Advertisement
  1. Sports
  2. /
  3. Lightning

Lightning rookie Boris Katchouk stands tall in fight with 6-foot-9 Zdeno Chara

This fight was a mismatch on paper, but the rookie holds his own with the Islanders’ future Hall of Famer.
Lightning left wing Boris Katchouk (13) fights with Islanders defenseman Zdeno Chara (33) after Chara hit Katchouk with a high stick to the face during the third period Monday night at Amalie Arena.
Lightning left wing Boris Katchouk (13) fights with Islanders defenseman Zdeno Chara (33) after Chara hit Katchouk with a high stick to the face during the third period Monday night at Amalie Arena. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]
Published Nov. 16
Updated Nov. 16

TAMPA — Lightning rookie forward Boris Katchouk picked quite an opponent for his first regular-season NHL fight.

In the final minutes of the Lightning’s 4-1 win over the New York Islanders on Monday night, Tampa Bay’s fourth line was working resiliently on the forecheck when Islanders defenseman Zdeno Chara saw Katchouk buzzing behind the net and launched the shaft of his stick to Katchouk’s head.

Katchouk’s head jerked back from the impact, but he immediately spun around and threw a right jab right into Chara’s chest.

The tale of the tape — Chara is 6 feet 9 and 250 pounds, and Katchouk is 6-2, 206 pounds — would say this was a mismatch. But Chara, a future Hall of Famer who fought Pat Maroon seconds after Monday’s puck drop, clearly sparked the fire in the 23-year-old.

Chara initially swung Katchouk to his knees, but Katchouk fought back to his feet and wrestled Chara down to the ice by grabbing his legs from under him.

“I asked Bo, ‘Did you know who that was?’” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. “He was like, ‘Yeah, I knew.’ So you got to give the kid credit. That’s a big fella to go against there, but good for him. He’s brand new to the league and to do that and stuck up for himself. You definitely saw on his way off the ice, he was pretty fired up. So I guess I do get a kick out of that.”

Katchouk, who is just six games into his NHL career and was in his second game back from injury, made a strong impression in the preseason with his relentlessness. He’s starting to find his footing on the Lightning’s fourth line alongside Ross Colton and Taylor Raddysh, who were both teammates at AHL Syracuse.

Boris Katchouk (13) takes a high stick to the face from Islanders defenseman Zdeno Chara.
Boris Katchouk (13) takes a high stick to the face from Islanders defenseman Zdeno Chara. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]

Katchouk also dropped gloves with Florida‘s Sam Bennett in a preseason game last month. And Monday’s fight certainly earned some stripes for Katchouk from the Lightning veterans.

“That’s just being engaged in the game, showing your emotions and sticking up for yourself there,” defenseman Ryan McDonagh said. “He’s a young player trying to work his way here and find his way in the game and if he brings energy like that, he’s going to have himself a great, successful career.

“So I think he’s improving every game. All those guys back there realizing how hard it is to work, what’s expected of them in our system, and just bringing the energy that goes along with it.”

Follow all the action on and off the ice

Follow all the action on and off the ice

Subscribe to our free Lightning Strikes newsletter

We’ll send you news, analysis and commentary on the Bolts weekly during the season.

You’re all signed up!

Want more of our free, weekly newsletters in your inbox? Let’s get started.

Explore all your options

• • •

The Tampa Bay Times has commemorated the Lightning’s second consecutive Stanley Cup title with a new hardcover coffee table book, Striking Twice. Order now.

Sign up for Lightning Strikes, a weekly newsletter from Bolts beat writer Eduardo A. Encina that brings you closer to the ice.

Never miss out on the latest with the Bucs, Rays, Lightning, Florida college sports and more. Follow our Tampa Bay Times sports team on Twitter and Facebook.