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Fighting in hockey

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by Gator, Jan 1, 2012.

  1. Gator

    Gator Well-Known Member

    In full disclosure, I'm not the biggest fan of hockey, a peripheral fan at best, so maybe some of the bigger hockey guys on the board can shine some light on this subject. Why is fighting such an integral part of hockey, and with the heightened awareness of concussions and suicides of enforcers, is there any chance it is removed from the game?

    Here's my take: It's silly, plain and simple. Most of the time it's two guys just dancing around before the refs step in. It doesn't further the game, whatsoever, and you rarely see it in the playoffs because guys can't afford a major penalty.

    I understand that fighting is what fans come to see, and it puts asses in seats, but I find it troubling that guys in suits are making money off the blood of players, many of whom still feel the effects long after they've retired.

    So I'm interested in what some of you hockey guys think and prove to me that it is a part of the game that is needed.
  2. 93Devil

    93Devil Well-Known Member

    The way I understand it...




    No George equals


    Basically, if you touch the talent, you have to answer to the brawler. No brawler, the stars get hit.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 15, 2014
  3. crimsonace

    crimsonace Well-Known Member

    That, and there's a code.

    Guys (e.g., Matt Cooke, Ulf Samuelsson) tend to take liberties that injure other teams' players. Cooke loves the elbow to the head, Samuelsson one of a long line of Euro players (where fighting is much less a part of the game) who preferred the extremely dangerous slash.

    Take fighting out, and there will be other -- and more dangerous -- ways to express frustrations. Fights are usually pretty harmless -- two heavily-padded men getting about two or three punches in from close range during a good one, just hugging each other during a dull one. Not only that, but there has to be a way to protect the star players. Nobody touched Gretzky because they knew they had to deal with Dave Semenko. Players are able to take runs at Ryan Miller because there's nobody on the Sabres roster who strikes fear in anyone's hearts.
  4. Versatile

    Versatile Active Member

    I don't think the fights are what's causing the head injuries nearly as much as the checks that the fighters are hoping to prevent.
  5. Gator

    Gator Well-Known Member

    Yes, but wouldn't you agree that hitting them in the wallet would hurt much more than punching them in the face? Shannahan has done a decent job of policing the league, but suspensions and fines for illegal hits could take the place of useless fighting. Other than a spectacle, what does it accomplish?

    Guys like Matt Cooke obviously doesn't mind fighting, and do you think an off-balance punch to the face will change the way he plays?
  6. Stitch

    Stitch Active Member

    You don't get paid for games you miss when suspended. Hits still happen because players are human and make stupid decisions in a split second.
  7. JC

    JC Well-Known Member

    No offense but this could not be more wrong.

    Matt Cooke does not like to fight for one, and yes if Cooke had to answer for his actions it would definitely make him think twice. Fighting is a deterrent, these players carry weapons and are flying around at a high rate of speed. I'd rather see them react with their fists than their sticks.

    The fights that need to go are the staged ones between 2 goons who play less than 5 minutes a game. Those fights serve no purpose.
  8. TwoGloves

    TwoGloves Well-Known Member

    At least hockey players square off like men rather than pussies like baseball players and basketball players (Hi Carmello!) usually do. They hit from behind or take a cheap shot (Hi again Carmello!) and then usually run or have 20 guys get between them.
  9. Versatile

    Versatile Active Member

    Right, I'd so much rather basketbrawls end like Xavier-Cincinnati every time. Fighting is a distinct tradition in hockey. It doesn't work for other sports.
  10. Smash Williams

    Smash Williams Well-Known Member

    For one, fights are much less risky in terms of concussion than general checking. Almost all of the head injuries in the NHL this year from checks, legal and not so much. The enforcer suicides are much, much more complicated than head injuries, no matter what BU keeps saying. Boogard, for one, was an addict and had alcohol problems from the time he was a teenager. Rypien had clinical depression issues most likely unrelated to any head injuries.

    Concussions are bad, I think we can all agree to that. But the rash of suicides in hockey are much more complicated than that.

    Now, as to why they happen. There are two main types of fights - heat-of-the-moment and planned, to a certain extent. The latter is what most think of with hockey fights - goon on goon where they match up off a face off. Reasons for these fights include avenging wrongs from previous games, trying to get momentum for a team that's playing flat or simply to try and prove one's worth as a fighter against the biggest names in the leagues. I think most hockey fans, aside from the niche that really takes fights seriously, can take or leave these and wouldn't mind them out of the game.

    Heat of the moment fights usually involve a borderline or dirty hit, or a huge but clean hit on a star player. Enforcers do participate in a fair number of these fights, but agitators and your general players will get in one if they're the only options on the ice. The purpose of these fights is immediate retribution for something that's considered over the line that may or may not have been caught by a referee. That immediate retribution can also serve as a deterrent - Wayne Gretzky rarely took big hits because he was hard to catch and because anyone who did get him would immediately find himself set upon by Marty McSorley and Dave Semenko. This type of fight that directly stems from the game is something most hockey fans don't mind.

    Hockey, more than any other major sport, is a truly dangerous game even away from the ball/puck because of the clubs in the hands, the knives on the feet and the general speed of the game. Having a player-run way to police some of the more violent tendencies has been a part of the game for almost its whole history.

    You're seeing fewer and fewer true enforcers in the league now without any prompting, mostly because the game is now so fast that the stereotypical "guy who can't do anything but fight" is a liability in any situation, even the 5-6 minutes a night of a low-end fourth liner.
  11. dooley_womack1

    dooley_womack1 Well-Known Member

    Leave it to Smash Williams to support fighting. :D
  12. Smash Williams

    Smash Williams Well-Known Member

    Hah, that is nice.

    Though personally, I could absolutely live without the goon-on-goon fights. Those are stupid, pointless and generally fairly boring. I think fights that stem from the run of play have their place.

    But mostly, I just hate the implication that if fighting goes away, the concussion problem will go away. That's simply not true. Heck, I don't think fighting going away would even put a significant dent in the number of concussions in the NHL at the moment. Almost every concussion I can think of this season is from a hit/collision or its aftermath.
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