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Fighting in hockey

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

  1. Beef03

    Beef03 Active Member

    Actually the no fighting in the playoffs is a huge old-wive's tale. Does the rate drop? absolutely. But they are still prevalent. It goes in spits and spurts, some years there are quite a few, others not so much. And they aren't particularly picky about when they do it. Who will ever forget Iginla dropping the gloves with Lacavlier in the Cup final in 2004?

    In 2009 there were 31 fighting majors in the first two rounds.

    The day of the big goons squaring off at centre ice is drawing to a close. You have to be able to play the game. And yes it does help keep the stick work down.
    I've interviewed several players who have played in both the NHL and in various European leagues and the stick work is something they've mentioned about the game over there. Have I watched a lot of European hockey? no, but I'll take their firsthand experience over sideline conjecture.

    Other NHL players I've interviewed believe it does help as a safety valve, that in games where the refs don't let them go, they have a much bigger tendency to spiral out of control, meanwhile letting the two fight will more often than not diffuse the situation. And this is coming from some guys who didn't fight for a living in the NHL. They appreciate the job that those who are ready and willing do and they see the important role they play in keeping the game under control.

    Hockey is unlike any other sport, it's unbelievably fast (something you have to really experience to understand just how fast) and it is only getting faster, it's played on skates and they carry clubs in their hands that often turn to weapons. Refs don't see everything, there is no way that they can. And to rely on the league to solve a problem? It is getting better, but it is inconsistent and it still allows for issues to fester and develop. That instant retribution helps keep that in check.

    Besides you look at most Stanley Cup champions, almost all of them have that level of intimidation and players willing to drop the gloves -- the Detroit Red Wings are the one exception that comes to mind, but even they had guys like Darren McCarty, Chris Chelios, Brad May, Kirk Maltby, and now Todd Bertuzi. Do they fight a lot? no but they have the ability to do so if need be.

    I think they actually do more good than harm. And yes, I find them entertaining. I'm not ashamed to admit it, either.
  2. buckweaver

    buckweaver Active Member

    Speaking of which, baseball pitchers and hitters were both less reckless when there was a self-policing element to the game. It creates a healthy fear that there will be (painful) consequences if you don't play the game respectfully.

    Yes, some of the unwritten rules can be silly ... but you know what? There are a lot MORE unwritten rules now than there used to be, and in half of those cases the alleged transgressor isn't even aware he did anything wrong. See: Rodriguez, Alex, vs. Braden, Dallas; Varitek, Jason; Blue Jays, Toronto, et al.

    Baseball legislated itself away from that, with the automatic warning/ejection rules, and the game has suffered, IMO, because of it. The instigator rule in hockey has had a similar effect.
  3. buckweaver

    buckweaver Active Member

    As a Ducks fan, I have very fond memories the rookie Francois Beauchemin dropping the gloves with the captain Iginla one minute into Game 6 of the 2006 West quarters. Completely changed the tone of the series. Ducks won Games 6 and 7 on the road in Calgary, swept the Avs and made it to the brink of the Finals (losing to your Oilers in the WCF), thereby setting up a run to the Cup in '07. I have always believed that fight was the starting point of the Ducks' championship run.
  4. Beef03

    Beef03 Active Member

    I remember that fight. It totally changed the momentum in the series.
  5. Azrael

    Azrael Well-Known Member

    Devil's Advocate:

    - Hockey will never outgrow its relatively small audience until it outlaws fighting.

    - Traditionalists prefer it that way, because they get to keep hockey for themselves.

    - Arguments about 'self-policing' are self-justifying nonsense.

    - Lots of sports have bats and cleats and clubs - all very dangerous weapons - but don't allow fighting as a means to "blow off steam."

    - Plenty of courts in plenty of districts have brought charges against hockey assaults. It's not "political." It's assault.
  6. TheHacker

    TheHacker Member

    Agree wholeheartedly, especially with points 3 and 4. Anytime I hear people talk about players policing the game, I just get disgusted. Refs need to enforce the rules, and the league needs to create real, honest-to-goodness punishments for brutal hits and using the stick. I'm talking about ejections and suspensions. Knowing that you're going to hurt your team if you keep taking matters into your own hands is the only way to stop it. And even then, it'll take a generation or two of players to wipe out that mentality because it's so ingrained into the culture of the sport.

    And on a side note, regarding Matt Cooke, there's no defending some of the shots he's taken at guys in the past, but he might have gotten the message from all those games he was forced to sit out last season. He's been a model citizen this year. He's only got 14 penalty minutes in 38 games. He averages 24 points per season for his career. He was suspended something like 17 games last year and still had his third straight 30-point season. For a third- or fourth-line player, he's productive and he can actually play. He's not just a goon. So I always get uncomfortable with him getting lumped in with that.
  7. crimsonace

    crimsonace Well-Known Member

    You've just eliminated the entire reason for the existence of every minor league below the AHL. When our local minor league team was in the Central Hockey League, I realized pretty quickly that the hockey was just something to do in-between the staged goonery.

    I also believe fighting does have a place in the game, and that it is largely harmless compared to fighting in other sports (two heavily-padded guys on skates aren't going to be able to get the leverage of two basketball players standing on hard wood).

    But basketball and football players don't carry weapons, and although baseball players do, it is largely a noncontact sport, and the weapons have been dropped by the time there's any chance for contact. And what usually happens when a pitcher intentionally throws at a hitter? A bench-clearing brawl -- which has been legislated out of hockey for 25 years.
  8. crimsonace

    crimsonace Well-Known Member

    Also was a hit that, had it happened anywhere else on the ice, would've been pretty harmless. Chara is a 6'9 guy who finished his check on a guy a foot shorter than him at a very unfortunate part of the rink.

    File that under "freak injury," but the Habs vowed revenge.
  9. Stitch

    Stitch Active Member

    Fighting isn't the reason hockey struggles in sunny locales. If fighting were eliminated, what would the drunks in the crowd cheer for instead?
  10. NickMordo

    NickMordo Active Member

    I completely disagree. People either watch hockey or they don't, as it is a faux sport in the United States. (Sort of like soccer.) I've never watched hockey with someone, whether a die-hard fan or a casual fan or someone who doesn't know much, and have that person tell me that fighting ruins the game. By that logic, flopping ruins soccer and long game times ruin baseball. It's part of the fabric of each sport and not everyone will like it.
  11. JC

    JC Well-Known Member

    Who ever called Matt Cooke a goon? He is cheap piece of shit that wouldn't stand up for himself. He was despised in the Canuck locker room because players got sick of cleaning up his mess.

    The rest of your post I completely disagree with but to each their own.
  12. Azrael

    Azrael Well-Known Member

    Based on what?
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