NHL 2013: Blackhawks Stanley Cup Champs ; Kovalchuk bails on NHL and $77 million

Fighting in hockey is such a codified aspect of the game I would hate to see it go. Listen to the interview (see about 1:10 in) to get an idea of the attitude of your typical true "enforcer". "Mr Erksine asked, and I felt I would oblige" There is a huge difference between this and the Matt Cookes and Raffi Torreses of the world. How those types of guys are allowed to taint the quality of the league year after year is something that I can't fathom. They are bad for the sport, period. And yet teams keep trotting them out. Gross.

I explained the concept to her, and told her about some times when a fight is deemed appropriate. She was watching a game somewhere else recently, and saw a goalie get hit, and a fight result. She came home all proud of herself that she knew the fight started because you aren't allowed to hit the goalie.

My problem with hockey fights is that I don't buy the argument that a dirty player is going to play clean because Jon Scott is going to beat him up during a game. The fact of the matter is that dirty stuff happens, whether there is "retribution" or not. I thought Kaleta's hit was borderline, and agreed with the suspension. However, the fact that Kaleta skirts the line is part of what makes him an effective player. I'd listen to an argument that legislates players like him out of the game, though.

nihilo wrote:

I understand why fighting exists in hockey and I know those guys don't intend to injure each other, but I really dislike it when people take that to mean that fighters don't hurt each other. They're huge guys, wailing on each other with bare fists. They're going to hurt each other.

To be fair, it seems like those guys are being phased out of the game. Now you're starting to see more guys like Brandon Prust and Dave Clarkson - guys who can put up 10-25 goals a year, 40 or so points, who can skate well, and can fight when needed too. I don't think we'll see the traditional one dimensional enforcer anymore.

TheCounselor wrote:

My problem with hockey fights is that I don't buy the argument that a dirty player is going to play clean because Jon Scott is going to beat him up during a game. The fact of the matter is that dirty stuff happens, whether there is "retribution" or not. I thought Kaleta's hit was borderline, and agreed with the suspension. However, the fact that Kaleta skirts the line is part of what makes him an effective player. I'd listen to an argument that legislates players like him out of the game, though.

Yup, it's a really stupid argument that ignores reality. I like fights. I like a good passionate fight between two guys that are emotionally invested in the game. I don't like seeing Kaleta run around and escape punishment. I mean actual punishment from the league and from the referees. He won't ever fight. It defeats the purpose of what he does.

I don't think players like Kaleta should be out of the game. There's definitely a role for pests but I would like to see punishments for their actions. A 5-game suspension for a repeat offender? Should be as few as 15. Make the suspensions and fines harsher and the behaviour will be bread out. Start fining teams for carrying repeat offenders on their roster (if the repeat offender gets another suspension).

I find that fighting is a good way for the large hulks of muscle to calm down or amp them their team up. I've also thought that wasting a roster spot on an enforcer is useless and would rather have a guy that can play but is also willing to fight (see John Erskine, Michael Rupp, and Matt Hendricks).

TheCounselor wrote:

My problem with hockey fights is that I don't buy the argument that a dirty player is going to play clean because Jon Scott is going to beat him up during a game.

I concur. I never bought into the "fighting as enforcement" rationale.

It seems the Sabres always waste a roster spot on a Jon Scott, Andrew Peters or Rob Ray, so the fact that fighting in the game just infuriates me more. Plus, the callers to local talk radio talk about having those guys like it's some boost to the team. Jon Scott's play will win the Sabres exactly zero games this year. I'd rather have a team that can roll four lines, like the Sabres did in 1999 and 2006.

Also, Kaleta isn't a guy that never fights. He has averaged 4-5 fights a year throughout his career. I bet the next time the Sabres face the Rangers (and Kaleta is in the lineup), he will fight someone on the Rangers.

Any argument for fighting in hockey is complete and total bullsh*t. Code of sportsmanship? f*cking hell. The answer to fighting is a clear and consistent zero tolerance policy enforced by the referees. But of course that's never going to happen.

No, TheCounselar, tell your wife the real reason there is fighting in hockey is because it sells. People pay to see it. The NHL is peanuts in the US compared to the NFL, MLB, and NBA, so the league will do whatever it can to keep revenue coming in, even when that means endangering the physical and mental health of its players. Let alone the reputation of the sport!

Did you tell her about the suicides and deaths by overdose?

So, on the local sports radio station, the host was talking about fighting after the fight linked above. He had Rob Ray on, who is a Sabres announcer these days, who said that the reason fighting is dangerous is that young players don't learn the art coming up as kids. He also blamed the instigator rule for the huge increase in dirty hits (that I'm not sure exist). Interestingly, he also said that he thinks fighting will die off by itself without legislation by the league, much the same way almost everyone wears a visor without the league mandating it.

The instigator rule absolutely increased the amount of dirty hits. Not because fighting prevents people from doing that, but because you got to injure someone AND it's a free 2 minute power play. It gives more incentive to the dirty players to try and get away with stuff so that the other team will retaliate. It's a terrible rule.

I'm indifferent on fighting. I think it will go away on its own as well, but the fans like it and most of the players like it, so getting rid of it by rule isn't likely to happen any time soon.

