Kukla's Korner Hockey
Entries with the tag: fighting
Between TSN's Darren Dreger's "Dreger Report" entry about the Flames' mandating of shot-blocking "skate fenders," ESPN's Pierre LeBrun's "Rumblings" and an as-yet-un-captioned TSN's Insider Trading segment featuring both Dreger and LeBrun, rule change chatter and trade talk are both heating up ahead of next Tuesday's GM's meetings.
In his "Rumblings" article, LeBrun discusses the hot-button issues of goalie and "staged" fights...
I think the theme of the fighting discussion next week, if it is indeed held, will be along the lines of continuing to find ways to minimize some aspects of fighting in the game, just like the NHL's implementing the helmet rule this season in which fighters have to keep their lids on or else get an extra penalty for fighting without it. Calm down, fighting fans, the idea is not to completely ban fighting, but rather to get rid of some of the elements hockey people no longer want.
For example, Gabriel Landeskog's fight with Alex Chiasson last Friday night is what people still want to see: an emotional fight between two good hockey players that most hockey people feel strongly still has an important place in the game. But having two enforcers go at it in a staged fight? That has grown stale for many people.
One idea that could come up next week is the current rule that stipulates three fighting majors and you’re thrown out of the game; why not make it two fighting majors and you’re out, instead?
LeBrun outlines a few more points of emphasis for the GM's meetings...
USA Today engaged in an intriguing exercise this morning, having Calgary Flames president Brian Burke pen a "guest column" in support of fighting, USA Hockey's Michael J. Stuart and the Mayo Clinic's David W. Dodick and Aynsley M. Smith pen a guest column aruging for the abolishment of fighting in hockey, and USA Today's Kevin Allen speaking with NBC Sports' Keith Jones, NHLPA special assistant to the executive director Mathieu Schneider and one former Red Wings scrapper Darren McCarty about the fact that fighting's dropped by about 20% this season:
"There are fewer heavyweights now and fewer guys willing to fight, and it just seems like fighting isn't used as a deterrent the same way it was in the past," retired NHL tough guy Darren McCarty said.
A rule was introduced this season mandating visor use for all new players entering the NHL. Plus, players receive an additional penalty if they take their helmets off to fight. That rule was designed to protect players' heads if they fell during a fight.
"It's more inconvenient now, and I wonder if that has had an effect on it," said former NHL player Keith Jones, now an NBC analyst. "Now a little more thought process has to go into it, rather than the quick reaction."
The CBC's Elliotte Friedman's graced our Monday evening with a "30 Thoughts" column. He begins with the P's and Q's of a shootout spin-o-rama (see: Mason Raymond) vs. ettiquette (If you "snow" a goalie, should that be a penalty? And the Globe and Mail offers a superb visual explanation of what constitutes an "illegal" shootout move), and he continues from there.
Among his thoughts:
1. Looked a little bit into Ken Holland's overtime suggestion: four minutes of four-on-four, followed by four minutes of three-on-three if still tied. Then a shootout if necessary. I love the idea, which was tried at the Traverse City rookie tournament the Red Wings host. One of the reasons against it is the league doesn't want longer games.
From Nancy Armour at Forbes.com:
It was an on-ice code of justice, and it’s proven so effective over the years that players like Probert, McCarty and Derek Boogaard built careers dishing out punishing hits.
But Boogaard’s sudden death Friday five months after a season-ending concussion, and his family’s decision to donate his brain to the Boston University project that found Probert had signs of brain trauma resulting from blows to the head, is bringing added scrutiny to fighting’s place in the NHL.
“I think the league does a good job. They’re trying to limit head shots,” Tampa Bay Lightning center Nate Thompson said Monday. “I don’t think they can (ban fighting entirely). That’s part of the game. It’s a physical sport and it always has been. If they take that out of the game that takes a part of the history out of the game.”
Like football, hockey is a game of controlled violence.
From the Sporting News:
Philadelphia Flyers exec Bob Clarke is taking issue with the NHL’s methods for preventing concussions and reducing injuries. Clarke, notorious as a player in his team’s “Broad Street Bullies” heyday of the 1970s, favors a less subtle approach: increasing fighting to punish the offenders.
Clarke would prefer the league allow modern-day equivalents of former teammates Dave “The Hammer” Schultz, Bob “Battleship” Kelly and other notorious pugilists to police the game rather than give players who injure others a slap on the wrist with suspensions and fines.
