A veteran of 82 career fights, Toronto Maple Leafs forward Ryan Reaves is not an easy person to intimidate. However, the 36-year-old winger recently admitted during an appearance on the “Missin Curfew” podcast that there was one player that he was actually scared to drop the gloves with: former Nashville Predators forward Brian McGrattan.
“That guy used to scare me,” Reaves disclosed. “…He was who I was scared to fight because he was with Nashville and we played them a ton. He’s was also who, when I fought him, I realized I was a little tougher than I thought.”
Reaves also shared a story from his second season in the NHL with the St. Louis Blues in which he recalled his first time fighting McGrattan during February 2012 — a brawl that gave him the confidence to trade punches with some of the league’s top enforcers (video is below).
“As I progressed (as a fighter), I fought Kyle Clifford; I knocked him out and started thinking, ‘Okay, maybe I’m a little bit tougher than I think,” Reaves stated. “But then I fought (Brian McGrattan), and I wasn’t looking for it, but we were down 2-0 in the game early and I was like ‘I’ve got to fight him, this is my job.’
“And I remember — I’m not saying I won the fight because I got back to the penalty box and I had three to four golf balls on my forehead, I couldn’t move my neck — but I just remember I looked over at him and he was leaking over his eyebrow. He kind of looked at me like ‘Who the fuck is this?’ I remember he was laughing during the fight. He went to bluff me and I jumped back, and he started laughing.”
Per HockeyFights.com, 70.7 percent of voters believed McGrattan won the fight. It was the sixth and final fight he had during the 2011-12 season, of which he won five (his only was to George Parros). Reaves had 13 fights that season, winning seven of them.
Claimed off waivers by former general manager David Poile on Oct. 11, 2011, McGrattan played in 32 games over two seasons with Nashville, scoring two points, averaging 5:32 of ice time per game, and tallying 61 penalty minutes and 30 hits. He was traded to the Calgary Flames in February 2013 for AHL defenseman Joe Piskula.
Of McGrattan’s 73 career fights, six were with the Predators, 37 were with the Ottawa Senators, 28 with the Calgary Flames and two with the Arizona Coyotes. His top opponents included Andrew Peters (seven fights against) and former Predators enforcer Wade Belak (six fights against).
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