You need guys like Colton Orr to protect skill players from guys like Colton Orr.

I'm not a fan of fighting - there's no evidence it helps win games, shifts momentum, prevent injuries, or deter dirty play but I can see it's a sideshow people enjoy so these days I'm less worked up about it than I used to be.

nihilo wrote:

I hate seeing the Carcillos, Rinaldos and Kaletas make their livings off of crossing the line into dangerous play and cheap-shotting the star players of the league. In an ideal world the league would stop them through effective reffing and meaningful suspensions.

This is what is needed to clamp down on the dangerous, reckless, and dirty play. Predictable, harsh, and consistent supplementary discipline. Slaps on the wrists don't get it done and randomness from the inconsistency means there's a chance guys can get away with stuff.

Case in point, Max Pacioretty got away with a hit from behind on Ryan McDonagh earlier this season. It wasn't the dirtiest hit I've seen but he saw nothing but McDonagh's numbers the entire time. That should have been an easy suspension regardless of what happened between the two earlier in the game but somehow he got away with it.

Matt Cooke ended Marc Savard's career 3 years ago even though Zdeno Chara and Milan Lucic were on the ice with Savard and Shawn Thornton had just finished a shift. If those guys aren't able to deter dirty play (especially Chara) I don't see what fighting can do in that department. Cooke's been pretty good (reckless and apparently accidental skate cutting aside) since he was finally suspended a meaningful length and let known that he would face the wrath of God if he continued his dirty play.

Gravey wrote:

Any argument for fighting in hockey is complete and total bullsh*t.

Nice having a discussion with you!

Gravey wrote:

No, TheCounselar, tell your wife the real reason there is fighting in hockey is because it sells. People pay to see it. The NHL is peanuts in the US compared to the NFL, MLB, and NBA, so the league will do whatever it can to keep revenue coming in, even when that means endangering the physical and mental health of its players. Let alone the reputation of the sport!

Did you tell her about the suicides and deaths by overdose?

Chock Full O' Rhetoric.

Don't forget to tell her there were guns to these players heads, forcing them to fight.

BTW: Third game Brad Richards has been out.

FSeven wrote:
Gravey wrote:

Any argument for fighting in hockey is complete and total bullsh*t.

Nice having a discussion with you!

Gravey wrote:

No, TheCounselar, tell your wife the real reason there is fighting in hockey is because it sells. People pay to see it. The NHL is peanuts in the US compared to the NFL, MLB, and NBA, so the league will do whatever it can to keep revenue coming in, even when that means endangering the physical and mental health of its players. Let alone the reputation of the sport!

Did you tell her about the suicides and deaths by overdose?

Chock Full O' Rhetoric.

Don't forget to tell her there were guns to these players heads, forcing them to fight.

There doesn't have to be. They have a culture that expects it, fans that pay for it, amped-up players ready for it, and a league that tacitly encourages it.

Fighting as a revenue-driver is plain as day, and victims of that system like Byfuglien are going to be increasingly undeniable. Don't mistake my rhetoric for a lack of sincerity: if there's one thing I care most passionately about in hockey, it's the elimination of fighting.

FSeven wrote:

BTW: Third game Brad Richards has been out.

He is clearly exaggerating. Haha

They should let them fight with their sticks if bloodsport is such a revenue driver. Let 'em fight until one of them is lying in a pool of blood at center ice.

AKA, the '70s.

Man the Jets are a roller coaster of a team. They lose to half an AHL team in Florida a few days ago, but then beat Tampa Bay! Crazy!

Gravey wrote:

There doesn't have to be. They have a culture that expects it, fans that pay for it, amped-up players ready for it, and a league that tacitly encourages it.

Fighting as a revenue-driver is plain as day, and victims of that system like Byfuglien are going to be increasingly undeniable. Don't mistake my rhetoric for a lack of sincerity: if there's one thing I care most passionately about in hockey, it's the elimination of fighting.

Are there people who buy tickets and merchandise solely for the fighting? I have a hard time believing that. I don't think it hurts but I don't think it's a revenue driver at all. I'd be more than happy to change my perception should there be some analysis with hard data which proves that there are vast swathes of people whose interest in hockey, whose dollars spent, are attributed to fighting above all else.

Take the Rangers/Islanders game last night. Not a single fight. Not a single penalty by the Rangers. One of the most exciting games I've seen this year. I don't think one person who watched that game thought, "That game would have been much better with a few fights." The fact that it was such a tight game without many penalties and constant action with few puck stoppages is precisely what made that game enjoyable.

Fighting is an aspect of hockey some people like and some don't but I have a hard time believing it's this big revenue driver being alluded to. I think any difficulty in removing fighting from hockey is simply because hockey has gone on this long with fighting. Why remove it now? Why not remove big body checks too? If we're talking about removing fighting due to the injury aspect, why not ban big hits like this Phaneuf hit on Sauer which gave Sauer a concussion. This hit happened on December 5, 2011 and Sauer is still not playing. Surely missing what amounts to 2 full seasons of hockey due to 1 hit is far more damaging that a few knuckle sandwiches.