“These players now have no fear of what they do on the ice, because their opponents can’t get even,” Clarke said, according to PhillyBurbs.com.
Clarke blames NHL disciplinarian Colin Campbell. “Campbell is the judge, jury and executioner,” Clarke said. “And it’s not working. It’s a total failure what Colie is trying to do.
The Chicago Blackhawks are awaiting word from the NHL on whether rookie forward Kris Versteeg will be suspended for one game and head coach Joel Quenneville fined $10,000 for Versteeg being assessed an instigator penalty in the final seconds of last night’s 7-1 win over Phoenix.
NHL rules call for an automatic one-game suspension for the player and a $10,000 fine to his coach for any player who instigates a fight in the final five minutes of a game, but the league reviews each one case-by-case and, in some instances, rescinds the suspension and fine.
Update 3:52pm ET: From TSN, Versteeg suspended one game and Quenneville fined $10,000.
Here’s the video clip, via HockeyFights.com:
From Ron Spence at Crashing the Goalie,
What’s he learned the most about fighting in the NHL?
“The most important thing is to know what kind of fighter you’re fighting. It’s a good thing to know before you fight, if he likes to fight in tight, if he’s a righty, lefty, or both….”
So, he’s a student of the hockey fighters?
“Oh yeah, you get to know the people,” he nods. “You know when I watch for a couple of minutes, you get to know how they fight.”
From Emily Weirenga at Christianity.ca:
Off-ice, however, his fists unfolded into helping hands. Grimson was known for devoting countless hours to charitable causes including work with the American Cancer Society, the Canadian and American Spinal Research Organization and local hospitals.
“Most people are kind of stunned when they realize what kind of person I’m like off the ice,” Grimson says with a laugh. “That’s true of most guys who play my position in the NHL; most of them are easy to get along with and soft-spoken.”
read on for more on Grimson’s spiritual and family life.
Or you could just watch the highlight reel below for a whole other point of view…
From the Canadian Press,
Several NHLers consider Laraque the league’s top heavyweight and make sure to give the six-foot-three, 245-pounder ample space.
“He’s probably the toughest in the league,” says Ottawa Senators enforcer Chris Neil. “He’s strong, he’s powerful. It’s one of those things where you watch his fights, meanwhile, when he’s out there on the ice, he’s coming after you, so you’ve got to be aware.”
Calgary Flames captain Jarome Iginla, no stranger to the rough stuff, agrees.
“I wouldn’t want to get caught in a line brawl with him,” he says with a smile.
From the Canadian Press:
A former NHL enforcer is expected to find out Friday whether he’ll be jailed in connection with a brawl outside a southern Ontario hotel in 2006 that resulted in him being Tasered three times and pepper sprayed.
Ryan VandenBussche faces three charges of assaulting police and one charge of uttering a death threat.
His lawyer claimed he could not be held responsible for his actions because of a head injury that legally rendered him a “non-insane automaton.”
The verdict will be made public shortly and we’ll add it to this post.
Update 2:34pm ET: The charges against VandenBussche have been dismissed.
Below is a video compilation of some of VandenBussche’s work.
The Ruhr Economic Paper, Blood Money: Incentives for Violence in Hockey [PDF] caught my attention yesterday. A sample of the paper’s abstract will give you an idea of the thesis:
Using publicly available information from several databases 1996–2007, the incentives for violence in North American ice hockey are analyzed. We examine the role of penalty minutes and more specifically, fighting, during the regular season in determining wages for professional hockey players and team-level success indicators. There are substantial returns paid not only to goal scoring skills but also to fighting ability, helping teams move higher in the playoffs and showing up as positive wage premia for otherwise observed low-skill wing players.
Worth a read if you’re interested in an economic and academic perspective on fighting in the NHL.
Sidenote: Whatever you might think of fighting in hockey, there are worse things in the world of sport, I figure. For instance, at no time in NHL history has anyone ever been suspended for beating their opponent with a kitchen ladle...
Update 10:46pm ET: Lena Sin at The Province provides more info on the article noted above.
From Mark Spector at the National Post,
“Being a fourth-line player, let’s face it, I didn’t get a lot of ice time. I basically did a job where I knew I was a small piece of a team,” [Dave] Brown said. “I saw all the other pieces around me—skill guys, checkers, goalies, defencemen, penalty killers, power-play guys—and I was basically looking at them from the bottom up. I saw a lot of things from the bench, watching.
