It has been a few years since the Detroit Red Wings had a player who was going to rack up 10 or more fighting majors in a season. Last year, forward Justin Abdelkader led the team with six and only seven players (five of them defensemen) fought. This season, new addition Jordin Tootoo looks to change that, as he already has three fights this season and is energizing the team with his physical play. The former Nashville Predators pest, once despised by fans in Hockeytown, is now quickly winning over fans and teammates alike.
Tootoo fought twice against the Dallas Stars on Tuesday, first taking on Eric Nystrom after the opening faceoff. Despite a size mismatch, he was able to get in a few shots and fired up the crowd. Later in the first period, the Stars’ Brenden Dillon made sure he got a chance to square up with Tootoo and the two engaged in a lengthy, spirited bout. Tootoo’s late flurry gave him the edge in the battle, but it may not be the last time these two tangle this season. Dillon wanted a piece of Tootoo in last Saturday’s season opener after the Red Wings forward sent Dallas’ Philip Larsen flying into the boards. At the end of a shift, Tootoo declined, but made good on the unwritten fighter’s code Tuesday and let the rookie have his shot.
The game remained scoreless until the Stars’ Loui Eriksson got a goal in the second period. The Red Wings offense showed up in a big way, scoring twice in the second period and twice in the third period on their way to a 4-1 win. Tootoo may not have been on the ice much in the first period, but he made his mark when he was. He has also fought Jared Boll of the Columbus Blue Jackets this season.