Fight Thoughts

I’ve wondered off and on over the years about how I really feel about fighting, and I’m asking myself again with all the buzz about the George Parros incident. It seems I’ve always leaned towards fighting.

But I can’t stand the goon stuff. The guy who can only fight and not much more. And I’m not smart enough to figure out the staged stuff.

I just think that many who are now clamoring for a total ban on fighting didn’t mind at all seeing someone like Wendel Clark and Marty McSorley getting into a beauty. Or Larry Robinson teaching Dave Schultz a big lesson.

The Broad Street Bullies won two Stanley Cups through thuggery and scrapping with a serious amount of talent thrown in for good measure. But it was the Canadiens, who played the non-mugging kind of game, who put a stop to the nonsense in Philadelphia. Great hockey trumped fighting. And a good Larry Robinson fist to Dave Schultz’s face.

That was some serious goon stuff the Bullies were dishing out back then. And it went on every night in the WHA too. I think both have played a major role in the evolution of goonery.

Remember those sensational games in the 1987 Canada Cup when Canada and Russia met in the finals and Wayne Gretzky set up Mario Lemieux for the winner in game three with less than two minutes to go? There was no heavyweight goon on either team. No staged fights. But that wasn’t real life. It was a much anticipated Canada-Russia match up when the rivalry had meat on its bones.

But if the rules would’ve allowed, maybe a good tussle between Rick Tocchet and Sergei Svetlov would have added to the lore. And many who now say they want fighting out of the game might have whooped and hollered back then if some nastiness really had cropped up.

I don’t think fighting will ever end, even if someone dies from it. But somehow it has to be curbed and the only good solution I’ve heard so far is from Bob McCown on Prime Time Sports who suggested the NHL make it so goons must be paid the league maximum, which is about $12 million or so a year. How many teams would carry one then?

The sight of George Parros trying to sit up with that concussed look on his face was disturbing to say the least. But George was hired to be the muscle, to add an element the Canadiens haven’t had and were going nowhere without, and it’s a tough job that can have some dark moments. I can’t imagine doing this job. I have a really sensitive nose.

I was happy to see George signed, and I just got finished saying we need goons out of the league. But if he could be a preventive measure, dropping them in only the truest of situations, without the staged stuff, and throwing in some hard work that results in a scoring chance now and again, then what’s wrong with that?

So is it fighting or no fighting that I want? I want the Wendel Clark, Larry Robinson, Clark Gillies kind of fights. No staged stuff. Just an honest disagreement now and again that helps our team win.

10 thoughts on “Fight Thoughts”

  1. In my mind, those three games to end the 1987 Canada Cup were the three greatest hockey games ever played, and yes, as you noted, not a single fight was needed or took place.

    I think that there is a certain segment of the general hockey fanbase (Helloooooooo, Flyers fans!) who would almost prefer fighting to goal-scoring. And, if you don’t agree with them, you’re a “wimp”, or a “soft European” (that term is a favourite of Flyers fans to describe ANYONE, be they European or not, who doesn’t like to fight), etc. Personally, I don’t need to see fights to enjoy a hockey game……..

  2. If the players union was serious about eliminating hockey from fighting I am sure they could force the owners into changing the rules to make it a reality. The upshot of this would be many players would suddenly become redundant because the only “skill” they bring to the game is the ability to pound the snot out of other players.

  3. Totally agree about getting the goon fights out of hockey….There is more talent in a high skill 15 yr old midget on a typical triple A team in Canada then Colton Orr and Parros combined. The fact they are taking a spot in the premier hockey league in the world is embarrassing……

    The fourth line is suppose to be the energy line NOT the fighting goon line…

    Tell me the purpose of a 6ft 8 in 260 lb John Scott on the Sabres other than to be a hired thug for staged fights….

    Staged fights are like WWF wrestling…..simply sad for the game

  4. The video game NHL14 now has a new “Enforcer” feature.

    This allows people (including young kids) the ability to engage in a virtual hockey fight. It’s very graphic and even shows injuries. It probably reinforces the notion among youngsters that fighting is a normal part of hockey.

    The NHL certainly approved of this. So this says a lot on where the league stands on hockey and fighting.

    Here is the link

  5. Being a Hab fan and being on the short end of fights these past few years skews my thinking. I would love to see the Habs win a game and a fight once in a while. As a fan, I don’t think we have much of a voice. Our only voices are through the players union or through management. It is totally up to them so I think we’re just wasting time commenting whether we want fights or not. Maybe the commentators can help by reading our comments and learning something. On one side you have owners who know physicality sells tickets and Euro-hockey doesn’t. On the other side, you have drop out hockey players (and uneducated) who form the union relying on lawyers and consultants, to make informed decisions. The players want jobs and the owners provide them. You don’t tow the line, you get black balled. I was really disappointed when Parros went down. A scarey sight. Enough time wasted. I have a job to do and mine doesn’t involve concussions.

  6. My vote would be to start giving out misconduct penalties for the pushing, shoving and slashing that occur after every whistle. It’s from this that a lot of fight start.

    Football calls these altercations late hits and they trigger 15 yard penalties. Players don’t last too long on the roster if they take several of these. I don’t understand it but after being thrown to the ground a player will congratulate his opponent on the hit. Of course several of these same NFL players then go home and shoot someone, but at least there’s no violence on the field.

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