Niklas Backstrom watched Islanders goalie Rick DiPietro get clocked in a one-punch knockout by Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Brent Johnson on Wednesday night and said, "That's why I don't fight."
"I almost got into a fight once," the Wild goalie said, laughing. "It was the last game in Sweden in 2001. There was a scrum at the end, and their goalie looks at me and starts skating to me. So I bent over and ducked and he went right over. Then the refs jumped in.
"I don't think I'll get into the fight in the NHL. Nothing good would come of that for me or the team."
Goalie coach Bob Mason never got into a goalie vs. goalie fight, but he did fight Montreal Canadiens forward Shayne Corson once when he played goal for Vancouver.
"He punched my upper lip right off," Mason said.
Injured Wild goalie Josh Harding has been in a couple of scraps, once breaking Jamie Storr's nose in the minors.
But DiPietro really messed up against Johnson.
"He got a bad scouting report," Mason quipped. "He didn't know [Johnson] was a lefty."
That's actually a good point. Former NHL goalie Kay Whitmore, now the league's goalie equipment guru and hockey operations manager, was on the ice with a bunch of young goalies Thursday.
"I said, 'Did you guys learn anything last night?'" Whitmore said. "They said, 'What, don't get punched?' I said, 'No, as [former NHLer and league-office colleague] Kris King says, 'Don't go into a fight not knowing what hand the other guy throws with.'"
Backstrom's a glover, not a fighter
Minneapolis Star Tribune | Feb 4