blank'/> THE PUCK REPORT: Today In NHL History - Johnson Fights DiPietro

Friday, February 2, 2024

Today In NHL History - Johnson Fights DiPietro

On February 2nd in 2011, New York Islanders netminder Rick DiPietro shoved Pittsburgh Penguins pest Matt Cooke setting off a scrum with 17 seconds to play. In response, Pittsburgh's backup backstop Brent Johnson skated the length of the ice to engage DiPietro in some fisticuffs.

Johnson won his first NHL fight dropping DiPietro with one punch, earning 17 penalty minutes for his efforts. The Islanders oft-injured $67 million dollar man was less fortunate, sustaining facial fractures and knee swelling that sidelined him for six weeks.  DiPietro played in only 15 more NHL games after the now-famous goalie fight before being bought out by the Islanders for $24 million on July 1, 2013. Johnson appeared in 25 more NHL games, his last being on April 15, 2012.

Amazing, DiPietro and Johnson ended their respective careers with nearly identical numbers. DiPietro appeared in 9 more regular season games (318 vs. 309) and 5 fewer playoff games (10 vs. 15) than Johnson, managing a marginally poorer goals against average (2.87 vs. 2.63) and save percentage (.902 vs. .904), though with a far lesser team.

Financially, DiPietro's NHL contracts ($71.1m) paid 20 times more than Johnson's estimated earnings ($3.35m), a distinct advantage that continues with annual payments of $1.5m scheduled through 2029.

Pittsburgh beat New York 3-0, though Johnson's ejection cost him the shutout with Marc-Andre Fleury entering to complete the game.

That's today in NHL history.