How can someone argue against the savagery of fighting yet give the rest of hockey's physicality a free pass when it's the rest of hockey's physicality that is doing the most damage? So two guys who willingly fight each other and come back to play 5 minutes later is more barbaric than a guy who blindsides another guy and hurts him so badly, his playing career is paused for 2 years and counting? I'm failing to find any logic in it.

Fighting is just entertainment.. Like brawls in baseball. There's always a possibility of it happening and it's exciting when it does happen.

I just really think at this point it will slowly phase itself out without any overzealous interference. Kids are getting bigger and faster. When GMs start realizing they can flesh out a fourth line with kids that can skate circles around other teams' fourth lines and still deliver big hits there will be a change in the culture.

That play-by-play guy's enthusiasm even after Sauer was clearly hurt is pretty creepy. It's one thing to applaud a hit as it happens, and another thing to show no concern at all that the guy remained keeled over afterwards.

imbiginjapan wrote:

That play-by-play guy's enthusiasm even after Sauer was clearly hurt is pretty creepy. It's one thing to applaud a hit as it happens, and another thing to show no concern at all that the guy remained keeled over afterwards.

Oh, don't get me started on Joe Bowen. Just be happy you don't have to listen to him game after game.

FSeven wrote:

Fighting is an aspect of hockey some people like and some don't but I have a hard time believing it's this big revenue driver being alluded to. I think any difficulty in removing fighting from hockey is simply because hockey has gone on this long with fighting. Why remove it now? Why not remove big body checks too? If we're talking about removing fighting due to the injury aspect, why not ban big hits like this Phaneuf hit on Sauer which gave Sauer a concussion. . . .

How can someone argue against the savagery of fighting yet give the rest of hockey's physicality a free pass when it's the rest of hockey's physicality that is doing the most damage? So two guys who willingly fight each other and come back to play 5 minutes later is more barbaric than a guy who blindsides another guy and hurts him so badly, his playing career is paused for 2 years and counting? I'm failing to find any logic in it.

And you won't find any—but I didn't say that. I'm not giving the rest of the NHL's physicality a free pass. I'd love to see the euphemistic "finishing the check" punished as well as a zero tolerance policy on fighting. I'd love to see the adoption of the international sized rink that encourages skill over physicality. I'd love to see the NHL take concussions and player safety seriously, really seriously, for once. On the other hand, there's no logic to "If we're going to allow x, why not allow y too?" Because if we can at least eliminate x, we'll be in a better position than having both. But of course let's work on both.

But I'll leave it at that, since I'm in the minority. The solution is probably to vote with my dollars and time, and stop watching—which I have, really. The lockout finally sucked out the last bit of enjoyment my wife and I could muster for the NHL.

The last Canucks game we watched, they were leading 3-1 against Dallas. Then they got in three fights in three seconds. And what happens when they unnecessarily, stupidly, disrespectfully surrender the momentum like that? (Just minutes after a standing ovation when Henrik Sedin broke the franchise record for points.) They were soon scored on, and went on to lose 4-3. That's not how hockey should be played—and if it is, if the Stars were right to gain the momentum with fighting and not skill, then that's not a sport I can enjoy.

nihilo wrote:
imbiginjapan wrote:

That play-by-play guy's enthusiasm even after Sauer was clearly hurt is pretty creepy. It's one thing to applaud a hit as it happens, and another thing to show no concern at all that the guy remained keeled over afterwards.

Oh, don't get me started on Joe Bowen. Just be happy you don't have to listen to him game after game.

I'm not sure who I dislike more. Bowen or Emrick. But yeah, his unbridled enthusiasm is creepy.

The streak is over. Colorado finally beat Chicago in regulation.

nihilo wrote:

The streak is over. Colorado finally beat Chicago in regulation.

Emery still hasn't had a loss! 10-0! That counts as a streak right? Right?!?

Ok, it was fun while it lasted. Avs played a good game and just outworked us. I guess I'll just have to be happy with those 45 measly points

Now that's it's over I'm just hoping the Hawks stay healthy and keep playing good hockey.

Secret Asian Man wrote:
nihilo wrote:

The streak is over. Colorado finally beat Chicago in regulation.

Emery still hasn't had a loss! 10-0! That counts as a streak right? Right?!?

Ok, it was fun while it lasted. Avs played a good game and just outworked us. I guess I'll just have to be happy with those 45 measly points

Now that's it's over I'm just hoping the Hawks stay healthy and keep playing good hockey.

I hope not because they are a scary team. Looks like Stan Bowman's clean up of Dale Tallon's mistakes are finally paying off.

The Blues have won a couple of games. That's all I need.

Fancy moves, Daugavins. "It worked once in the AHL". :p

Meh, don't blame him for trying. The shootout is such a crapshoot anyways, why not try something new once in a while.

Dysplastic wrote:

Meh, don't blame him for trying. The shootout is such a crapshoot anyways, why not try something new once in a while.

Oh I don't blame him. In fact I think it took gigantic balls to try it. But it was still goofy as hell.

True, and I think we can both enjoy when the Ottawa Senators look goofy