Former Ottawa Senator and current Phoenix Coyote Brian McGrattan suffered another setback this season, as an upper-body injury resulting from a fight a few days ago is going to keep him out of the lineup for the rest of the season.
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Grats had played just five games since returning from his stint in the NHL/NHLPA substance-abuse program when the injury happened. The good news is that he didn't seem to lose his edge over his time off: He had two fights against two of the best, Jody Shelley and George Parros. According to HockeyFights, he won the Shelley bout by a mile and barely lost to Parros.
In parts of three seasons with the Senators, McGrattan played a total of 143 games, scoring two goals and eight assists while compiling 287 penalty minutes--which might mean more time spent in the penalty box than on the ice, considering how little ice time he received in many of his games. He's 19th all-time in penalty minutes with the Senators. In December 2007, the day after Grats went through an entire game without playing one shift, I wrote about how McGrattan deserved better; At the time, he was fourth on the Senators in points-per-minute-played, with 0.04--behind only the Big Three of Daniel Alfredsson (0.06), Jason Spezza (0.06), and Dany Heatley (0.05). Not to suggest that he was an offensive dynamo, simply to prove that he's not the liability that John Paddock was treating him as.
Five For Howling is lamenting the fact that they will no longer enjoy the ridiculously punishing line combination of Brandon Prust, Todd Fedoruk, and McGrattan this season. Just saying that line scares the crap out of me.
The injury is an unfortunate setback for a guy who's already fought his way back from an even larger setback, but if there's one thing McGrattan can do, it's fight. With his contract with Phoenix up after this year, I hope he gets another shot somewhere for 2009-2010, and keeps on fighting.
***Take the jump to see a few of McGrattan's most memorable fights in Ottawa.***
McGrattan's first NHL fight is Oct. 8, 2005 against regular opponent Andrew Peters. Close fight, and the verdict could go either way. With all the fights between these two over their respective careers, here's a video highlighting the whole whack of them:
Unfortunately, I couldn't find a video of that one, so here's his second NHL fight, against another NHL heaveyweight, Jesse Boulerice:
And just a few days later, perhaps the biggest fight of McGrattan's career: His knockout of Tie Domi. In a rare demonstration of almost complete agreement, Grats received 97.6 per cent of votes to be the voted winner on HockeyFights. The bout marked a pivotal moment in the Battle of Ontario, proving the Senators were no longer the physical pushovers of past series.
Finally, one of his last great Senators fights, a win against Donald Brashear on Jan. 1, 2008: