolding, other incidents were occurring on the ice — Haley fought Talbot and, while that fight was being broken up, Johnson skated from his crease towards his blue line. Haley skated towards Johnson, then both players dropped their gloves and engaged in a fight. As Haley approached, Godard left the bench to join in the fight and protect Johnson.[8] Godard was assessed a double minor for roughing and two game misconduct penalties; Haley received an instigator minor, two fighting majors, a ten-minute misconduct and a game misconduct (the game misconduct being automatic for a third fight in a game); while Johnson was given a major for fighting.[10] Although he was ejected from the game, the crowd chanted Haley's name for the rest of the period whenever a scrum ensued,[11] another of which occurred at the 16:04 mark in the period that witnessed another six misconduct penalties. As the game wound down, there was yet another fight when Joe Vitale battled the Islanders' Andrew MacDonald. The fight occurred with just 2:47 remaining in the game, but it would not be the last penalty handed out, as just 15 seconds later, Ryan Craig was given both a cross-checking minor and a ten-minute misconduct. Both teams scored a goal during the third period, making the final a 9–3 Islanders win.[10] After all the ejections at the end of regulation, the Penguins had seven eligible players, while the Islanders had nine.[14] Only 12 players from both teams combined did not receive any penalties: Marc-Andre Fleury, Alex Goligoski, Nick Johnson, Paul Martin and Jordan Staal of Pittsburgh; and Bruno Gervais, Michael Grabner, Milan Jurcina, Mikko Koskinen, Radek Martinek, Matt Moulson and P. A. Parenteau of New York.[10] In all, 65 penalties were assessed, including 15 fighting major penalties and 21 game misconducts, for a total of 346 minutes. The penalty minute total set team records for both the Penguins and Islanders for combined penalty minutes.[15]


The day after the game, the NHL handed out suspensions and fines for the incidents. New York's Trevor Gillies received a nine-game suspension and Matt Martin was given four games for his actions, which NHL Senior Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell described as "deliberate attempts to injure." The Islanders organization was also fined $100,000 for "failure to control their players." Pittsburgh's Eric Godard was given an automatic ten-game suspension for violating League rules prohibiting players from leaving the bench to join a fight. Although such actions should result in a suspension for the player's head coach, the NHL elected not to enforce this rule. Tangradi, a recent callup from the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, suffered post-concussion symptoms, causing him to miss nearly six weeks of playing time, which had the additional effect of making Tangradi, at the time of his call-up the leading scorer in the American Hockey League (AHL), miss the AHL's clear day (as he could not be reassigned while injured), making Tangradi ineligible to play in the AHL that post-season.[15][16]

Following the announcement of the suspensions, Penguins owner and Hockey Hall of Famer Mario Lemieux questioned the direction of the League. Lemieux released a statement on the issue, saying, "The NHL had a chance to send a clear and strong message that those kinds of actions are unacceptable and embarrassing to the sport. It failed." He further added, "If the events relating to Friday night reflect the state of the league, I need to re-think whether I want to be a part of it."[17] An alternate view was expressed by Toronto Maple Leafs General Manager Brian Burke, who noted that he felt the NHL acted "swiftly, harshly and appropriately."[13] Boston Bruins forward Milan Lucic agreed with Burke, stating that the NHL took a stand against line brawls and intent to injure opponents.[18]