“I probably had a 13-year apprenticeship as a scout when I was sitting on the end of bench.”
And when he left the ice, he did so with the respect of many. Even Stu Grimson, whose career Brown nearly ended one night in Calgary in a hellacious rematch, after Grimson had beaten Brown in a fight in Edmonton two nights before.
“I always tell people, beating Dave Brown the first time I fought him was both the single greatest achievement of my career, and the single biggest mistake,” Grimson said yesterday. “He’s a good guy, a hard worker, and has a real humble disposition. A good man.”
more… on “The Toughest Flyer”
From Pierre LeBrun at Sportsnet,
Fighting used to be ingrained in hockey culture. These days, however, there seems to be more taste for a kinder, cuddlier game. So is it time for fighting to go?
I can only shake my head at the attention the Jonathan Roy story has received in this country this week.
When did the tree huggers take over this bloody country? When did we all become such bleeding hearts that a junior hockey brawl shocked our collective senses so badly we became outraged?
Update 2:38pm ET: Gare Joyce at ESPN addresses how Patrick Roy’s situation may ultimately affect his legacy with the Montreal Canadiens.
From Jeff Marek at CBC,
Well, by now we’ve all seen the video of Patrick Roy’s son Jonathan attacking Chicoutimi netminder Bobby Nadeau. If you haven’t seen the clip yet, have a look. QMJHL commissioner Gilles Courteau will rule on the incident sometime Tuesday.
We all have our opinion on the incident itself. It appears that Patrick Roy motioned to his son to skate down the ice and attack the other goalie, who wanted no part of the encounter as is evidenced by the video.
I can never condone that.
more… plus Marek’s thoughts on Patrick Roy’s future as an NHL coach, perhaps of the Avalanche
From Jim Souhan at the Star Tribune,
The NHL is about dumping the puck, taking the opponents’ stars out of the game, working a defensive system and waiting for a mistake that will create a scoring chance. If NFL coaches thought like NHL coaches, every team would punt on first down.
Take the Wild—please. They’re not just slumping—they’re boring. Because of the Wild’s style and the NHL’s emphasis on defensive systems, Marian Gaborik spends most of the game looking like a guy waiting for a bus.
Don’t repeat the popular argument that he needs to work harder, needs to be more of a two-way player, blah, blah, blah. Gaborik is a scorer. When he scores, the Wild almost always wins. Ergo: Gaborik should spend his ice time trying to score.
That would be good for the fans, the team, the league. Instead, we get to hear Jacques Lemaire chide him about defensive responsibility.
From Jeff Marek at CBC,
If you ever find yourself in a disagreement over hockey fights with someone make sure the first question out of your mouth is “if they took fighting out of the game, would you start to buy tickets?” If the answer is “no,” then the argument is over, walk away. Those are people that some in the NHL can reach and become the “new” hockey fan, I personally believe quite the opposite is true.
In the league’s quest to grow the sport and reach out and absorb more fans, they have also run the risk of alienating the ones who are paying the freight and keeping the lights on now. Thankfully the NHL has taken the right approach to fighting and quietly let it exist. Of course, there is the not-so-little issue of the instigator penalty, but that’s for another day.
more… including video links to a number of fights referenced
From the Boston Bruins,
“You know, re-breaking your nose—I broke it again back in Florida—the last thing you want to do is get in a fight with a broken nose,” said Lucic, laughing at the incredulity of the action. “It’s probably the most fragile thing, even when it’s healthy.
In fact, earlier on the night, Lucic begged off an encounter with Pittsburgh’s noted heavyweight, and Sidney Crosby’s bodyguard, Georges Laraque.
“He felt I was running around,” said Lucic, in reference to his noticeable physical play throughout the evening. “I said, ‘No thanks. I’ve got a broken nose and I need to stay away from this one.’”
But he didn’t stay away from the next one. Milan Lucic and Jarkko Ruutu go for it—video from the Bruins below…
From Marcie Garcia at NHL.com,
Four years later, Laraque credits yoga for sharpening his competitive edge against the younger, bigger foes trying to make a heavyweight name for themselves in the NHL.
“Most guys that fight use the weights, weights, and weights, and they’re so big in their bodies that the muscle doesn’t matter,” Laraque said. “Yoga helps your core strength and that is way better than weights. I’m not the strongest guy weight-wise with enforcers in the NHL, but I’m strong, but not because I bench press six plates. If you do yoga, you don’t need to do weights that much because it’s like a weight exercise, but instead of using weights, you’re using your body.”
