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“...But No Game Is Worth Dying Over”

from Richard Ouzounian of the Toronto Star,

Kevin Smith, the bad boy of movies, may be best known for his movie character Silent Bob, but when it comes to the topic of violence in hockey, he’s got a lot to say.

And during a recent conversation to promote his upcoming Feb. 2 Toronto appearance at the Scotiabank Theatre in Kevin Smith: Live from Behind, he didn’t hesitate to make his feelings known.

“I like fighting as much as the next guy, but Jesus Christ, how many people have to die? Look, man, when one of the greatest hockey players living isn’t playing because he’s concussed, then something’s seriously f—ked.”

“I mean, like, Sidney’s off the ice, man,” he says, reminding us of the fact that Crosby hasn’t played since December, after his supposed recovery from a concussion proved shortlived.

Smith’s passion for hockey has been well documented over the years and his adoration for Canadian idols like Wayne Gretzky and Bobby Orr exceeds anything he feels for anyone in the world of entertainment.

continued

Filed in: NHL Talk, Hockey Related Stories, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: kevin+smith

Comments

mrfluffy's avatar

He is right, but (here we go…:) )...part of the reason Crosby is off the ice again is that he didn’t change his game after coming back. He went right back at it bulldozing into any space on the ice at 110%...and people are surprised his concussion symptoms came right back.

Posted by mrfluffy from A wide spot on I-90 in Montana on 01/20/12 at 04:23 PM ET

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So Kevin Smith is making a hockey movie set in the 70’s were the Broad Street Bullies and the Big Bad Bruins came to prominence to represent a period of hockey where violence wasn’t at the level it is today? Okay Bob, please remain silent.

PS
Crosby’s injury, as unfortunate as it is, was not an act of hockey violence, it was an act of a hockey collision and a poor organizational decision to allow him to play soon after (The same organization that put Letang back out on the ice after getting his bell rung).

Posted by hockey1919 from mid-atlantic on 01/20/12 at 04:25 PM ET

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Kevin Smith, the bad boy of movies

What?

“I like fighting as much as the next guy, but…I mean, like, Sidney’s off the ice, man,”

Yeah, and we all know that Sidney is off the ice because he was injured during one of his many -some might say TOO many- fights!

the fact that Smith will be playing the leading character

No he won’t.

“Gretzky wouldn’t have had anything to do with the kind of crap they pull today,”

That’s what Dave Semenko was for.

They talk about the correlation between constant concussions and brain damage and it’s hard to deny it.

Which is why they’re trying to get headshots out of the game.

“It’s set during the period from 1972-80, when things weren’t as f—-ing stupid as they are today.

YEAH, MAN!  Why did they have to invent fighting in hockey after Wayne Gretzky retired?

Smith is a *#$%@& idiot.  If he would retire from public speaking and giving interviews I would gladly continue to pay for his shitty movies.

Posted by Garth on 01/20/12 at 04:46 PM ET

Primis's avatar

It’s news to the rest of the hockey world that fighting is why Crosby is still sidelined.

Obviously Smith doesn’t know as much as he likes to let on.

Posted by Primis on 01/20/12 at 04:52 PM ET

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Obviously Smith doesn’t know as much as he likes to let on.

When someone sticks a microphone in your face it’s less important to know what you’re saying than it is to just say shit.

Posted by Garth on 01/20/12 at 04:58 PM ET

bezukov's avatar

Crosby’s injury, as unfortunate as it is, was not an act of hockey violence, it was an act of a hockey collision and a poor organizational decision to allow him to play soon after (The same organization that put Letang back out on the ice after getting his bell rung).

Posted by hockey1919 from mid-atlantic on 01/20/12 at 01:25 PM ET

That’s a questionable claim, and thats coming from someone who genuinely dislikes Crosby.

I get it that Crosby isn’t out due to fighting, but I don’t really see what Smith said to touch so many nerves here.  I like fighting as much as the next person, but given the deaths we’ve seen, and the hurt people left behind (e.g. the Proberts), I think its fair to question whether or not its all worth it.

Posted by bezukov from the kids are alright. on 01/20/12 at 07:02 PM ET

Primis's avatar

Fighting isn’t the problem.

The Fighters (who do nothing but) are.

And fighting isn’t why guys like Pronger, Crosby, Giroux, Savard, etc have endured concussions.

Quite frankly I think the anti-fighting vocal contingent is nothing more than a distraction to the real violent dangers on the ice at the moment, and they do the game a real disservice by distracting from it.

Also of note:  if you remove the reckless, dangerous hits, you’re taking away one more reason a guy on Team A wants to pummel a guy on Team B with his fists.

Posted by Primis on 01/20/12 at 07:09 PM ET

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I get it that Crosby isn’t out due to fighting, but I don’t really see what Smith said to touch so many nerves here.

Well, he specifically used the biggest name in the sport, who is not out because of fighting as a reason that fighting should be abolished.

And he also uses research that is being used now and wasn’t available in the 70s and 80s as evidence that hockey wasn’t as brutal in the 70s and 80s as it is now.

And he used Gretzky as an example of why hockey was classier then, which is BS because one could just as easily use Nick Lidstrom as an example of why hockey is classier now than it has ever been.

And he pretended that fighting wasn’t a big thing in the 80s when Gretzky played, completely ignoring the fact that when Gretzky played there were, as much as any other time, players who were specifically employed just for their fighting prowess and their willingness to drop the gloves.

The nerve was touched because hey, if he’s decided fighting should be removed from hockey, that’s fine, but get your facts straight before you open your mouth.

