Editorials

Islanders: Ranking Ross Johnston’s Fights From 2019-2020

By Matt O'Leary
New York Islanders left wing Ross Johnston (32) (Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders left wing Ross Johnston (32) (Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Six times last year, Ross Johnston dropped the gloves for the Islanders. Here are the rankings of those five fights in 2019-2020.

Ross Johnston dressed for 32 games for the New York Islanders this past year. In those 32 games, Ross ‘The Boss’ dropped the gloves six times. That’s a fight once every 5.3 games, talk about efficiency.

It’s what Ross is best at, he’s not a fourth-liner who is going to kill penalties, or a past their prime veteran who brings his experience. Oh no, he’s a 26-year-old enforcer, the last of a dying breed.

What I wanted to do was take a look back at Johnston’s six fights from this past year and rank them. Let’s get into it, working our way up from six to one:

6. Ross Johnston vs Luke Witowski

Neither Johnston nor Witowski were on the ice initially but, Ross made quick work of him here. Johnston’s knuckles bleeding with him jawing back and forth with Luke Witowski in the box was certainly a spectical.

5. Ross Johnston vs Ryan Reeves

The lone fight that Ross Johnston arguably lost. I would say Reaves got the better of him, but this is an absolute heavyweight brawl between these two enforces. Two of the best in the league who still go at it and fans got a show right off the jump.

I love the suspense before the two actually get into it. Both guys drop the gloves, roll up the sleeves, and prepare for battle. That’s some old school stuff.

4. Ross Johnston vs Chris Stewart

It took a couple of tries for these two to go in the first period of that game but finally, Johnston and Stewart had the opportunity to go. Ross was able to wrestle Stewart down after he took exception to the Cole Bardreau cross-checking penalty.

3. Ross Johnston vs Garnet Hathaway

Here we have Garnet Hathaway getting an interference call which Ross Johnston didn’t like. Johnston stepped up for his goalie and threw a flurry of uppercuts at poor Garnet Hathaway. With the Islanders already up 4-1 talk about adding injury to insult.

2. Ross Johnston vs Josh Brown

The shimmy. That’s all you have to know. The iconic shimmy from Ross Johnston that has been GIF’d 100 times, the ferocious tossing of the gloves it was phenomenal. Plus, Ross handled Brown (six-foot-five 217 pounds) fairly well getting a few punches in before taking him down to the ice.

1 Ross Johnston vs Michael Haley

You knew they were about to go as Ross Johnston and Michael Haley were jawing at each other at the faceoff. Ross Johnston then unleashed 13 punches (Yes, I counted) in a row before Haley even knows what happened.

Johnston then goes to the body on Haley, who to his credit did not go down easy. Eventually, Johnston chucks him to the ice and that was that.

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In 74 career games over four years, Ross Johnston has dropped the gloves 13 times. With Ross Johnston under contract for two more years, we likely haven’t seen the last of him dropping the gloves in an Islanders sweater.

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