From The Rangers Report,
If I hadn’t seen Sean Avery and Marek Malik throwing punches at one another during practice today, I wouldn’t have believed it.
But what had been a mere one-on-one battle during drills today quickly escalated into shoves and then an all-out fight between the 6-foot-6 Malik and the 5-10 Avery, lasting maybe 30 seconds before it eventually ended. For those scoring at home, we’ll call it Malik by TKO.
Words were exchanged after that. At one point, Avery could be heard saying, “What are you,a tough guy? Why don’t you play like that in a game?”
*hat-tip to HockeyFights.com for the link
From Darren Eliot at SI,
The puck-optional pursuit of punishing checks by these kind of players is the bane of the league because the notion of self-policing always enters the discussion when talk turns to repealing the instigator rule. The theory goes that if players weren’t fearful of getting the extra two-minutes for instigating a fight, Ruutu and Hollweg and players of that ilk would cease and desist if they knew they were going to be on the painful end of a pounding. I’m not so sure. Simon’s attacks didn’t back either guy off and what else can they do? They’re both one-dimensional in their play as well as the exception rather than the rule among NHL players.
No, allowing the instigation of fights because of the acts of a couple of wanton repeat offenders isn’t the answer. Stern suspensions will suffice. The longer the stretches that the league keeps these two thugs off the ice, the better.
With All-Star weekend upon us, we here at hockeyfights.com thought it would be pretty sweet if we took a glance at some of the notable scraps this seasons’s participants have been in. We know that not every All-Star has been in a fight over the course of their career so we’ve done our homework and singled out the players that have received a fighting major.
Today we take a look at some of those representing the Western Conference. Each player is listed in alphabetical order.
check it out… with links to video of their All Star Scraps. The Eastern Conference will be posted Sunday.
From the CP:
Oshawa Generals defenceman James DeLory has been suspended eight games for his spear on Sarnia Sting star Steven Stamkos. He’s among seven players and coaches who will miss a total of 23 games for an ugly Ontario Hockey League brawl that followed Oshawa’s 4-3 win last Sunday.
DeLory, 19, touched off the brawl by spearing Stamkos, the 17-year-old forward projected to be the first pick in this summer’s NHL draft.
Here’s the brawl that started it all:
Here’s the footage of Sidney Crosby’s fight with Andrew Ference tonight. It’s a Gordie Howe Hat Trick for the illustrious Penguin. From HockeyFights.com:
An assistant coach has been suspended three years for his involvement in a bench-clearing hockey brawl between two teams of eight-year-old players.
Randy Brant of the Niagara Falls Thunder will not be allowed to coach or be involved in minor hockey in any way after leaving the bench during the melee in a tournament in Guelph, Ont., on Nov. 23.
The suspension was handed down by the Ontario Minor Hockey Association over the weekend.
from the Patroit Ledger,
With the exception of the Philadelphia Flyers, who seem to act upon the belief that anything goes at any and all times, professional hockey is generally self-governed by the theory that there’s a time and a place for almost everything.
Boston’s Jeremy Reich has proved expert at navigating the gray area.
When it’s time to forecheck, backcheck, hit, even kill the occasional penalty, Reich does. When he senses it’s time for something more, Reich will fight. When he knows he should keep his gloves on, he will - even when he’d rather not.
No criminal charges will be laid against adult hockey coaches for allegedly assaulting each other during a brawl that also involved eight-year-old players in Guelph, Ont., police say.
Police said Thursday they came to the decision not to lay charges after speaking to witnesses, investigating the case and reviewing a videotape of the fracas.
More about this here on KK several days ago. Watch the just released video below…
From the Canadian Press, more information on the Triple-A hockey brawl involving 8-year-old players last weekend:
A video recording of the fight was being reviewed by police, who are expected to decide as early as Wednesday whether to lay criminal charges amid allegations that one of the adult coaches spit in the face of his cross-ice counterpart.
Police are alleging that when a small fight broke out between players on the ice, both coaches sent in more players from the bench to join in.
The Ontario Minor Hockey Association began its own investigation and was being assisted by the Niagara Falls Minor Hockey Association and the Greater Toronto Hockey League.
