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Fighting Once Again A Hot Topic

from Adam Proteau of The Hockey News,

In one respect, the injury could have happened on any play; it was an unexpected shift in weight and momentum that could’ve happened on a body check, as we saw with Kevin Stevens in 1993. As always, the standard disclaimer about how the game will never be 100 percent safe has to be issued, lest the straw-clutchers in the comment section get riled up.

But there’s no arguing one point: if Orr and Parros had been ejected from the game after their first fight in the first period, there’s no way Parros is hospitalized tonight. Tell me again why there shouldn’t be an automatic ejection for NHL fights?

To do so would allow fans of fighting and those who see it as a stress release valve to still watch fights.

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from James Mirtle of the Globe and Mail,

“You know, it is kind of déjà vu,” said Leafs coach Randy Carlyle, who was behind the Anaheim bench when Parros was punching for his side and Orr suffered his devastating head injury. “It was the same type of thing. It wasn’t a punch. The guy fell down and unfortunately hit his chin and stayed on the ice. It’s unfortunate. Those are tough things.

“We know what kind of person George Parros is. He’s spent a number of years defending his teammates. He’s a great person, a great guy to coach, and it’s unfortunate this situation happened.”

And it is. But what’s even more unfortunate is that a sport built on speed and skill and brawn and full of amazing moments allows it to happen again and again to great people like Parros and justifies it as part of the game.

It’s kind of like déjà vu.

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from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,

An awful, horrifying moment.

Again. AGAIN.

After a summer in which the Bettman adminstration fiddled with silly rules like tucking in hockey jerseys and made changes to icing into a debate worthy of the Meech Lake Accord, of course it was the elephant in the room that made itself heard on opening night of the 2013-14 NHL season.

Fighting. The dangerous, pointless, bloody shame of fighting in the NHL, the combination of a league terrified to let the sport stand on its own two feet and a union that refuses to protect its workers.

continued

from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,

Everyone who reads me understands that I believe the game could survive without fighting. My belief is simply based on my fear that one day a player will die in a fight on the ice. Pure and simple. I say that because Don Sanderson did die in a Senior A Ontario game fight in 2009. <.p>

Am I concerned how the game would look if the "rats" in our game weren’t policed? Yes, I am. And I don’t have a good answer for that other than I’d hope the refs would police it as well as they could. 

And you cannot discount the emotional lift that some fights do provide in games. The Habs seemed buoyed by Parros’ first fight with Orr, as well as Travis Moen taking on Mark Fraser. 

I totally understand that and do not argue that fights in games have an impact. No question, they do. 

But I come back to my one and only concern, the only one I’ve ever held on the sensitive subject: I’m worried we’ll have a tragic incident one day, because today’s players are just stronger and bigger than ever.

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Comments

Red Winger's avatar

I’ve got to admit, I tend to agree with his stance.

I’m not one of those “fighting out of hockey now!” advocates; I do believe it has a place in the game. But so many of the fights today seem unnecessary.

I couldn’t help but think the league may have suffered yet another black eye last night on the opening night of its 96th season. What would the casual or potential fan think when they tuned in to the Habs-Leafs game, only to see Parros on the ice being put on a stretcher, all because of a fight? (the fact his injury wasn’t the direct result of a fist to the head is irrelevant).

Posted by Red Winger from Sault Ste Marie on 10/02/13 at 11:04 AM ET

Chris in Hockey Hell's avatar

Okay. Kevin Stevens in 1993 and now Parros in 2013. That’s two guys in 20 years that have face-planted. So you know what’s going to happen, right? The NHL will make face-planting a two-minute minor for unsportsmanlike conduct.

Posted by Chris in Hockey Hell from Ann Arbor, MI but LIVING in Columbia, TN on 10/02/13 at 11:24 AM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

As a guy who hates the staged “by-the-code” bullshit but does enjoy watching two guys get so sick of one another that they throw down, I rolled my eyes when the two other dummies on the ice dropped them last night before Orr v Parros 2 happened.  It was the fourth fight of the game and by then I was just bored with it.  The narrative of the match didn’t really support that much fighting.

By the time the first fight ended and the cameras panned over to Parros already lying face-down and unconscious, I felt sickened.

