Sunday, March 25, 2007

To Fight or Not to Fight: That is the Question

Fighting has become an issue. Following Fedorak getting KO'd last Wednesday and having to be taken off the ice on a stretcher, the issue of whether fighting has a place in the NHL has been renewed. Colin Campbell, idiot extraordinaire, has decided it's time to question the role of fighting. Even more shocking, MacT has agreed with him.

Actually, it was NHL disciplinarian Colin Campbell who first dropped the gloves by suggesting it might be time to at least ask the question: do we still need bare-knuckle bouts in hockey?

Edmonton Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish yesterday agreed, and good for him.
The fear is players are bigger and stronger and better trained as fighters these days, making a toe-to-toe scrap more dangerous than it's ever been.

I'm not sure if MacT only agrees that it should be addressed or if he truly believes fighting should be removed from hockey. I'd be quite disappointed with him if it's the latter.

"He was bang on," said MacTavish of Campbell's comments about questioning fighting in hockey. "A guy in his position has to ask the question. I know we were all watching it live and it was a pretty ugly situation. It left a knot in all of our stomachs just watching it."

I love Don Cherry's response to all this and, in particular, Colin Campbell's assertion that the players are bigger today.

Does anyone except the liberal media want fighting removed from hockey? Majority of players and fans want to keep it. Isn't that all who matters? The NHL needs to quit screwing around with the game. I've had to endure the addition of the embarrassing shootout, but please, stop it.

I agree with Brian Burke, just because one player ends up on a stretcher, a debate should not be triggered. Fighting has already been reduced and it's a shell of what it used to be. I'd like to see it bulked up to be honest. Get rid of the instigator rule for starters. It's not just fighting that has been reduced, it's the hitting. While I enjoy the skilled play, I miss the physical part of the game.

Oh and the Oilers lost again last night, shut out once again. Ales Hemsky returned on Friday but did not play last night. What a difference between the two games. Hemsky is the catalyst. His return on Friday was absolute magic. While the boys still played a respectable game early on last night before going down 4-0, Hemsky was sorely missed.

We have also seen the return of Tom Gilbert, a defenseman who is going to make the team next year. I'd be surprised if he didn't. I would love to see Greene shipped out of town. I'm not sure that will happen, because MacT has an inexplicable hard-on for him.

Our defense for next year will have Smith, Staios, and Smid for sure. Hedja is a possibility as is Gilbert. I'm assuming a trade/free agent signing will bring in someone to play on the top defense pairing. That's 6 players, and Greene could be the 7th guy (or trade him and add Roy as the 7th). Greene's minus rating (third worst) and penalty minutes (leads the team) would not be missed.

So the Oilers will head out on a season-ending six game road trip. Will they win again? That is THE question.


the weaz said...

Fighting is a tough thing to really regulate. How can you draw a line that defines "this is ok but this is not". Taking fighting out of the game would suck more than the rediculous shoot-out.

I do agree though, the subject needs, at the very least, to be looked at. I think taking malicious hits and cheap plays out of the game have a higher importance than fighting. Knee on knees, hits with the intent to injure, stick attacks, etc all need to removed from the game firts and foremost.

Kyle said...

Funny enough, Bettman came out and said they wouldn't take fighitng out of the game. I guess he thinks we'd crucify him (and he'd be right.)

As someone who watches MMA regularly, I think getting glass jawed isn't the worst thing that could happen. Sometimes getting knocked out right away is better than getting your brain shook for 2 minutes straight.

Scarlett said...

Yeah that was interesting Bettman coming out and stopping the uproar. Campbell, you'd better talk to the boss before you speak next time. Too funny!!!

Kyle said...

Ron McLean had a good interview with Cambpell on Hockey Night, did you catch it?

LittleFury said...

If the NHL cracked down on fighting, that wouldn't eliminate fighting from hockey. There'd still be fights, the punishment would just be steeper.

I had a big debate over at the HFBoards about fighting and it seems that it's primarily a question of esthetics: some people like fighting, some don't. The question thus becomes one of cost/benefit. Would you attract more fans by cracking down on fighting and softening the game's violent image than you would lose? If the answer is yes, then I think the league should crack down on fighting.

Does anyone except the liberal media want fighting removed from hockey? Majority of players and fans want to keep it.


Scarlett said...

Grapes said it. He didn't say where he got the info, but I'm sure it's legit.

As for attracting more fans, softening the game won't work. It has to do with the NHL not being able to market itself properly. They keep trying to sell the "skill" over the "physical" aspect of the game to the American market. You can't separate them. And if Americans go crazy for football, boxing, etc, they they would go crazy for hockey. The liberal media blows everything out of proportion. Sure, bad things happen but you have to agree that the media, which is decidedly to the left, plays a large factor in tarnishing the reputation of the NHL. They make hockey sound like goons on ice and that is definitely not the case. When people actually go to games, they see the great plays and hits, and maybe a fight. They love it. Bettman needs to have a chat with the media. They need to work together to grow the game down south.

Kyle, I actually missed his interview. Did Ron go after him or agree with him?

LittleFury said...

Grapes said it. He didn't say where he got the info, but I'm sure it's legit.

If it's Grapes, I doubt it.

They make hockey sound like goons on ice and that is definitely not the case.

A good way to counter the perception that the NHL is goons on ice is to not allow the goons on the ice. Hockey is a fast-paced, physical sport: that's it's appeal, that's what they should sell. It's extremely puzzling, then, why the league allows games to abruptly grind to a halt so that two gorillas can engage in a premeditated wresting match that, more often than not, has little or no bearing on the game itself.

Kyle said...

Scarlett, this is very wierd, I thought I replied already but I guess not.

Ron went after Colin big time and tried to get Colin's actual opinion on the whole thing. Ron kept asking 'well what do you think' and Campbell kept replying 'I think we should talk about it.' Eventually he confessed he thought it should stay a part of the game.

Then Don got mad at Ron on Coach's Corner because they're both friends with Colin which was funny in itself.

Kyle said...

So Scarlett,
On your way to Calgary yet?

Scarlett said...

No, not going but will be cheering big time for the Oilers tonight! And for the Habs!