Monday, February 12, 2007

Yuppie Hockey League (YHL) fans take notice. Kris Newbury got KO’d and is doing just fine.

Newbury will be out for a week and recent news articles are stating that the incident looked far worse than it was. Ronald Petroviky, who delivered the deciding blow, phoned Newbury the next day to make sure he was okay. Newbury was not upset with Petro and said that it wasn’t his fault. As for coming back, Newbury said that he is being kept off the ice as a precaution and that he is not experiencing concussion like symptoms.

A few tidbits from the article:

He saw the fight on video.

“Yeah I've seen it a couple of times," said Newbury. "It doesn't look good. But injuries are part of the game and every now and then you get a scary one."

The incident revived the anti-fighting element from some hockey observers. Newbury, for the record, doesn't agree with them. The fight with Petrovicky was his second of the NHL season.

"Especially for my game, it's part of what I do and what I get paid for," he said. "I think it belongs in the game, it's just a freak accident that happens every once in a while."

Now for all the YHL fans out there, let’s get a few things straight. First off, you are so far in the minority you register like Neilson ratings for a Panthers/Devils game on a Tuesday night. And while you’ll pretend that major media polls are not methodologically sound, you couldn’t be more far from the truth. The polls I have seen are neutrally worded and have two opposing response options. It doesn’t get more sound than that. Check out the CBC’s poll on the instigator penalty. It seems 8 out 10 fans want it completely removed. And that isn’t even a fighting poll. Most fighting polls display that 9 out of 10 fans enjoy fighting and want it in the game. And we can compare college transcripts to see who has the background in research methods any time.

Let’s have a good look at a YHL fan… Bleatings from a Caps Nut. Bleatings, a nameless blogger and one that will not allow you to leave comments, has officially named pro-hockey fight fans as Ultimate Fighting on Ice (UFOI) fans, meaning 9 out 10 hockey fans are UFOI fans in his mind. Looks like Kris Newbury is a UFOI fan too. Seems not even Newbury agrees with the nameless YHL leader. Not only that, if you check out his blog, he goes on to applaud the re-signing of Capita'sl enforcer, Donald Brashear. Now personally, I don’t understand his logic. On one hand, he calls hockey fight advocates UFOI fans. On the other hand, he is a Donald Brashear fan. Keep in mind that Donald is one of the toughest enforcers in the game and has been dishing out knuckle sandwiches for years now. Some might call his line of thinking a bit delusional. I’ll just say he is misguided.

Bleatings goes on to complain about one of the most respected coaches of all time and the force behind the most popular hockey show in Canada, Don Cherry… yet another “UFOI” fan. Seems Cherry said that he believes touch-up icing should be implemented as a rule. How can one disagree with that? Is that center to end line rush for a puck worth the knee and ankle injuries that result from these supposedly exciting plays? No chance. Bleatings even mentions that Pat Peake had his career ended from an icing incident. Bleatings real problem is that Cherry makes a statement like that, yet is a pre-fighting supporter. Pretty weak IMO. Let's examine...

Bleatings mentions two incidents, Trevor Halverson and Todd Bertuzzi. The Halverson incident was unfortunate and blame should be placed solely on the Chicago Blackhawks. If I remember the story correctly, Caps GM, George McPhee, phoned the Blackhawks before that night’s preseason game and asked them if they were dressing any toughness. He was told that they were not. The Caps answered by doing the same, only dressing one tough guy in Halverson. When play started, the Blackhawks mysteriously had quite a few tough guys in their lineup. Halverson fought THREE times that night, getting dropped in his last bought. McPhee was so infuriated, he ran into the Blackhawks locker room after the game to get at their GM. Apparently he got in a couple but also left missing part of his suit jacket.

As for Bertuzzi, this has been covered countless times. The Bertuzzi incident was not a fight. It was a mugging. And it was a mugging that has happened countless times in the NHL. However, it was the unfortunate end result that drew attention from libby media nuts and YHL fans. If Moore didn’t break his neck, the media wouldn’t even have taken notice. And please note that the Bertuzzi mugging could have occurred in a rules system that says you are automatically ejected from the game if you fight just as easily it occurred under the rule system at the time. It was in the last minute of play, so who cares if you are ejected?

Now on to where Bleatings is really misguided about these or any incidents he can conjure up. There are all sorts of injuries in hockey… blown out knees (e.g. Neely), concussions from open ice hits (e.g. Lindros), concussions from fights (e.g. Kypreos, Halverson)… you can’t just pick one of the causes and state that it should be removed from the game. Career ending injuries from fights are few and far between. The only one I can really file under that category is Halverson as even Kypreos played seven years in the NHL before he retired after his last concussion. If you follow Bleatings line of thinking, you should be calling for a ban on hitting too… because, in reality, that causes more career ending injuries than fights do. You should also be screaming for an end to all cheap shots… because those cause more long-term injuries than fights do too.

Bleatings continues on to provide us with his all-knowing prophecy that someone will die from a hockey fight. I don’t disagree with him. Boxers have died in the ring and they wear gloves. His statement is actually is accurate (finally!), but nothing to get excited about. Even more, I would venture to say that the chances that a hockey player dies on the ice from a non-fighting related incident is much higher. Consider the facts that hits from behind can leads to broken necks and backs, that players carry weapons in their hands, that they skate with razor-like skates on their feet, and that they shoot pucks in excess of 100 mph and you might just agree too. Hockey is a dangerous sport… with or without fighting.

Thank God that we have somewhat realistic folks at NHL headquarters. If Bleatings were the Commissioner of the NHL and he eliminated fighting from the game, he would have the game sitting in the sewage treatment center awaiting purification. The NHL is aware of the popularity of fighting in hockey and they aren’t about to outlaw it from the game. They also hear from the NHLPA every year who constantly asks them to remove the instigator rule. So even the players want it gone! Wierd... I mean, if all these players are having their careers ended as a result of fighting, why wouldn't the players be knocking down the doors to have it thrown out of the game? Instead... it's the opposite. Seems the NHLPA are UFOI fans too.

So who would ban fighting on account of a few isolated incidents, some of which are blown way of proportion? It’s the YHL fan that would… and remember, 9 out of 10 fans are not in the YHL fan’s camp. Sorry Bleatings... it's just you and.............. well, you.


Anonymous said...

Oh my God... what a joke that guy is. UFOI fans? I think he goes a bit overboard with his characterization of fans that like a spirited fight. And then he praises the Caps for re-signing Brashear? Has he been taking lessons from John Kerry?

Anonymous said...

Bleatings from a figure skating fan couldn't be any more pathetic. I wish he had a comments section on his blog so I could write that there.

Anonymous said...

To me, his opinion should be nullified with Newbury's comments alone. Having the "victim" himself condoning the action and justifying it should make any opposition cease to be relevant.