By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
March 8 Eric Cairns (nyi) vs. Jody Shelley(clb)
A tough rookie who has taken 'em all on this season, Shelley adds the Isles' main hammer, Cairns, to his list. They think about it, raise their fists to the John L. Sullivan pose, and start throwing. Down the stretch, it's right for right, with Cairns taking a slim decision as Shelley enters the sin bin leaking scarlet from the nose.
March 10 Wade Belak(tor) vs. Todd Fedoruk (phi)
A pair of tenderfoots from knuckle junction gets 'em up in Philly! The Flyer faithful love the rough stuff, and this fits the bill perfectly. Fedoruk drops the gloves at the blue line, and is obliged by a game Belak. Both men hit the target hard in this bout, a slight edge going to the Flyer gunner toting the big right hand.
March 10 Scott Thornton(sj) vs. Mike Brown (van) and Ed Jovanovski (van)
It's the tail end of a home-and-home series, and the Canucks want some payback. Thornton roughed up Jovanovski late in the initial contest, and now has to answer the bell all night long in round two. He takes on Canuck knuckle-chucker Mike Brown in a pair of early preliminary bouts, then racks up the rare fighting hat-trick by settling things bare fisted-style with the aforementioned JovoCop.
March 12 Eric Cairns (nyi) vs. Rob Ray (buf)
Active with his digits lately, Cairns continues his parade of pugilism by inviting Sabre slugger Ray to dance. These two really throw the bombs, slugging away with accuracy and intent. Both grills get dented, and Cairns lands the last big shot of the fight as the game winds down.
March 13 Dallas Drake(stl) vs. Gary Suter (sj)
Not the likeliest of foes when you think of do-si-doin', but they don't disappoint in this scrap. The fracas starts thanks to a huge hit by Drake on Suter behind the net. They get up off the deck, shake out the cobwebs, then shake off the gloves. Drake gets the right hand a-wailin', but Suter returns the favor with his own volley of punches. A pretty even dustup ends with Drake sporting a nasty gash under the eye, but a smile on his face. Now that's hockey!