By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
Blues fans sure have forgotten about Tony "TNT" Twist in a hurry. There's a new sheriff in the town of beer and Clydesdales these days, and the kid is holding his own quite nicely, thank you very much. Rugged winger Reed Low has added some much needed snarl to the Blues' style, while leading the charge among this year's rookie rumblers looking to make it big in the NHL fight game.
Born in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, the 6-4, 24-year-old Low is 222 pounds of youthful exuberance just looking to stick as the next St. Louis slugger. If early results are any indication, there'll be no need for a recountthis kid is for real. Low leads the NHL with 12 fighting majors already in this, his first tour around the big-league circuit. His list of bare-knuckled adversaries couldn't be more impressiveBob Probert, Darren Langdon, Tie Domi, Scott Parker, and Georges Laraque, to name but a fewand he's given them all a hard fight, to be sure, losing only to the Oilers' hulking hammer, Laraque.
Low's abrasiveness has rubbed off onto the whole of the St. Louis club as well, putting it among the league leaders in both fights and points, a tough combination to top. Last year's President's Trophy winners had the glitz to throttle most everyone in 1999-2000, but their lack of muscle showed through in their first-round playoff collapse to the eighth-seeded San Jose Sharks. That's not likely to happen this time around, with Low drawing a line in the sand that all opponents must heedor face the fire of a two-handed hellcat with the size, strength, and willingness to make a Navy SEAL's knees knock.
Voted the AHL's most feared fighter last season while launching Scuds for the Worcester IceCats, Low had waited patiently for his turn behind Blues bashers Twist and Kelly Chase for the past two seasons. While standing by for the call from the big club, Low racked up over 200 penalty minutes a year in the minors. With his infectious style of play and all-out desire in the ice ring, that's one phone call the Blues are sure glad they made.
Until next time, see ya in the sin bin!
More of the season's best ice wars to date:
OCT. 18 Scott Parker (col) vs. Krzysztof Oliwa (clb)
Two of the biggest bad boys in the barn square off under the scoreboard at center ice. The pair of pugilists treat the fans to a quick trading of blows that ends when Parker's mallet mashes Oliwa's grill and sends the "Polish Pug" to his knees.
This early game confrontation pits two mega heavies in the main event. They play a tune on each other's melons, with McAllister barely hanging on after an impressive left hand from the Sandy-man.
A benchside challenge erupts into fisticuffs as Johnson once again steps to the plate for the expansion Wild. They each land a bucketful of blows before Johnson drops a pair of Scuds on Janssens's mug to leave the Blackhawk brawler leaking on his way to the sin bin. Whoever the victor, it's just good to see a Chicago-Minnesota fight again in the NHL!
OCT. 29 Reed Low (stl) vs. Darren Langdon (car)
Low, the exceptional rookie ruffian, stands in against Hurricane Langdon. The Blues basher gets in his share of strikes early, but quickly learns what many a Langdon loser has of latethe guy just gets better as it goes on. No doubt Low'll chalk it up as a learning experience and look ahead to a rematch.
A standard sequence of glove-dropping and fist-raising ends abruptly with a thunderous set of right-hand rockets from Jovo. Down goes Deadmarsh, who ends up with a concussion that has sidelined him ever since. The series of events serves as a heavy-handed reminder of what's at stake when two titans drop the mitts and get at it.
Another young gunner bringing it this season has been Flyer Fedoruk, who accepts the offer to dance with the Pens' Barnaby. They both get the grit going right off the bat, but a crisp set of lefts bury Barnaby, bloodying him on the way down.
NOV. 9 Reed Low (stl) vs. Scott Parker (col)
This multi-minute marathon of a dustup is probably the fight of the year so far. The battlers each unload an impressive ambidextrous artillery, with big marks going to the youthful Low for earning a draw against the veteran Parker.
NOV. 17 Jeff Odgers (atl) vs. Todd Fedoruk (phi)
The Philly flinger learns a big time lesson at the hands of veteran villain Odgers. A rock 'em, sock 'em beginning is followed by a crunching barrage from the Thrasher trasher, leaving Fedoruk spouting scarlet and wondering what hit him.
NOV. 17 Bob Probert (chi) vs. Patrick Cote (edm)
It's turn-back-the-clock night as Proby shows he can still engage an enemy with the best of 'em. An anxious-to-go Cote finds a willing warrior in old No. 24, and the two send bombs a-plenty toward each other's noggins. In the end, it's Probert who rings the bell on Cote down the stretch.