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Trevor Linden On Fighting

from Thomas Drance at The Score,

On Tuesday afternoon, Linden co-hosted the mid-day show on Team 1040 sports talk radio in Vancouver for two hours alongside regular host Matt Sekeres. During the show, Linden was asked about his stance on fighting in hockey and responded thoughtfully and at length. Here's are his comments via Dimitri Filipovic of canucksarmy.com (full disclosure, I am a contributor at canucksarmy.com):

I think that our game is such a great one. It's built around speed, and skill, and hard-hitting, not unlike the NFL.

Can you imagine an NFL game where a linebacker puts a good lick on a running back and the linemen get in there and drop their helmets and start bareknuckle punching each other in the face. It seems rather odd. And you can see why there are some fans in the States that have a tough time with that. They say 'I watch the NFL on Sundays and they hit hard, play hard, and pop up after hits and run back in the huddle'. That's part of the game.

Hockey has a different culture, of course. I think there are a lot of fans that don't care for the needless fighting. The staged "I'm supposed to fight, you're supposed to fight, so let's fight. We're not really mad at each other, but that's our job" type of thing. I tend to agree with (that).

I think the NHL (is) moving forward - whether it be a Steve Yzerman or various others - have come out and had significant stances (against fighting).

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Vancouver Canucks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: trevor+linden

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Can you imagine an NFL game where…

I don’t begrudge anyone who isn’t a fan of fighting, but this is such a BS argument.

Yes, the intensity of NFL football and NHL hockey is comparable, but the way they’re played isn’t comparable at all.

In a football game there is very intense play for a few seconds, then a break in the play that lasts 5-10x longer than the actual play.  And that happens with every single down.

And even then, tempers flare occasionally.

Hell, tempers flare in the NBA, a league in which you can regularly get in trouble for waving your hand in front of an opposing player’s face.

Tempers flare in baseball, in which the pitcher and hitter stand 60 feet, 6 inches away from one another.

If hockey had plays that lasted 10 seconds followed by a minute of lazily skating around there would likely be less fighting too.  But since the flow of a hockey game is completely different from the flow of an NFL game, there really is no comparison.

Yes, staged fighting is stupid and annoying and unnecessary, but why do people insist on pretending that, just because football and hockey are intense, there is any real comparison between the two.

 

Posted by Garth on 07/30/14 at 11:57 AM ET

SnLO's avatar

I don’t think staged fighting and fighting because someone takes exception to a legal hit (see an NFL game where a linebacker puts a good lick on a running back and the linemen get in there and drop their helmets and start bareknuckle punching each other) have a place in the game. Fighting has a place to punish the dirty cheap shot player. Usually the intensity builds in the game and comes to a head where someone decides enough is enough and battles the dirty player. The NHL is trying to regulate fighting out of the game by over punishing fighting and taking discretion away from the officials by taking grey area out of penalties. The problem is there are too many penalties to call in a game so the refs don’t / can’t call them all because no one wants to go watch three hours of power play / penalty kill (the Ducks have proven that system of they can’t call them all works). So the rats get to continue their dirty play with little chance of repercussion because the heavy deterrence to fighting.

I also agree with Garth on 07/30/14 at 11:57 AM ET, this is an apples and oranges argument by Thomas Drance.

Posted by SnLO from beyond the M-1 on 07/30/14 at 12:20 PM ET

Hank1974's avatar

I think ti’s an equal comparison.
In hockey, how long does a ‘scrum’ last? Maybe 5-10 seconds? Then you’re back up the ice, or changing on the fly.

It’s definitely a cultural thing.
In a football pile-up, or on the line, there is constant cheapshots. Guys are getting poked in the eye, punched in the groin, punched in the ribs, lime rubbed in the eye. Even pinching and biting.
Yet none of these guys throw down. Why? Because the league has strict rules against.
You don’t think an NFL fight would help players cool-down or vent frustrations?
Of course it would. Just like it would in the real world.
Should it happen though? No.
But in the NFL and NBA, throwing temper tantrums won’t be tolerated.