“Which group was the first to act, (and) which was the next to react, doesn’t make any difference,” said GTHL president John Gardner. “For adults to get into a situation like this . . . it’s not good for hockey and we’re not going to tolerate it.”
from the Courier-Post,
Tonight at the Wachovia Center, Jones is likely to be the topic of conversation on the Bruins bench when they take the ice against the Flyers for the first time since the hit that jeopardized Bergeron’s season.
“I knew the time was going to come,” Jones said when asked about possible retribution. “I’m not worried about it.”...
Flyers coach John Stevens said he is not sure what to expect when the Bruins and Flyers take the ice tonight, but he probably won’t take any chances.
Enforcers Riley Cote and Ben Eager are expected to be in the lineup.
via the Calgary Flames,
Avalanche tough guy Scott Parker went out in the second period to do his thing—stir it up. He got it when he cross-checked Dion Phaneuf in the throat and then jabbed his stick at Phaneuf while he was on the ice.
In comes Eric Godard for the anticipated heavyweight bout, in which Parker gets the upper hand. Problem for Parker is he took a major for the crosscheck so it didn’t help his team in the power play department.
Word out of Denver was that Parker could face further discipline under the intent to injure rule for his crosscheck on Phaneuf.
The Flames also received the news that Godard would be suspended for two games because he received his third instigator penalty of the season.
Coincidentally, all three players were involved in a pushing and shoving session during the warm-up.
from the Arizona Republic,
When Coyotes radio analyst Louie DeBrusk talks about a fight, it’s likely that he imagines himself back on the ice pounding on somebody.
DeBrusk’s 11-year NHL career, including three with the Coyotes, encompassed only 401 games, but he made his presence felt with 1,161 penalty minutes. From the time he had his first fight as a 14-year-old in juniors, the adrenalin rush is something that has never left him. He always knew his role in the league.
“I wouldn’t want to rate myself (as a player) because I’d definitely rake myself over the coals,” he said. “I think I was just a hard-working guy, went up and down, banged bodies, dropped the gloves on a fairly regular basis throughout my career….”
from Dave Stubbs of the Montreal Gazette,
Chara said the Canadiens started all the nonsense on the ice, but were unwilling to finish it, and that what goes around, comes around, etc.
(The two teams meet next on Dec. 6 in Boston.)
Carbonneau was buying none of that, with these illustrations:
Ten minutes into the third period, Bruins’ Jeremy Reich, who’d played not enough this game to work up a sweat, ran Canadiens goalie Carey Price;
Less than a minute later, Bruins defenceman Mark Stuart pummelled a why-me? Andrei Kostitsyn.
Filed in: NHL Teams, Boston Bruins, Montreal Canadiens, | KK Hockey | Permalink
Tags: andrei+kostitsyn, boston+bruins, carey+price, fighting, jeremy+reich, mark+stuart, montreal+canadiens, zdeno+chara
from the Columbus Dispatch,
What was Blue Jackets coach Ken Hitchcock thinking when he saw his best player dropping the gloves with a notorious knucklehead?
“I hope he doesn’t hurt his hand,” Hitchcock said.
And what was Nash thinking?
“It’s part of the game,” Nash said. “He (Vandermeer) threw a couple of cheap shots during the game, a couple of cross-checks. We fought. No big deal. Boller (Jared Boll) and Shell (Jody Shelley) fight all the time.”
from the CP,
The NHL handed out 230 fighting majors through Sunday (201 games), up from 167 through the same number of games last year. All around the league, tough guys are taking names and leaving lumps.
The surge in fisticuffs early this season flies into the face of what had been happening. Fights have steadily gone down the last few years, especially after the lockout. In fact, this year’s pace is still behind the pre-lockout numbers. There were 299 fighting majors handed out in 2003-04 through the same number of games.
But the numbers are back up this season.
from Hockey Adventure,
...While your typical NHL enforcer wouldn’t take kindly to being dubbed a Twinkie, what he offers with his fisticuffs is a cheap, junk food-like substitute for the satisfaction of skill-based hockey.
Is fighting popular? Does it sell? Sure. Just like 500 million Twinkies are sold each year. So what? That doesn’t mean it’s good for the consumer.
If the hockey you dish up is of high enough quality in the first place, nobody cares if there’s no fighting.
thanks to a KK member for the pointer…
From Ken Warren at The Ottawa Citizen,
On Thursday night against the Atlanta Thrashers, Ottawa Senators right-winger Chris Neil crossed the fine line he skates as a member of the NHL’s agitator/enforcer class.
