Sunday, March 25, 2007

TSN Article on Fighting in the NHL

TSN ran some pro-fighting material finally. I am happy to say that someone has finally talked about the overwhelming image, of carrying someone out on a stretcher, has on hockey fans.

"The notion that because one player got knocked cold in a fight, that's going to touch off a debate about eliminating fighting, to me is silly," said the Anaheim Ducks GM (Brian Burke).

"The stretcher and all that was probably blown out of proportion, they were just taking precautions," Fedoruk told CP in an interview Friday. "Obviously I was knocked out, but the day after I was fine."

The "someone is going to get killed" arguement was also brought up:

"I think it's possible," acknowledged Fedoruk, who had facial bones smashed in by Derek Boogaard earlier in the season. "You know I think it's something where guys now are 260, 270 pounds, and they're hitting bone on bone. It's getting worse and worse. I don't know if the initial hit is going to kill somebody, but maybe falling to the ice and smacking his head off the ice could do it. I think it's something that you have to take into account now, just because of the size of the guys.

I despise this arguement. In a game that sees players skate with razor blades on their feet at break neck speeds and dive in front of 100 mph slap shots, I think that a death will happen from another aspect of the game before it happens in a fight. Just ask Clint Malarchuk...

Now to the realastic quoatables:
"Taking fighting out of the game is definitely not a solution," said Fedoruk. "You just can't do it. It's ingrained in the roots of hockey."

"If the players know that there's no fighting and there's no retaliation, you can be pretty sure that guys will start running guys from behind along the boards now." (Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford)

"Fighting has been systematically reduced in the NHL," said Burke, who had Fedoruk in Anaheim and phone him this week to make sure he was OK. "You are more likely now to not see a fight than you are to see one, through instigator penalties, suspensions and fines for fights in the last three [actually five] minutes of a game. It's been reduced to, in my mind, its proper place. It's no longer utilized as a tactic.

"But the notion that we ever get rid of the players' ability to regulate what happens, is silly to me."

"The game is a great game the way it is," said [Andrew] Peters. "The guys that are willing to do that, the guys that drop the gloves know what the risk is, know why they're doing it. I do it for my team and I'm willing to do it.

"What's going to happen if we're gone? Is Daniel Briere going to fight his own battles? Is Chris Drury going to fight his own battles? You have to have someone there to protect your teammates.

"If you do remove it I think you'll see guys run around and take even more liberties."

No comments: