Coming on the heels of their annual look at the valuation of NHL franchises, Forbes has put together a list of the top five most cost-effective fighters in the NHL. Like a lot of fans, I never have to have my arm twisted to pay attention to a hockey fight, but I have to admit that I'm more than a little sympathetic with Steve Zipay, Rangers beat writer for New York Newsday, who wrote: "Doesn't Forbes have anything better to do with, you know, the economy in tatters?"
Be that as it may, I pressed on regardless. The magazine gets off on the right skate immediately by acknowledging the pivotal role played by Hockeyfights.com, admitting that they based their evaluation on the stats that David Singer and his readers have been generating for several years.
To determine the best fighters for the buck, we compared player fighting stats since the start of the 2006-07 season to their pay last year. Since a game's momentum usually swings to the team whose player prevails in a fight, we awarded a bonus for each win and subtracted points for each loss, as determined by fan voting at hockeyfights.com, an online Mecca for pugilism at the rink.
And how do we know that there's a positive correlation between winning a fight and winning hockey games? Why, because it's a fact that's been established by a legitimate academic study, that's why.
When comparing salaries, we took experience into account by contrasting a player's pay with a pool of enforcers that have similar longevity in the league, since younger players have pay-limits set by the NHL. Only the 15 players currently active on NHL rosters who dropped their gloves 20 or more times while playing in at least half their team's games over the past two seasons were included in our ranking.
And when they crunched all the numbers, it was Colton Orr of the New York Rangers who came out on top. Here's the top 5:
1. Colton Orr, New York Rangers
2. Georges Laraque, Montreal Canadiens
3. Shawn Thornton, Boston Bruins
4. Donald Brashear, Washington Capitals
5. Andrew Peters, Buffalo Sabres: Slideshow