The Ablino Rhino 05-06
So I was back on the Leafs, which meant I was back on the fourth line. The good news was I got another punching bag in Paul Gaustad. He is one terrible fighter, maybe even worse than Chris Dingman. At least Dingman is good at holding on, something Goose doesn't have a clue how to do, let alone how to throw a punch. Paul threw a big check on Mats and I went right after him. I got the sleeve of my jersey over my head, yet I managed to land a few punches, while Goose just held on like a confused sissy. I beat this guy when I couldn't see, that's how bad a fighter he was.
There were a few new kids on the block that year, one of them was Brian McGrattan from the Senators. He had been stuck in the AHL for the last three years. His role was largely restricted to a fourth line fighter, not good for trying to secure a roster spot in the post lockout NHL. He asked me during the warmup if I could help him out.
We fought four minutes into the game. He turned out to be a great fighter. He could hold his opponents back with the left and overwhelm them with big right punches and left jersey jabs. Mind you I could do the same, and did in this fight. It was more or less a draw. Brian made the Senators lineup that year. I was the key to for tough guys trying to make it to the NHL.
The other rookie was Colton Orr from the Bruins. A big guy who fought openly. He didn't know what defense was and he had a lot of punching power. It was just as easy to knock him out as it was for his fists to do some real damage to his opponents. I found that out the hard way when I fought him for the first time in late October. He hammered me with a right square on my nose, and broke it. I didn't lose the fight though. It was even before then, and I was still going after. I didn't even know it was broken at the time.
Other than my two wins against Goose and a win against Eric Boulton, it was a frustrating year in terms of fighting. My game suffered that year as well. I was a minus thirteen, safe to say my days of playing defense were over. The whole team sucked actually, and we missed the playoffs.