Let’s get this straight right now. The NHL is a business where fighting should be welcomed. The NHL is not an elementary or high school where it’s run by principals who look down upon fighting. In school, you’re suspended for fighting, even if you are standing up for someone or something. The suspension varies based on that school’s guidelines.
In hockey, you’re encouraged to fight when things go against what you believe in. When you or your team feels bullied, you stand up for each other and drop the gloves. What I’m not understanding is why the in the hell people want fighting extinct from hockey.
It’s a subject that has been discussed by fans for a few years now ever since the game is evolving into a more skill driven game. The services of guys like former Penguins Georges Laraque and Aaron Asham, and current Penguin Tom Sestito, are hardly needed. Laraque and Asham were pretty much never going to generate any offensive scoring chances, much like Sestito. They were there when you played your biggest divisional rivals and they would shadow your best player waiting for someone to slip up and do something stupid to put your star player in jeopardy. From there, they probably just flat out kick their ass because it was their job.
Terrible, questionable hits are still a part of the game and forever will be. The sad part is, many teams don’t have guys who have fighting skill AND playing skill. So usually a player who throws out a nasty, uncalled for hit is gathered around by a crowd of players who scream in his face and are broken up by referees within thirty seconds. Because the referees are so off-the-wall these days with some of their calls, everyone is afraid to retaliate and take an unwarranted penalty that can cost their team a game.
That is not at all how hockey should be played.
Players are now taught to fear the referee giving them a stupid penalty more than they are to fear a guy like John Scott chasing after them ready to pound their face in with his fists. And it’s quite sad because with the game changing to skill, guys who have made their money off beating the crap out of people are out of jobs. Teams don’t want their services anymore.
When I’m talking about fights, I mean clean ones. Two guys, one ice surface, both capable of landing a few fair punches. I’m not talking about fights like this mug job of Braden Holtby by Ray Emery.
I just think that hits like Ryan Callahan’s on Kris Letang during the Eastern Conference Finals is one that you don’t just let fly into the wind. Everyone knew Callahan’s intentions. Everyone knew Callahan had no plans of stopping, even though Letang’s numbers were facing him and he was already in a precarious position. But Callahan finished the game without anyone so much as challenging him to a fight. Partly because the game is all skill-driven and partly because the players in the NHL anymore are cowards softer than “Charmin Ultra Soft”.
It’ll probably never happen again, but you know the NHL needs fighting again when the damn commissioner is begging for it to comeback.