If they have to eliminate all fighting to eliminate this, then I’ll make that adjustment quickly and never look back.

Yeah, this could have happened a hundred other ways. Some of those ways would have also made me question what was the point of them being in the situation where that would happen in the first place.  Most of them would have been unfortunate accidents that happened as a result of something that at least had a point to it.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 10/02/13 at 11:52 AM ET

Avatar

I could live with a ban on fighting if after every game the tape is reviewed and for every dangeorus stick infraction (spearing, high sticking) or illegal hit (boarding or targeting the head) the offending player gets an minimum automatic one game suspension. Suspensions should also mean a team plays short a spot in the lineup for the duration of the suspension. That would prevent the turds of the league from getting away with nonsense behind the play and taking liberties because they know the refs can’t call everything.

Players only need to enforce the game when the officials and the league fail to do it. I have never been a fan of fighting per se, but the deterrent that it can be. The fact that only fighters fight each other means the deterrent aspect of this has gone away and the cheap shots are allowed to ply their trade with little to no repercussions. The wheel of justice wasn’t working and the Shanaban has improved things, but relying on the extent of an injury and intent still makes this too subjective.

Posted by hockey1919 from mid-atlantic on 10/02/13 at 12:21 PM ET

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But there’s no arguing one point: if Orr and Parros had been ejected from the game after their first fight in the first period, there’s no way Parros is hospitalized tonight. Tell me again why there shouldn’t be an automatic ejection for NHL fights?

There’s also no arguing that if Subban were to

a) start fighting his own battles
or
b) not cause problems where none otherwise would exist

Parros doesn’t end up in the hospital last night.


Subban caused this fight by grabbing Orr from behind and torquing his neck. Had he not done this (pointlessly, I might add) there’s no reason for Parros to be saving him.

Posted by larry on 10/02/13 at 03:07 PM ET

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Players only need to enforce the game when the officials and the league fail to do it. I have never been a fan of fighting per se, but the deterrent that it can be. The fact that only fighters fight each other means the deterrent aspect of this has gone away and the cheap shots are allowed to ply their trade with little to no repercussions. The wheel of justice wasn’t working and the Shanaban has improved things, but relying on the extent of an injury and intent still makes this too subjective.

Posted by hockey1919 from mid-atlantic on 10/02/13 at 12:21 PM ET

This is the crux of the issue. As fighting gets more marginalized, rat-like behavior ascends. The rats are, and always have been, at the cause of more detrimental moments in the sport than the fighters. If you want to remove one, you MUST remove the other.

If fighting is going to be more marginalized, if that’s what you want to do, that’s what you want to do. But it needs to be done in the context of calling the rulebook by the letter. That means any body check thrown for any purpose other than getting body position carries a charging penalty. Any whack at the puck carrier’s hip, a slashing minor.

I don’t know that the game would be better that way.

Posted by larry on 10/02/13 at 03:13 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

There’s also no arguing that if Subban were to

yeah, because Colton Orr isn’t known to start shit in front of the net after whistles or anything…

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 10/02/13 at 03:35 PM ET

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yeah, because Colton Orr isn’t known to start shit in front of the net after whistles or anything…

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 10/02/13 at 03:35 PM ET

Colton Orr could be known for assassinating presidents or spreading AIDS and it wouldn’t change that the sequence of events that ended with Parros in the Hospital was kicked into motion, rather pointlessly, by his teammate PK Subban grabbing Orr from behind and cranking his neck.

Posted by larry on 10/02/13 at 04:23 PM ET

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I think you can call the NHL by the letter of the law and the players will adapt, but the NHL wants it both ways. They love to use the “spirit’ of the law when enforcing the rule book and the CBA when it suits their purpose.

It would make for some very bad hockey for a period of time, but the players would learn. I don’t care much for the NFL, but it seems the rulebook never changes, mistakes are made due to incompetence, but not becasue the rules are called situationally. The NBA on the other hand is more like hockey and is unwatchable due in part to the flagrant double standards.

Posted by hockey1919 from mid-atlantic on 10/02/13 at 04:26 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Perhaps you misunderstood me, Larry.

Colton Orr was IN THE PROCESS of starting shit in front of the net.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 10/02/13 at 04:57 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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