Chicago researcher ranks best and worst hockey fighters

CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) - A University of Chicago researcher, who typically works on complicated public policy issues, has an unusual new mission.

Joe Walsh is trying to rank the best and worst fighters in hockey.

Six years ago, Blackhawks star Marian Hossa, then playing for the Detroit Red Wings, got into a fight. That's pretty rare. Hossa's not known as a fighter, but Walsh says he should be.

“Hossa is really highly rated. Actually, out of 1425 fighters, approximately, he's in the top 25,” Walsh said.

Walsh analyzed data from 7000 hockey fights, and has ranked almost 1500 players on how well they fight. His data comes from the website, where fans cast votes on winners and losers.

“Toews has been in three fights. He lost all three. Not a big surprise, given he's a skill player. Kane has never been in a fight,” Walsh said.

"You're not asking me about fighting that's for sure," Kane said while laughing.

Hossa's high ranking from Walsh comes from three fights, none while with the Blackhawks. Voters said he won all three, including a scuffle with John Erskine, who's ranked fourth among all players.

Hossa, though, isn't so  sure he won all three fights.

“Two of them was pretty even, and I , maybe one I won, and those two, I don't think I won,” Hossa said.

Walsh said the Blackshawks as a whole tend to rate near the bottom of the league when it comes to the number of fights each year, and he says that's probably a good thing because the teams that tend to fight more, tend to lose more.

Coach Joel Quennville says it's hard to see any correlation because there's far less fighting today then there was in previous decades.

“Every year since I've been in the game, it seems like fighting isn't as dominant, or as big a factor. It seems like it wanes every year,” Quennville said.

Walsh says based on his research, he doesn't have any advice for the Coach, except to keep doing whatever he's doing.

Coach Q is right when he says there are far fewer fights than there used to be.

Back in the 2001-2002 seasons, there were more than 800. is predicting there will only be about 300 this season.