Goalies Gone Wild: Brent Johnson vs. Rick DiPietro

Just when you thought James Harrison, Troy Polamalu and Ryan Clark of the Pittsburgh Steelers were the hardest-hitting athletes in Pittsburgh, a second-string hockey goalie trumps them all.

With 16 seconds left in the game, Brent Johnson, the backup to Penguins’ All-Star netminder Marc Andre Fleury, skated the length of the ice two nights ago to challenge New York Islanders goalie Rick DiPietro (he of the 15-year, $67 million contract) to a fight. As you can see in the video above, DiPietro obliged, with a silly grin on his face that said, “This’ll be fun, but goalie’s don’t really hit hard, right?” Wrong.

Johnson knocked DiPietro to the ice with one hard left, which broke several bones in DiPietro’s face and subsequently but him on the disabled list for 4-6 weeks.

Yes, DiPietro was surprised by Johnson’s toughness.

“You never go into a fight expecting that you’re going to get smashed in the face that hard with these kinds of consequences, but it happens. He landed a good punch and you move on. I didn’t realize at the time that his arms were so long or that he could throw such a hard left punch, but I found both of those out pretty quickly. It’s a tough game and it’s a physical sport. Unfortunately my face paid the price.”

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