I was fortunate to get to take in the exciting Detroit Red Wings/Phoenix Coyotes game last night, and just happened to have been gifted terrific seats.
I spent the majority of the game (with the help of a friend) trying to get pictures of the notes that the coaching staff of the Wings had jotted down, because I always get a kick out of seeing something brutally honest like “*PlayerName*, lazy slug, isolate,” and figured you guys would too (no luck on that, sorry).
During my detective work, I noticed something else: the Detroit Red Wings make Ty Conklin take stats (likely hits and faceoffs). Because…they play junior hockey? Does Jimmy Howard do this when he backs up? Is this common in the NHL? …I have so many questions.
In recent years, a large portion of the hockey community has taken interest in trying to avoid damaging the brains of hockey players, which I would agree is a noble cause. I don’t remember what it was like when we basically didn’t care (that’s not a good sign for my own brain), but I do know that when I see a player get concussed these days, I grimace a lot harder than I used to.
With head shots being wisely legislated out of the game, some people have turned their focus to the next target, the necessity of fighting, not the least of whom is national crankpot Don Cherry. You can guess which side of the argument he’s on.
Here’s the clip of Cherry’s rant – please note the end (rant starts at 4:50, fighting riff at 5:30), where he turns quite venemously on some former NHL tough guys, and what he thinks of them advocating for less fighting (which they’ve barely done, by the way).
How about Ron Maclean pretty plainly signing off with the “please don’t associate me with that bullshit” tone? Love that guy.
Ignoring the part where he shows men of his own sport unconscious after getting violently concussed and says “you’ll never get to see this again, it’s ridiculous” (just because it’s been heavily discussed) ….we turn our focus to fighting.
We at Backhand Shelf came across a pretty cool infographic on the hockeymonkey.com blog that we thought we’d share, tracking the prevalence of fighting in the game over the past decade or so. I think the farther down you go, the better the info you’ll find.
Our favourite stat in there? Brendan Shannahan had 15 more Gordie Howe hattricks (17) than Gordie Howe (2). Fact not listed: a true Gordie Howe hattrick is a goal, an assist, and one opponent’s nose shattered with an elbow, of which Gordie had 214.
Also interesting: The St. Louis Blues had the most fights in the NHL last year with 78, and Detroit had the least with 13. There does seem to be some tie between a lot of fights and not great teams (save for Boston at #2 and the Pens at #3, the rest of the top ten is pretty “meh.”