Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Top 10 Greatest Fighters In San Jose Sharks History

The history of San Jose Sharks' fighters and enforcers is full of some pretty gritty players who share a special place in the minds of franchise-long Shark fans.

They can think back to Owen Nolan or Scott Parker, or even today's fighters like Ryane Clowe, Jamal Mayers and Douglas Murray.

But the majority of today's Sharks teamcan be considered anything but fighters. In fact, the team as a whole can be referred to as a bunch of pretty boys with Thornton, Marleau and Heatley rarely throwing a punch.

But today's game has changed. It isn't as gritty as it once was, which is why the history of Sharks' fighters contains players from the distant past and a few from the past couple of seasons.

These 10 players played a major role in building this Sharks franchise and the Sharks reputation as a team that will contend for the Cup year in and year out, one punch at a time.

10. Ryane Clowe

Some may argue that Clowe is not one of the best fighters the Sharks have ever had, but Clowe is one of the more frequent fighters the Sharks have seen in the last few years.

He isn't even an enforcer, just a left winger who loves a good fight. ranked him the NHL's Most Skilled Fighter of 2009-10 and he continues to share the fighting duties today, as he needs to protect the Big 3 of Thornton, Marleau and Heatley.

9. Todd Ewen

Ewen's brief stint with the Sharks in 1996-97 was hardly forgettable.

In 51 games played, he racked up 162 PIM.

He was a true enforcer for every team he played for, including protecting the likes of Paul Kariya and Teemu Selanne.

He retired in 1997 after his year with the Sharks and totalled 1,911 penalty minutes, good enough for 58th all time.

8. Tim Hunter

Another player with a brief stint with the Sharks, Hunter was known for his fierce style of play.

He has gone down as one of the more elite enforcers of the 1990's.

His 1996-97 year with the Sharks proved to be his last, but he racked up 135 PIM in just 46 games played.

He would finish with over 2,000 penalty minutes in his career.

7. Dave Brown

Brown was known in the NHL as guy who could throw a heck of a punch, and less for scoring goals.

In 1995, the Sharks franchise went through an attitude change by acquiring Brown to add to their already punch-heavy line of Jeff Odgers and Dody Wood.

Although he only played in 37 games with the Sharks, he is one of the true heavyweights to come through this Sharks fanchise.

6. Jody Shelley

A more familiar name to more recent Shark fans, Shelley is the epitome of what an enforcer looks like.

Missing teeth, busted nose, Shelley has the most major fighting penalties since he entered the league in 1998.

His tenure with the Sharks went from 2007-2010 where he was responsible for protecing the likes of Thornton and Marleau.

He holds most of the NHL records for penalty minutes including the single season (357) and single-game (41), which took place with the San Jose Sharks.

5. Jeff Odgers

Odgers was never drafted, but attended tryout after tryout and found his way onto the Sharks from 1991-96.

He would play in just 334 games for the Sharks, and racked up a total of over 1,000 penalty minutes in that time.

He was considered as the elite enforcer for the Sharks during his five-year tenure in San Jose.

4. Link Gaetz

Gaetz was one of the original Sharks, being drafted in the Sharks expansion of 1991. He was definitely a fan favorite.

He would only play in 48 games for the Sharks after a car accident in 1992 put his young NHL career on hold.

In just those 48 games, Gaetz totalled 328 penalty minutes, a Sharks record.

3. Marty McSorley

Another player with a brief stint in San Jose, McSorley played in two seasons with the Sharks and is referred to as one of the best Sharks fighters in the history of the franchise.

In 113 games, McSorley tallied 326 penalty minutes, including an epic game against his former team, the Oilers, in which he racked up 39 penalty minutes.

2. Scott Parker

One of the more tenured Sharks enforcers, Parker played three seasons with the Sharks from 2003-06.

His nickname was "The Sheriff," known for keeping the peace on the ice even if that meant throwing down with an opposing player, which he did regularly in San Jose.

As a Shark, he played in 71 games and tallied 161 penalty minutes.

1. Owen Nolan

Nolan had the entire package in his years with the Sharks.

He played in San Jose from 1995 to 2003, where he earned the captain's "C" and was known as a physical force on the ice.

He was consistent. He averaged over 100 penalty minutes and over 70 games in his eight years with the Sharks.

But it was his balanced play as a Shark that got with the recognition. Nolan was a force offensively as well, scoring 84 points in 2000, leading the Sharks to the postseason.

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