Oh, and probably don’t make a movie glorifying hockey goons while you’re trying to say that fighting no longer belongs in hockey.

Posted by Garth on 01/20/12 at 07:26 PM ET

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Just to clarify, I’m neither pro nor anti-fighting. I despise goonery, but I hate cheap shot artists that take liberties even more. I tolerate fighting as a necessary evil to deter the guys that I feel are much worse. I just don’t think the NHL will ever be able to get rid of the rat, so I can tolerate the occasional goon. I also think it is shows more sportsmanship to challenge a player to a fair fight then it does to slew foot them or run them into the boards.

I don’t see the Crobsy hit as an act of violence. Having watched Steckel most of his career and seeing how limited he has been in using his size, I don’t think he willfully acted against Crosby. I know many will disagree, that’s fine as well, but I was not the one equating violence and fighting with Sidney Crosby either. McSorley (a Grezky contemporary) on Brashear was an act of violence.

Posted by hockey1919 from mid-atlantic on 01/20/12 at 07:41 PM ET

tuxedoTshirt's avatar

Some good points, and I don’t have a comment for the main argument, just a side comment.
STECKEL NAILED CROSBY ON PURPOSE!!!!!  He was assigned to check him.  He spent the whole game within 15 feet of him.  He absolutely had him in his crosshairs.  I love the pundits, “whoever this Steckel guy is, just innocently colliding by accident…..”  Nope.  Watched it live.  Called it the second it happened.
(It was the only notable event in the worst hockey game I have ever seen, which people went nuts for - hey why not, it was outside in the rain.  Now that’s a good reason to cheer without any critical faculty).
So yes…...Crosby’s condition is 90% Pittsburgh’s fault, for protecting “the NHL’s premiere event” (and here i thought that was the Stanley Cup) by playing him again.
My second point, just to join the rant on the side of Garth, my old nemesis….....HOCKEY WAS DIRTY IN THE ‘70s AND ‘80s.  There are lots of angles to fight about, and lots of room for speculation and varied opinion, but one thing I cannot stand is misrepresentation of the past.  It’s fine if you like the old days better (actually it is self-indulgent nostalgia, but whatever), but please…..those games featured stickwork, elbows and brawls start to finish.  I grew up on the Battle of Alberta and NEVER did a fight result in de-escalation.  They were dirty, rough, awesome games.  I hate to see them used to make a spurious argument.  Defensemen were allowed to tackle guys.  Spearing was normal.  I don’t care what side of the enforcer/instigator argument you are on, but don’t talk about how “orderly, controlled, honourable….” or whatever they were.
Done.  Sorry about the capitals.
Now someone is gonna say. “well Semenko kept that BS out of the game”.  Guess what?  I read his book.  He tells some tales of dirty dirty ass hockey, without pointing fingers.  Just stating facts, because the audience in those days didn’t want a exonerating take, we knew all teams used dirty tactics….cause it’s hockey.

Posted by tuxedoTshirt from the Home of the 1937 World Champions on 01/20/12 at 07:50 PM ET

bezukov's avatar

Posted by Primis on 01/20/12 at 04:09 PM ET

Except fighting was the problem in the instance of Bob Probert.  I hope it doesn’t happen, but we could have the same discussion about Grimson, Semenko, or Domi tomorrow that we had about Probert over the past summer.

On the second point, I think Smith got his lines crossed.  His point about Gretzky’s era makes more sense if you read it to say head shots, and not fighting.  I was born in the eighties, so admittedly I was young, and I’m open to being corrected, but I don’t remember so much headhunting going on in those days.  I don’t remember it happening that much during the nineties, or the former half of this decade for that matter.

I tolerate fighting as a necessary evil to deter the guys that I feel are much worse. I just don’t think the NHL will ever be able to get rid of the rat, so I can tolerate the occasional goon. I also think it is shows more sportsmanship to challenge a player to a fair fight then it does to slew foot them or run them into the boards.

As long as the NHL insists on maintaining a soft ban on head shots, etc, I tend to agree with you.  The NHL really needs to come to a decision, fighting or no fighting, because a grey area has developed in which you can run somebody and not answer to a team enforcer, and it is ending careers.

Posted by bezukov from the kids are alright. on 01/21/12 at 04:01 AM ET

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His point about Gretzky’s era makes more sense if you read it to say head shots, and not fighting.

Sure, but the entire discussion was about fighting.  He didn’t say anything about getting headshots out of the game, he was specifically talking about getting fighting out of the game.

His point also sounds different if you substitute jelly beans for fighting, but that’s not what he was talking about.

And still, more than anything, it’s the hypocrisy.  He’s making a movie that glorifies the role of the fighter, but he wants fighting out of the game.  You can bet his movie isn’t going to be about what a sad existence the fighter lives, and you can bet there aren’t going to scenes in total darkness while the fighter is suffering from a migraine years after he retired, or the depression or the mood swings.

If you want fighting out of the game fine, but don’t be so ignorant with your quotes and don’t make movies about how cool it is to be a fighter in the NHL.

I don’t remember it happening that much during the nineties, or the former half of this decade for that matter.

I don’t specifically remember a lot of headhunting, but that doesn’t mean much because there wasn’t an emphasis on it like there is now either.  And don’t forget that the big argument for getting rid of the instigator is that when you had a Dave Semenko on the ice and he didn’t have to worry about getting an extra penalty, nobody was ever going to mess with the likes of Wayne Gretzky.  So yeah, with the threat of the true enforcers in the 70s, 80s and early 90s you definitely weren’t going to see the types of cheap shots that you see now.

Posted by Garth on 01/21/12 at 01:53 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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