Jamie Oleksiak is a large dude. So large, in fact, that his body seemed to be the one thing everyone wanted to talk about when the Seattle Kraken made their picks in this year’s expansion draft. Figuratively and literally, the 6-foot-7 “Big Rig” loomed over the rest of the Kraken roster of solid second-liners. With his missing-tooth grin and attention-grabbing frame, he was unmistakably a hockey player, and a great face for a brand-new market.
Nick Seeler, on the other hand, does not enjoy such notoriety. The Flyers D-man is a fringe NHLer with a little over 100 games to his name since debuting back in February 2018. In Philly’s season opener, after he got the call because of an injury to Rasmus Ristolainen, he had the third-least ice time of anyone on the team (though he did tally three hits and three blocked shots).
Was Seeler trying specifically to make a name for himself in his second game, as he went toe to toe with Oleksiak while his team held a 5-0 lead? Perhaps not, but that’s what happened anyway. Though he was unknown coming in, after Monday night’s game, Seeler is now, officially, “that nutcase who’s not afraid of anyone.”
The mild chaos between the Kraken and Flyers broke loose in the middle of the second period, right after the home team had scored their fifth. Nathan Bastian and Claude Giroux found themselves in a scrum and both got sent to the box, and then just a couple of minutes later, a dangerous hit to the numbers in the corner by Nicolas Aube-Kubel on Seattle’s Adam Larsson prompted gatherings in multiple locations on the ice. It was in one of these—about 40 seconds into the video below—where Seeler took his shot at fighting Oleksiak. He was so eager to do it that, from the look of it, he actually guided the ref out of the way so the two could lock up.
Oleksiak, with the five-inch height advantage, initially treated Seeler like a dog at a friend’s house, politely holding him off with his back up against the boards. But as the two moved into open ice, Big Rig freed his right hand and started to whale on Seeler’s head. The presence of a helmet prevented Seeler from going down, however, and I’d have to score this one as a mere decision win for the Kraken.
But Seeler didn’t see it that way! He was so freaking hyped to have been in this fight, and he made sure the crowd knew it. Look at him!
“I didn’t want to back down,” Seeler said afterward. “He’s a big boy, so it was a good scrap. That was fun tonight.”
I am now nearly as intimidated by the idea of Nick Seeler as I am by the idea of Jamie Oleksiak.