It wasn’t the first time, it won’t be the last and, even though Neil was widely criticized for showing off to the crowd while fighting the Thrashers’ Eric Boulton in the second period and for taking a double minor penalty late in the third period, during which Atlanta scored twice—he says he won’t change how he plays the game.
“I’m here, I’m a motivator,” said Neil, taking issue with observers who claimed his WWE-style antics in waving to the crowd during the fight had no place in the game and served to inspire the Thrashers. “I get the fans going and that’s part of my job. That’s a trait I do (during) fights at home games. I don’t do it on the road. It’s for our fans. We don’t sell tickets on the road. We sell them at home.”
From the AP via Sports Illustrated,
Dave Schultz was known as “The Hammer,’’ a nickname earned with a ready to rumble style of play that satisfied the bloodlust of NHL fans who paid to see an old-fashioned brawl.
He dropped his gloves, busted and bloodied some chops, absorbed his own share of jabs and could have written a mortgage check to the league for all the minutes the Philadelphia Flyer spent in the penalty box. One thing the enforcer of the 1970s-era Broad Street Bullies never did was put another player on a stretcher.
“Oh my God, no. Never,’’ Schultz said. “We didn’t really hurt anybody. The only time you could hurt anybody was with your stick.’‘
From Len Ziehm at the Chicago Sun-Times,
Fights in his last two games left Koci with a broken nose and a deep gash between the eyes that required 10 stitches. He clearly was beaten by the Boston Bruins’ Zdeno Chara on Thursday, but he insists he won’t be afraid to fight him again. He’ll just change his style.
‘‘Usually I’m a more defensive fighter, but my last two fights I tried to kill the guys,’’ Koci said. ‘‘I got confidence from my first couple fights, and I tried to be more aggressive. That’s not the way I usually fight, and that’s why I got hurt. You learn from your mistakes.’‘
Koci was the first opponent to take on Chara since he joined the Bruins more than a year ago.
From Jeffrey Flanagan at the Kansas City Star,
If Kansas City does indeed ever land an NHL team, keep this in mind: The game has changed, and not necessarily for the better.
As enforcement of the instigator penalty has grown stricter in the NHL — the punishment is a minor penalty, a major penalty and a 10-minute misconduct — old-fashioned street brawls on the ice have all but vanished. And so has much of the game’s personality.
“Let’s face it: Fans do like to see the fighting,” said former Blades broadcaster Bob Kaser. “When you think about, what gets the crowd going more? Is it an end-to-end goal or is it seeing one of your team’s enforcers going at it with someone on the other team? It’s the fighting that gets the crowd on its feet in anticipation.
By popular request tonight, here’s the scrap in Boston featuring Zdeno Chara and David Koci. And while Koci’s face looks like he was in a car wreck after the fight, it’s worth remembering he only broke his nose a few nights ago fighting Wade Belak, so that might be the primary cause of the mess.
addd 8:38am Friday by Paul, The ESPN view of the fight…
from William Houston of the Globe and Mail,
Fisticuffs on the ice? Cut to a crowd shot.
The no-fighting on television rule is long gone, because today Hockey Night airs more highlight clips of fights than any comparable telecast.
To get an idea of how the show’s policy has evolved, or devolved, a good start is Ralph Mellanby’s new book, Walking With Legends….
According to Mellanby, the no-fighting rule was discontinued after Dan Kelly was hired as host of the Montreal broadcast in 1967. Kelly said he didn’t want to be associated with a show that wouldn’t air the fights.
The next year, fighting was shown, but replays were not, by edict of the sponsors, Molson and Imperial Oil.
From Michael Farber at Sports Illustrated,
Says Buffalo goalie Jocelyn Thibault, who played with Simon in Quebec, Colorado and Chicago, “Unbelievable guy [who’s] always been recognized as a straight shooter.” Says Montreal defenseman Roman Hamrlik, who knows Simon from Calgary, “He loves you, he kicks ass for you. Awesome. Best teammate I played with.” Says Toronto winger Jason Blake, who played on a line with Simon last season in New York, “Good teammate because he cared so much.”