In the NHL, it’s not only allowed, it’s encouraged.
Losing on the scoreboard with 10s left? Start a fight.
Someone delivered a big clean hit? Start a fight.
Things not going your way? Start a fight.

The NHL is all about acting like a child and having temper tantrums. Scream at the refs, scream at your opposition, scream at anyone in ear shot if things don’t go your way.

The NHL doesn’t need fighting to keep it’s players safer. Matt Cooke is the ultimate example of how fighting doesn’t deter rat-like behavior. It wasn’t his tilt with Shawn Thornton that stopped him from being a douche. It was a 17-game suspension.
And the Olympics and playoff hockey have shown that you can have awesome hockey without fisticuffs.

Don’t get me wrong. I like a good dust-up when the setting is right.
But I’ve yet to hear any facts that back up the claim that fighting is necessary to prevent injury or help make the game better.
The only thing fighting is good for is entertainment. It has zero value in terms of wins and losses or upholding safety.

Posted by Hank1974 on 07/30/14 at 03:48 PM ET

SnLO's avatar

I also agree with Garth on 07/30/14 at 11:57 AM ET, this is an apples and oranges argument by Thomas Drance
I should have written Trevor Linden. But with that in consideration, hard for me to make my apples / oranges thought.

In the NHL, it’s not only allowed, it’s encouraged.
Losing on the scoreboard with 10s left? Start a fight.
Someone delivered a big clean hit? Start a fight.
Things not going your way? Start a fight.
The NHL is all about acting like a child and having temper tantrums.

Posted by Hank1974 on 07/30/14 at 03:48 PM ET

That’s funny. Nicely put. Add in the fact that hockey culture is heavy with machismo, you get the ultimate display of being a “man”. But that is part of the package of what they are paid to do as professional hockey players, no?

Posted by SnLO from beyond the M-1 on 07/30/14 at 04:23 PM ET

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In hockey, how long does a ‘scrum’ last? Maybe 5-10 seconds?  Then you’re back up the ice, or changing on the fly.

I’m not sure what the comparison is. 

In hockey you have the play going back and forth, the puck -and the focus of the play- going north, south, east and west.  There is a prolonged intensity to hockey play that simply is not there in football because the entirety of the play is over in seconds.

In hockey a single shift lasts multiple times longer than most football plays.

The prolonged intensity and flow of an NHL game has almost no comparison with an NHL game.

In a football pile-up, or on the line, there is constant cheapshots. Guys are getting poked in the eye, punched in the groin, punched in the ribs, lime rubbed in the eye.

In regular hockey play -not some big pileup- you get hooked, hacked, slashed, cross-checked in the back, arms, chest and face, tripped, elbowed and hit from behind by guys carrying weapons.

The NHL doesn’t need fighting to keep it’s players safer.

Not sure what this has to do with anything.

Again, I’ll 100% agree that staged fighting has no place in the game and that retaliation after a clean hit needs to be removed, but fighting in hockey isn’t just a thing that someone decided to add to make it more excited, it’s something that came as a result of the physical intensity of the game.

Posted by Garth on 07/30/14 at 05:00 PM ET

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“Fighting has a place to punish the dirty cheap shot player” I hate this line of reasoning.  When was the last time a dirty player like Marchand or Cooke etc. had to fight? Occasionally, after they’ve been suspended, they’ve been forced to answer the bell but it’s certainly not a deterrent before the cheap shot. And they usually turtle anyway.
NHL history is full of dirty stick swinging little guys that have never for a second been slowed down by the “enforcers”. Time to end the charade and suspend any fighting whatsoever.
Also, how can you have a checking to the head rule punishable by suspension but then allow a guy to bare knuckle brawl? Makes no sense.

Posted by vansteve on 07/30/14 at 06:48 PM ET

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