Nick Foligno of the Bruins and Wayne Simmonds of the Maple Leafs and the morals behind a good fight in the NHL


Brighton, Massachusetts. – On Saturday night, in the first period Maple Leafs-Bruins at TD Garden, Wayne Simmonds put Nick Foligno On the ice with a resounding but clean check along the boards.


Play may continue. But Brandon Carlow Close to Symonds. Defenseman Symonds gave a tussle to indicate his disagreement with the way he handled his teammate. Previous blue jackets The captain isn’t one to let someone else do their dirty work, though.

“He looked like he wanted to go with Brando,” Foligno recalled on the Tuesday after the game. Bruins Train at Warrior Ice Arena. “I said, ‘No, no, no. I’ll take over here.’”

In other circumstances, there was no fighting. For example, was it Mitch Marner, the dexterous (52 points) but nimble (6-foot-1, 181-pound) Toronto winger who delivers the check, the 6-foot-2, 210-pound Foligno had come off the line to incite the scraps. If the encounter had occurred in the third period, with the Bruins leading by a goal, the fourth player would have risked giving the Leafs momentum by dropping their gloves.

But everything about the situation has given Foligno, 35, and Symonds, 34, the green light to move on. They both play on their fourth lines. Simmonds (6-foot-2, 184 lbs.) and Foligno are of similar builds. They are known as physical players who know how to handle the gloveless business. It was the fourth turnaround in the “Hockey Night in Canada” showdown between the first and second place teams in the Atlantic Division. The Bruins were coming off their first home loss of 2022-23.

“I said, let’s go,” Foligno said. He started smiling like, ‘Yeah? I’m like, ‘Yeah, let’s do this.'”

They agreed. Foligno and Symonds gave up their gloves and their sticks. They both adjusted their sleeves. After both grabbed each other’s shirts, Symonds threw the first punch. More will come.

Teammates in Toronto

Foligno (No. 28, 2006) and Symonds (No. 61, 2007) have been playing against each other since 2008-2009. Foligno was in Ottawa and then Simmonds in Los Angeles.

Thirteen years later, they became teammates in Toronto when the Leafs acquired Foligno from Columbus. They got along instantly.

“We used to laugh when I was in Toronto because we never fought,” said Foligno. “We had a lot of disagreements. But I just didn’t bring them down. Sure enough, after playing with him…

“But he’s a great guy. A great teammate. Someone I obviously respect a lot in the league.”

That they once shared the same motto doesn’t matter when they go without gloves for the first time. Foligno knew Simmonds (70 career bouts, per hockey) was a tough opponent. Not only can Simmonds swing and connect, he can also keep opponents out due to his long reach.

Foligno thought maybe he should accept Symonds’ punches early on, limiting his height and breaching his girth somehow. Sure enough, Simmonds threw two right first while locking Foligno with his left arm.

Foligno wasn’t worried. He was still in combat.

“I don’t mind taking a few punches to kind of know how far I have to step back or get inside to try and throw,” said Foligno. “If you know how to take them so they don’t hit you in the face, you’re kind of like, ‘Okay, how close should I get here to get to my entrance, come in and try to throw some?'” You’re kind of waiting, time to punch him. I’ve been doing that for a while now. It’s not like I’m a pro at it. But I’ve just had enough fights. I have fought men tougher than you, and bigger than you. You just discover it, experiment by mistake.”

After the first phase of the fight, Symonds switched to being left-handed. He took off Foligno’s helmet.

Foligno, however, recovered by extending right hand Simmonds. This let him fix his helmet. Both fighters returned to their rights as their momentum pushed them towards the boards. At all times, Foligno maintained defensive caution, especially by keeping his face out of Simmonds’ throwing area.

“Maybe people think there’s more chaos,” Foligno said. “But I tried to be a little smart about how I fight. You don’t need to go in there and start throwing. That’s how you get hurt.”

Wayne Simmonds and Nick Foligno (Winslow Townson/USA Today)

worthy of respect

In short, it looked like linemen Jesse Marquis and Killian McNamara were ready to separate the pair. Foligno and Symonds were about to empty their tanks. But with a final rush, Foligno pushed Simmonds into the boards. Symonds Foligno spun around.

As they grappled along the glass, Foligno grabbed Symonds’ shirt and pulled it over his head, knocking off his helmet. Marquis and McNamara intervened. The fight is over.

“I thought it was amazing,” Simmonds told TSN. “We were both smiling from ear to ear. He’s a guy I have a huge respect for. He’s been in this league for a long time. A very tough player. He’s a very honest player at the same time. Just trying to get the juices.”

As they exchanged pleasantries, Foligno tapped Symonds on the back of the head. Symonds responded with three flicks on top of Foligno’s helmet. They skated into their penalty boxes.

“I may be old school,” said Foligno, “but I think that’s the beauty of the sport.” “There’s a factor of respect, knowing how hard a player is playing and what you’re trying to do for your team. I like to think of myself as an honest player. Wayne as well. When you play like that, there’s usually a mutual respect. ‘Hey, we did our job. We made the fans’ It goes off, and we got our teams to work. Now it’s back to work. To me, that’s the way fighting should be. At the end of the day, yeah, I’m trying to put his lights out. I’m sure he’s trying to put my lights out. But that’s when it’s all over.” .

(Top photo by Nick Foligno and Wayne Simmonds: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

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