During a lull in the Isles road trip – no games between Saturday and Wednesday – I decided to dedicate a post to the lost art in today’s NHL: the enforcer. Although he hasn’t played a game yet and may miss the entire season due to a back injury, today is the Islanders’ current tough guy Matt Carkner’s 34th birthday.
He may be known for chucking knuckles but Carkner has shown he can use his hands just as well with the gloves on; he tallied a point for the Isles during the 12-13 playoffs and has had 4 20+ point seasons at the AHL level. However, the stat he’s accumulated most is penalty minutes with 556 in 237 NHL games – slightly over 2 a game – and reaching as many as 335 minutes in the AHL.
Whether or not you believe fighting belongs in the NHL (and I do, but you could probably tell by the fact I’m writing this), Matt Carkner has proved to be a valuable player for this team when we need a little bit of grit or someone to stand up for our stars. In honor of his 34th birthday and the hard fought way he’s made his living, I present the top 5 fights of Matt Carkner’s career.
5) vs Cam Janssen – 1/21/2010
Us Islanders’ fans have seen plenty of Cam Janssen and this scrap features one of his trademark square ups. They could potentially meet up again someday in a Devils-Isles matchup but a couple seasons ago, Carkner got the better of Cam.
4) vs Ian Laperierre – 11/12/2009
In just his first full season in the NHL, Carkner drops the mitts with the veteran Ian Laperierre and has a pretty good showing. There was one punch that just barely missed that might’ve turned Laperierre into a Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robot.
3) vs Krys Barch – 2/3/2013
The local rivalry between the Islanders and Devils seemingly always produces fisticuffs so when Matt Carkner arrived, it was expected he’d play in that game. In his best fight as an Islander, he took it to the Devils’ enforcer at the time, Krys Barch. They actually fought again later that season when Barch was on the Panthers and Carkner again got the best of him.
2) vs Tanner Glass – 2/4/2010
The 3rd fight on this list from Carkner’s destructive first full season comes from February, when Carkner put a beating on Vancouver’s tough guy at the time, Tanner Glass. Now that he’s on the Rangers, I’m sure Islander fans wouldn’t mind seeing this again from Carkner, but Glass isn’t really in Carkner’s weight class and he must know that.
1) Trevor Gillies – 2/27/2008
During Carkner’s AHL stint in Binghamton playing in Ottawa’s organization, he found himself facing off with Trevor Gillies – another former Islander enforcer. After a nice square off, Carkner proceeds to give Gillies the business him and cuts him. Perhaps a bit of foreshadowing for when Carkner and Gillies would fight for the job in New York, again ending in Gillies getting cut.
So, there you have it; those are Matt Carkner’s top 5 career fights. Happy Birthday again to Matt and we all wish him a speedy recovery from back surgery.