Thus the case of one of the NHL’s most physical players raises some metaphysical questions: If Simon is so good, why does he do so many bad things? And if he does so many bad things, can he possibly be good?
from Ian Winwood at the Guardian Unlimited,
Let’s imagine that you’re an American family, off to enjoy an evening of sport. Better yet, let’s imagine you’re a Canadian family - much more poster friendly. “What do you fancy going to see tonight, eh?” asks Dad, from somewhere in the Toronto suburbs. “Wow, I know!” says Mom. “Let’s go and see the Maple Leafs play! They’re up against the Montreal Canadiens. We might get to see them beat someone half to death!” “By a man using his bare fists?” ask the kids. “You betcha!” answers Pop. “Yay!” they all yell. “Hooray!”
read on on why Ian wants to ban fighting…
from Darren Eliot of Sports Illustrated,
In days gone by, one team’s enforcer would engage the other team’s designated hitter and the code was to oblige. More and more though, the challenges that once meant an immediate throw-down now garner a dismissive shrug. So what’s a roughneck “role player” to do except try to redefine his role?
To that end, some have made the transition from baiter to skater and proved valuable forecheckers who can score a bit. Check out Chris Neil in Ottawa and Sean Avery in New York. Even Simon made the switch from puncher only to tough guy who could also take a regular shift.
Ilya Kovalchuk in a fight last night, coming to the defense of a teammate who he thought received a cheap shot.
from Two Minutes for Blogging,
We even sorted by weight class, which more so is based on fighting ability and who guys have danced with in the past. The designations are:
HW = Heavyweight CW = Cruiserweight MW = Middleweight
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
Minnesota Wild winger Derek Boogaard is out to inflict some pain, which is exactly what the six-foot-seven, 260-pounder did last year when he scored a hat-trick of sorts—knocking Oilers’ Ales Hemsky, Ladislav Smid and Marty Reasoner out of action for a spell.
All three were staggered by Boogaard hits—the Oilers would say with some malicious intent in the case of Hemsky—although Boogaard claims he was only out only to create mayhem and Hemsky got caught in his train tracks.
“Speaks to his effectiveness that we’re speaking about him right now,” said Oilers coach Craig MacTavish. “He hasn’t fought, either. You don’t want to play to his strengths, obviously. He’s a helluva fighter….”
From Jim Gintonio at the Arizona Republic,
Boogaard, the Minnesota Wild’s 6-foot-7, 258-pound enforcer, can rule through intimidation. It’s one reason that penalty minutes for players of his type usually decrease in the NHL from the staggering figures they compiled in the minors while trying to make names for themselves.
“The role is important,” said Shawn Thornton of the Boston Bruins. “I think it keeps people a little more honest. It’s just our job, and we know that, and it has to be done. It’s not that we have any disdain for each other.”
It can be a cat-and-mouse - make that a lion-and-rhino - game when two enforcers are on the ice.
from the Columbus Dispatch,
The Blue Jackets lost to the Carolina Hurricanes 2-1 in a nine-round shootout in front of 15,713 in the RBC Center. But, this being the exhibition season, the score is merely an aside.
“We’re going to be the toughest team in the league this year,” Fritsche said. “What this should tell everybody is that we’re not going to back down from anybody. If there’s an issue, our five guys are going to be right in the middle of it before their five guys are. That’s just the way it’s going to be.
“So, I’d say, yeah, we’re going to have a lot of nights like this.”
There were 39 penalties for 142 penalty minutes, including eight fighting majors, 12 roughing minors, three 10-minute misconducts and two game misconducts.
CanWest sports reporter Cory Wolfe gets personal with a sports figure. Today, NHL linesman Mike Cvik - all six foot nine of him - gets cornered.
CanWest: Describe a time when you got caught in the crossfire of a hockey fight.
Cvik: Well, Shawn Cronin jumped Ron Stern in Calgary and broke my nose.
I was trying to protect Stern. Cronin threw a punch across my shoulder and hit me. . . . I looked up and (former Calgary Flames trainer) Bearcat Murray was standing beside me. There was blood on my sweater. I looked at Stern and he wasn’t bleeding. Bearcat goes: “C’mon, kid. Your nose is broken. Let’s get out of here.”
from the Vancouver Province,
Rightly or wrongly, fighting remains with us. What the means for the league is a matter of some debate as it will continue to be a source of appeal to some and a source of revulsion to others.
“A good portion of teams will want to copy a team (Anaheim) that’s been successful,” Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault said. “But I’m not a believer in an enforcer who plays three or four shifts a game. I think you have to be able to play and I think we have guys on our team who can do that. That’s not an area I’m concerned about at all.”