Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Thoughts From the Sin Bin: Hockey Fights

My opinion on fighting in hockey is quick and to the point: I'm all for it! However, the growing trend in the league of a guy jumping in for a teammate after he has been hit legally should, in my opinion, be at the top of the league's brass agenda of things to deal with and correct. See the video shown here for an example. Phaneuf nails Duck's forward Andrew Ebbett legally (his elbow was down folks!), and Pronger jumps in on Phaneuf immediately thereafter. I have seen this time and time again and it has to be taken more seriously by the league!

I just recently discovered a blog by Georges Laraque hosted on Sportsnet that unfortunately has since been discontinued due to a Canadiens' team policy. The Rock's Last Word is a lengthy but intriguing post on a unique perspective on hockey fighting from one of the, if not the, best enforcers in the league.

The article reminded when I met former NHLer Brant Myhres after a pre-season game with Edmonton in September '05. His eye was swollen shut (not sure where the guy got this pic) and I was after listening to the game on the radio on the Fan960, so I knew he was after being in a scrap with Laraque. I discussed the incident with him and he told about how it went down: "Being a long-shot at making the roster, I wanted to make my mark," Brant explained "Behind me I heard a voice say 'Hey, ya wanna go?'; I turned around and said to myself 'Oh f%^k!' and replied sure, why not". The result was quite obvious. Myres missed a lot of time that season, but did later play 34 games in the AHL, but never set foot on an NHL ice surface thereafter.

Laraques begins his post showing sympathy for the family of Don Sanderson who dies in from the tragic incident in December of last year after hitting his head on the ice during a hockey fight. He then sums up perfectly some sentiments that I found I share with Georges. He chimes in on some important debates that this incident brought forth. He goes on to talk about unwritten Code amongst hockey players, especially scrappers. He shares a couple of great stories about former heavyweight NHL champ, Dave Brown. Lastly, he talks of his opinion of the toughest guys in the league now, along with the toughest guy pound-for-pound. I see a book from him in the future when he retires!

The Hockey Spy
"Rarely imitated, never duplicated!"

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