Ryan Reaves on the one man he feared early in his career.
Brace Hemmelgarn/USA TODAY Sports  

Ryan Reaves on the one man he feared early in his career.

Ryan Reaves is known as one of the most intimidating men in the NHL today, but that wasn't always the case.

Jonathan Larivee

Toronto Maple Leafs forward Ryan Reaves is without a doubt one of the most physically imposing figures in the National Hockey League today, but that wasn't always the case.

In fact on a recent episode of the Missin Curfew podcast, featuring former NHL players Shane O'Brien and Scottie Upshall, Reaves revealed that even he didn't realize just how tough he was when he first set foot into the NHL. Reaves detailed how he had to take on a few tough customers before realizing he could bang with the best of them, but despite that there was one man who still struck a little fear in the veteran enforcer.

"I fought Big Ern (Nashville Predators forward Brian McGrattan) and I wasn't looking for it but we were down 2-0 in the game early and I was like 'I gotta fight him, this is my job,'" revealed Reaves. "And I remember, I'm not saying I won the fight cause I got back to the penalty box and I had 3-4 golf balls on my forehead and couldn't move my neck, but I just remember I looked over at him and he was leaking over his eyebrow. He kinda looked at me like 'Who the f*** is this' and I don't think he played for a couple of weeks after that... I think I conkeyed him. But he was who I was scared to fight... and he was also who, when I fought him, I realized I was a little tougher than I thought."

Not only did Reaves learn a lot about himself on that day but there's no doubt that both men gained a measure of respect for one another as well. If you go back and watch the fight, which I will link below, it's no surprise why both men walked away from this one worse for ware.