Archive for the ‘Fights’ Category

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Bill Maher – yes, I’m opening a piece about why fighting does not need to exist in hockey by referencing something Bill Maher said, but bear with me – once was discussing what it would take to get equal rights in America for the gay community. He quoted a statistic that showed how people who are against gay marriage are very old while people who are for it are very young.

His hypothesis was that eventually gay marriage would be legal in all 50 states, but we would have to wait for all of the old voters and their long-held ignorant beliefs to die first. Once you get past the harshness of the idea, it makes sense. For change to occur, people in power need must be replaced by people who aren’t burdened by the notions of “that’s how it’s always been” in the world.

Before we get to hockey, let’s talk about the NFL. I know, but I assure you this all builds to a point.

On Sunday, the New York Giants were playing a football game against the Carolina Panthers. The Giants were thoroughly dismantled, 38-0, in a game that wasn’t as close as the score indicated. The contest ceased to be in doubt by, at the latest if you’re an optimist, the middle of the third quarter. It was a woodshed beating in which Giants quarterback Eli Manning was sacked seven times.

There was a play that occurred earlier in the game before it got out of hand. Giants defensive back Ryan Mundy delivered a devastating – and legal, although a flag was thrown at first – hit to Panthers wide receiver Brandon LaFell that jarred the ball loose, resulting in an incomplete pass. LaFell was about as defenseless as it gets. It was an extremely violent collision in an extremely violent sport.

At the conclusion of the third-down play, no one on the Panthers ran over to Mundy to challenge him to a fight. Heck, no one on the Panthers had anything to say Mundy in the aftermath of the hit. No one on the Panthers felt the need to “stick up for a teammate” because of the hit. In a game that was over with about 20 minutes left, Panthers coach Ron Rivera did not send out his toughest player to fight Mundy or exact revenge by having a linebacker engage in a fight with a Giants wide receiver.

Suffering one of the more embarrassing losses in team history, no one on the Giants felt the need to “set the tone” for the following week’s game by fighting someone on the Panthers. No one on the Giants felt the need to “fire up the boys” while down 10-0 by starting a fight.

What’s the difference between the NFL and NHL, two extremely violent sports whose players pride themselves on toughness? Quite simply, fighting has always been part of the NHL culture while the NFL does not tolerate it. Fighting in hockey gets you five minutes in the penalty box and the admiration of your teammates and coach. Fighting in the NFL gets you a minimum fine of $26,250 for a first offense and is doubled for a second offense.

If the NHL adopted that policy, Brandon Prust would be filing for bankruptcy by January. Or, more likely, fighting in the NHL would eventually disappear and, after a while, no one would miss it. Read the rest of this entry »

This entire post isn't going to be "Wah wah Gary Bettman needs to go" but he's in here hence the photo.

This entire post isn’t going to be “Wah wah Gary Bettman needs to go” but he’s in here hence the photo.

It’s July. Still. God this month drags for what feels like an eternity. I have no passionate feelings about anything so it’s hard to find a writing topic. New divisions? Whatever. The Minnesota Wild crying poor? Meh. Mikhail Grabovski remaining unsigned? Yeah, what is up with that? NHL GMs, man.

When the passion isn’t there, you can’t force it. That’s how you wind up with a ninth season of Friends and marriage. So instead of forcing it with one of those aforementioned topics (Seriously, if Grabovski winds up somewhere besides the NHL, this league should be embarrassed), I’m doing one of those things about ways to make the NHL better that will never happen but whatever it’s fun.

Some are obvious, some maybe aren’t, some are probably dumb, some are definitely things you’ve heard before. So here’s some stuff about hockey to distract you from your life and job for a few minutes. Read the rest of this entry »

Toronto Maple Leafs v Florida Panthers
On June 4th, in what has to be one of the most safety-conscious competition committee meetings in its history, the NHL decided to begin experimenting with hybrid icing. The move was long overdue. Touch icing is probably one of the most broadly unpopular features of the NHL brand of hockey. Nobody likes it. I’m pretty sure there are more supporters of the instigator and the puck-over-glass penalty than there are of touch icing. Unlike most safety issues, it wasn’t only tender-hearted New-Age fans who hated watching players race at full speed into the back boards just to end the play. One of the greatest opponents of the practice was Don Cherry, representing a whole faction of old-school, traditionalist, good hard hockey fans who were similarly appalled by this dangerous practice.

This is odd, because Cherry and his ilk are definitely not against hockey players getting hurt. We are speaking of a man who opposed visors for years and holds up Scott Stevens as a model body-checker. He’s all for hockey players getting hurt in all kinds of ways, including many that normal human beings would consider stupid and unnecessary. He’ll advocate for guys getting punched in the face for saying something mean, yet when it comes to touching the puck for an icing call, that’s too much. That’s the one thing in hockey that’s not worth the injuries it causes.

Why? What makes touch icing an unacceptable cause of harm, in a game with thousands of acceptable and even beloved causes of harm? It’s not how bad or frequent the injuries are. Although the potential is certainly there, there’s never been an epidemic of careers ended by touch icing. If the concern was purely player safety, we’d be revamping bodychecking standards rather than experimenting with hybrid icing.

This is another place where we see aesthetics at work in hockey’s attitude towards violence. The difference between touch icing injuries and other sorts isn’t the harm itself, it’s the storyline that goes with them. The Don Cherrys of the world don’t just want pain, they want aesthetically satisfying pain. They want pain that means something. Touch icing is an overwhelmingly anticlimactic phenomenon. It’s players running a great risk in pursuit of a completely deflating whistle, and even on the rare occasions it’s beaten, there’s seldom much dramatic payoff. Icings are boring, period, and adding a footrace element doesn’t make them any less so. It’s not the danger itself that turns people off. It’s the dullness.

Read the rest of this entry »

Pittsburgh Penguins v Boston Bruins

Boston Bruins forward Nathan Horton left today’s game against the Pittsburgh Penguins after a fight with Jarome Iginla. Horton, who has a history of concussions, looked to be favoring his hand when he left the ice.

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Washington Capitals v Boston Bruins

Matt Hendricks was not a popular Washington Capital on Saturday, and Adam McQuaid was at the top of the list of people who wanted to tear a strip off him.

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The two had a bit of a running feud, as you can see. (Also noteworthy on there: Mike RiBiero got into his first NHL fight after 13 seasons in that game.)

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Mike Ribeiro vs. Brad Marchand

Washington Capitals v Toronto Maple Leafs

Two names you least expect to hear involved in a fight did just that in today’s game between the Capitals and Bruins, as Brad Marchand and Mike Ribeiro dropped the gloves at the end of the second period.

For Ribeiro, it was surprisingly the first fight in his 13 year career.

Philadelphia Flyers v Boston Bruins

Flyers forward Zac Rinaldo, who was on the other end of a hit last week, taking a cross check to the face by Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson, absolutely rocked Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk with a legal looking hit in Saturday’s game in Boston.

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