In yesterday’s Rangers/Penguins contest, Arron Asham and Tanner Glass dropped the mitts two seconds after puck drop and conducted what our own Chris Lund deemed a “lame, scripted fight.” There are plenty of people in Lund’s corner on this, and unsurprisingly, the side that’s pro-fighting wasn’t the most eloquent in response in the comment section.
Still, “scripted” aside, it was an incredible tilt between two middleweights who are tough as nails. Fight connoisseurs will love this.
I like it because both Glass and Asham get some minutes (as in, they aren’t John Scott-style fighters), and you know these are two rival teams that are going to be competitive all year. I like someone trying to set the tone for their team because the plan isn’t to have an even fight and be done with it. The point is that if Asham asks Glass to go and he won’t, the Rangers already get to be the bullies. It’s sort of the punk test all over again. And in the best case scenario, your guy drops their guy and your whole bench is teeming with adrenaline. It probably didn’t help either team in this instance, being that Glass accepted and it wasn’t a decisive victory for either man, but whatever – “fuck their guys, let’s get after them.” I like it. (Check out today’s podcast to hear me explain this a little more in-depth.)
Of course, there are times where it’s worth an eye-roll.
Here’s the start of the Islanders/Lightning game taking place this afternoon:
Obviously, I’m less enthralled by Matt Martin/BJ Crombeen, Joe Finley/Pierre-Cedric Labrie (that’s a real player), mostly because it’s Lightning/Islanders, and Labrie and Finley have combined for 20 career games, but I dunno, I just can’t bring myself to the level of “this is pointless, this has nothing to do with the game.” To the guys on the bench, and the guys in the fight, there’s more to it than a rote exercise in face-punchery.
This is minimally useful players (not to lump Crombeen and Martin in) trying to find a way to be useful, to get the boys going, and to show that your team isn’t gonna be afraid to get dirty today. Both guys saying yes is better than one saying no, and you don’t wanna be the guy returning to the bench or dressing room after declining a center ice invite at the start of the game. I know it sounds like foolish dudery, but hey, certain sports are just like that at this point.
It’s not the safest thing in the world, and a draw may not change much, but for me, I still feel like the guys on the bench in the .GIF above. When the puck drops and I see a couple guys about to get after it, it still makes me want to stand up.