Tale of the Tape:
Shawn Thornton: 6'2" 217 lbs 132 career fighting majors
Riley Cote: 6'2" 220 lbs 68 career fighting majors
Shawn Thornton and Riley Cote only fought twice against each other in their careers. Both matches were also two of the best fights each had as a pro. It is unfortunate that since this fight on March 15, 2008 that the two never fought again with Cote retiring two years later. The two players clearly had a lot of respect for each other as it can be seen after this fight. However it wouldn't seem like that when they were dropping bombs on each other.
There isn't a lot of history on why the two squared off earlier in the year or during this bout. It was both of their job to hop over the boards, square off together and try and get their team all riled up. When both coaches sent out Cote and Thornton onto the ice they knew exactly why they were out there. It is nice to see these two feature their fights right in the center ice spotlight.
Shawn Thornton gets the first shot in as the two tied up. Right after the first punch landed by Thornton they hug for a while until they break free when they start to land bomb after bomb. One of the shorts to Cote's head sends his helmet flying. Once again the tie up to gain composure then start swinging again. This time Thornton has the edge while landing more punches than his counterpart. They do a bit more wrestling until the refs break up one of the greater fights of the NHL season. Both Thornton and Cote shows great respect for each other with Thornton giving Cote a rub on the head and Cote with a pad on the back for Thornton.
The NHL is certainly starting to lose the need for that great fighter on each team due to wanting more offense and finesse minded players. It is hard to find brawls that can match the intensity of either of the Thornton/Cote fights during that season. There are still good fights but they are far and few between. Even though he was just there to fight, the game needs a few more players like Riley Cote and someone like Shawn Thornton to answer the bell.
Cote vs Thornton Mar 15, 2008 (via hockeyfightsdotcom)