Scoring summary
Period Team Goal Assist(s) Time Score
1st NYI Travis Hamonic (2) Michael Grabner (9), Frans Nielsen (20) 8:51 1–0 NYI
NYI Jesse Joensuu (4) Josh Bailey (10), Matt Martin (5) 12:52 2–0 NYI
NYI P. A. Parenteau (14) (PP) Travis Hamonic (11), John Tavares (23) 17:48 3–0 NYI
NYI Michael Grabner (20) Bruno Gervais (5), Radek Martinek (7) 19:12 4–0 NYI
2nd NYI John Tavares (20) Travis Hamonic (12), Matt Moulson (13) 3:16 5–0 NYI
NYI Micheal Haley (1) Jack Hillen (8) 3:46 6–0 NYI
PIT Kris Letang (8) (PP) Alex Goligoski (20), Brett Sterling (1) 6:08 6–1 NYI
PIT Jordan Staal (5) (PP) Tyler Kennedy (16) 9:04 6–2 NYI
NYI Matt Moulson (20) P. A. Parenteau (21), John Tavares (24) 13:31 7–2 NYI
NYI Matt Moulson (21) (PP) John Tavares (25), Milan Jurcina (8) 17:50 8–2 NYI
3rd PIT Tyler Kennedy (11) Kris Letang (35), Joe Vitale (1) 7:46 8–3 NYI
NYI Michael Grabner (21) (SH) Unassisted 17:51 9–3 NYI
Number in parenthesis represents the player's total in goals or assists to that point of the season
Penalty summary

As noted before, there were 346 penalty minutes handed out in the game. Combined, there were twenty-eight minor penalties (56 minutes), sixteen major penalties (fifteen of them were for fighting), and twenty-one misconduct or game misconducts handed out.

Of these, the Islanders received fourteen minor penalties (28 minutes), nine major penalties (45 minutes -- eight were fighting majors and another was an elbowing), and eleven misconduct or game misconducts (110 minutes) for a total of 183 penalty minutes.

The Penguins received fourteen minor penalties (28 minutes), seven major penalties (35 minutes), all of which were fighting majors, and ten misconduct or game misconducts (100 minutes), for a total of 163 penalty minutes.

Period Team Player Penalty Time PIM Running PIM total
1st NYI Micheal Haley Roughing 2:37 2:00 2:00
NYI Fighting 10:22 5:00 7:00
PIT Craig Adams 10:22 12:00
NYI Travis Hamonic Hooking 14:33 2:00 14:00
PIT Team, served by Eric Tangradi Too many men on the ice 15:51 16:00
PIT Eric Godard Fighting 17:56 5:00 21:00
NYI Trevor Gillies 26:00
NYI John Tavares Slashing 20:00 2:00 28:00
2nd NYI Matt Martin Instigator, Fighting, Misconduct, Game misconduct 5:21 27:00 55:00
PIT Michael Rupp Fighting, Game misconduct 15:00 70:00
PIT Pascal Dupuis 85:00
NYI Josh Bailey 100:00
NYI Travis Hamonic 115:00
PIT Deryk Engelland 12:00 127:00
NYI Frans Nielsen Slashing 7:51 2:00 129:00
PIT Eric Godard Roughing 17:20 131:00
PIT Zbynek Michalek Slashing 17:30 133:00
3rd PIT Brooks Orpik Charging 1:19 135:00
NYI Kyle Okposo Roughing 137:00
NYI Trevor Gillies Roughing (double minor), Elbowing (major), Misconduct, Game misconduct 4:47 29:00 166:00
NYI Micheal Haley Instigator, Fighting (double major), Misconduct, Game misconduct 32:00 198:00
PIT Craig Adams Roughing, Game misconduct 12:00 210:00
PIT Eric Godard Roughing (double minor), double Game misconduct 24:00 234:00
PIT Brent Johnson Fighting 5:00 239:00
PIT Maxime Talbot Fighting 244:00
NYI Kyle Okposo Interference 12:12 2:00 246:00
PIT Brett Sterling Roughing 248:00
PIT Tyler Kennedy Holding 12:40 250:00
PIT Kris Letang Roughing, Misconduct 16:04 12:00 262:00
NYI Kyle Okposo 274:00
NYI Zenon Konopka 286:00
PIT Maxime Talbot 298:00
NYI Team, served by Jesse Joensuu Too many men on the ice 2:00 300:00
NYI Jack Hillen Misconduct 16:12 10:00 310:00
PIT Brett Sterling 10:00 320:00
NYI Andrew MacDonald Fighting, Cross checking 17:43 7:00 327:00
PIT Joe Vitale Fighting, Cross checking 7:00 334:00
PIT Ryan Craig Cross checking, Misconduct 17:58 12:00 346:00

Penalty summary[edit]

Below is a table showing players from both teams and the number of penalties and penalties in minutes they received.[10]

Player Team Penalties Minutes
Micheal Haley NYI 7 39
Trevor Gillies NYI 6 34
Eric Godard PIT 6 31
Matt Martin NYI 4 27
Craig Adams PIT 3 17
Travis Hamonic NYI 3 17
Maxime Talbot PIT 3 17
Kyle Okposo NYI 4 16
Josh Bailey NYI 2 15
Pascal Dupuis PIT 2 15
Michael Rupp PIT 2 15
Ryan Craig PIT 2 12
Deryk Engelland PIT 2 12
Zenon Konopka NYI 2 12
Kris Letang PIT 2 12
Brett Sterling PIT 2 12
Jack Hillen NYI 1 10
Andrew MacDonald NYI 2 7
Joe Vitale PIT 2 7
Brent Johnson PIT 1 5
Tyler Kennedy PIT 1 2
Zbynek Michalek PIT 1 2
Frans Nielsen NYI 1 2
Brooks Orpik PIT 1 2
John Tavares NYI 1 2
Bench Minor NYI 1 2
Bench Minor PIT 1 2

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Isles fined $100K; 3 banned after brawl". ESPN. 2011-02-13. Retrieved 2011-03-02.
  2. ^ "Blake Comeau out with concussion". New York Newsday. 2011-02-05. Retrieved 2011-03-02.
  3. ^ "Grabner scores 3 in Isles' 7–6 OT win over Sabres". NBC. 2011-02-13. Retrieved 2011-03-02.
  4. ^ "Islanders, DiPietro go down fighting". The New York Post. 2011-02-03. Retrieved 2011-03-03.
  5. ^ Botta, Christopher (2011-02-03). "In One Punch, Down Goes DiPietro". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-03-03.
  6. ^ "Punch knocks DiPietro out". The Toronto Sun. 2011-02-04. Retrieved 2011-03-03.
  7. ^ "NHL Capsules". National Hockey League. 2011-03-20. Retrieved 2011-03-29.
  8. ^ a b c "Penguins, Islanders set records for most penalties". The Chicago Tribune. 2011-02-11. Retrieved 2011-03-03.
  9. ^ Strang, Katie (2011-02-11). "Islanders punish Pens, get revenge". Newsday. Retrieved 2011-03-03.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Penguins, Islanders Box Score". USA Today. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-03-03.
  11. ^ a b c d "Penguins, Islanders Brawl: NHL Teams Fight For Second Time In 9 Days". The Huffington Post. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-03-03.
  12. ^ a b c Molinari, Dave (2011-02-13). "Penguins Notebook: Tangradi isn't sure about severity of injury". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2011-03-03.
  13. ^ a b c Allen, Kevin (2011-02-15). "Penguins-Islanders mayhem bucks fighting trend". USA Today. Retrieved 2011-03-03.
  14. ^ "Penguins-Islanders Get Major Revenge Against Penguins". Canaiden Online Media Network. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-03-03.
  15. ^ a b "NHL levies suspensions to Penguins and Isles". National Hockey League. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-03-04.
  16. ^ Anderson, Shelly (2011-03-24). "Tangradi returns from concussion to resume practicing". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2011-05-09.
  17. ^ "Lemieux questions direction of NHL following game with Isles". TSN. 2011-02-13. Retrieved 2011-03-04.
  18. ^ Brehm, Mike (2011-02-13). "Mario Lemieux: League 'failed' in punishment of Friday's brawl". USA Today. Retrieved 2011-03-04.

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