Flames' Lucic dishes on who he thinks is the toughest fighter in the NHL

Feb 2 2023, 7:34 pm

Few might argue against Milan Lucic being the reigning heavyweight champion of the National Hockey League.

Former NHL tough guy and NHL All-Star John Scott certainly still puts the Calgary Flames forward up there, after all.

But who does Lucic see as the toughest in the NHL, present company excluded?

Kurtis MacDermid of the Colorado Avalanche gets the nods from the man affectionately known down at Scotiabank Saddledome as “Looch.”

“I would say MacDermid… being able to take a punch and give a punch… you know what I’m saying? He can take them, and he can also give them. Size, strength, yeah,” Lucic told Scott on the Dropping the Gloves podcast on Thursday. “I know a lot of people like to give it to [Ryan] Reeves, and the only reason I say MacDermid over Reeves is I’ve never fought Reeves.

“So that’s why I would say MacDermid.”

True, Lucic’s opinion could change in the future.

Though he’s logged 87 tussles on his fight card over his 16-year NHL career, according to Hockey Fights, Lucic has never crossed paths with the 6’2″, 225-pound Reeves, currently of the Minnesota Wild.

That’s not to say he is opposed to the potential donnybrook.

“We just never have,” said Lucic, whose list this season includes tilts with Ian Cole of the Tampa Bay Lightning and Mathieu Olivier of the Columbus Blue Jackets, with fans voting the Flames’ tough guy the decisive victor in each.

“I’m not one that usually says no.”

MacDermid can attest.

The pair squared off on March 5, 2022, with MacDermid getting the decision. The duo also rumbled on February 12, 2020, and again on October 8, 2019, when MacDermid was a member of the Los Angeles Kings. Both went more in Lucic’s favour.

MacDermid shares the career lead with a half-dozen other scrappers on Lucic’s most-frequent bout list.

And though he got Lucic’s decision as the NHL’s toughest, another pugilist received a nod as most underrated.

“[Nicolas] Deslauriers,” said the 34-year-old, who’s logged 578 points [230 goals, 348 assists] to compliment 1,284 minutes in penalties in 1,143 games.”

The pair have dropped their mitts twice.

As for the most memorable fight of his career, Lucic doesn’t hesitate.

Joel Rechlicz. Pre-season. In Boston. In 2013.

“He was on Washington,” said Lucic, who has logged 55 scraps with the Boston Bruins in addition to 17 as a member of the Flames, a dozen with the Edmonton Oilers, and three as a member of the Los Angeles Kings.

“If anyone asks me to show them a fight, that’s the one I would show him. Just watch it. He goes lefts and I go rights. It’s just 45 seconds of lefts and rights back and forth.”

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