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Video: Stafford makes statement by dropping gloves, taking Hartnell down

Jan 20, 2013, 5:56 PM EDT

Drew Stafford isn’t known for fighting prowess. In fact, going into the Buffalo Sabres’ season opener against the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday, Stafford hadn’t dropped his gloves since Feb. 6, 2010, according to

Still, after the Flyers’ Scott Hartnell delivered a couple questionable hits, Stafford decided to defend his teammates.

Hartnell controlled the scrap early on, but Stafford turned things around towards the end to send Hartnell to the ice. You can watch the entire event below:

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After the brawl, Stafford spoke about the Sabres’ desire to be a “harder team to play against” this season. You can also see that interview below:

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Discuss: Sabres power through Flyers

  1. elemeno89 - Jan 20, 2013 at 6:09 PM

    Good for him. I like when he sticks up for his team mates.

  2. sabatimus - Jan 20, 2013 at 6:12 PM

    Hartnell clearly won the fight. Just because you drag someone to the ice doesn’t mean much. The best thing Stafford did was stick up for his teammates and absorb a few of Hartnell’s hard punches…which admittedly isn’t the easiest thing in the world.

    • misterchainbluelightning - Jan 20, 2013 at 6:14 PM

      One punch landed in the entire fight

      • melonheadsdaddy - Jan 20, 2013 at 6:34 PM

        Which fight did you watch?

      • misterchainbluelightning - Jan 20, 2013 at 7:24 PM

        The one were every punch failed to land except 1, unless you think missing and glancing someones back is a landed punch.

        Try watching it again with your glasses on
        1 punch landed in total

    • mp1131211 - Jan 20, 2013 at 6:59 PM

      Hartnell kind of won. He threw more punches, that’s for sure. Bottom line is Stafford wanted to deliver a message and that message was heard.

      Philly is 0-2. Not looking good, not playing team hockey.

      Buffalo on the other hand looked pretty sharp in that opener. It will be a fun season to watch if guys like Stafford are going to be throwing down

    • hockeywithdrawal - Jan 20, 2013 at 7:10 PM

      Hartnell’s so brave. Clearly.

      He and the entire Cryer team makes me sick. Good thing fans in Philly don’t care about winning.

  3. misterchainbluelightning - Jan 20, 2013 at 6:19 PM

    Oh and if the NHL is serious about getting tough on these types of hits, then Hartnell should get a game suspension. Otherwise players will keep doing exactly what Hartnell did, make a choice NHL, either you’re trying to get rid of it, or you are providing lip service. That hit gets you suspended in the OHL these days and definitely in international.

    • hockeywithdrawal - Jan 20, 2013 at 7:12 PM

      Philly wouldn’t have a team if they actually held them to the rules. Everyone on the team would be suspended.

  4. emoney12 - Jan 20, 2013 at 6:45 PM

    Hartnell’s a scumbag. Was very impressed with Stafford gumption. Even though he clearly lost the fight.

    • hockeywithdrawal - Jan 20, 2013 at 7:11 PM

      Agree, completely.

  5. lordfletcher - Jan 20, 2013 at 7:10 PM

    the point wasn’t who won the fight… man some of you are blind and stat whores.

    good for Stafford, tough cookie in Hartnell.

    Don’t care for either team or player -Wild fan

  6. dannythebisforbeast - Jan 20, 2013 at 7:12 PM

    Not much of a fight and if you call spinning and falling on top of someone “taking him down” then yea I guess he took hartnell down. otherwise they spun fell and stafford happened to land on top.

  7. istallion - Jan 20, 2013 at 7:22 PM

    Next time I hope Hartnell meets Scott.

  8. bcjim - Jan 20, 2013 at 7:53 PM

    I’m no Hartnell fan but he landed at least one big punch and a bunch of glancing blown. The “take down” was either an accident or an “I need to end this before I get killled” on the part of the Sabre.

    Please revise the title of this article.

    • lordfletcher - Jan 20, 2013 at 8:01 PM

      the title is correct.

      Stafford did make a statement, fighting a man twice your size sends a message. Winning the fight was never going to happen, fighting him meant everything.


      • lordfletcher - Jan 20, 2013 at 8:02 PM

        the taking hartnell down part, I just noticed… a tad misleading.

        I get what you were hinting to now. carry on :)

  9. pensfan603 - Jan 20, 2013 at 9:58 PM

    Stafford Won, He landed the knockout punch and for those of you who say hartnell won cause he got more good punches in ill just let this speak for its self,

    • phillyboy20 - Jan 20, 2013 at 10:31 PM

      umm it what way was this fight anything like the hartnell stafford fight? Like a previous poster said hartnell won the fight but that wasn’t the point it was about a guy sticking up for his teammates…and lets be honest hartnell takes himself down at least 3x times a game

  10. thedavesiknowiknow - Jan 21, 2013 at 2:10 AM

    I remember that last fight Stafford was in, and the awkward post-game interview in which he said (I’m paraphrasing) “I shouldn’t have to fight, it isn’t my job”. I like this Stafford a lot more. He was “aggro” on more than a few occasions prior to this. The first of (hopefully) many exhibits of how the mindset of this team as a whole has changed.

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