The Unspoken Rules of Hockey

This time of the year is like a dead period for me.  College football is over, the NFL playoffs are in full swing but the Rams suck and Weller has those covered, I don’t like basketball and I only get to see one or two hockey games a week.  (I hate you Mediacom.  I hate you so much.)  That should semi explain my absence in the past week, plus I’m leaving for Vancouver on Tuesday morning and I’ve been filling out various paperwork all week.  Then this hockey fight between the New York’s Marian Gaborik and Philadelphia’s Daniel Carcillo caught my eye:

For those of you who don’t watch much hockey, Gaborik has 61 points on the year while Carcillo has 11.  Gaborik has 23 penalty minutes. Carcillo has 130.  Needless to say, it was a mismatch.

Basically this post is for my Dad who doesn’t like or understand fighting in hockey.  I don’t understand his dislike for fighting in hockey.  The way I see it, two things get the crowd out of their seats at games:  goals and fights.  That’s how it should be.  I’m a firm believer that  if fighting was outlawed, there would be a dramatic increase in the number of injuries to the game’s stars.  Hockey players police themselves, they always have and they always will.

Now, there is the correct way to do this.  In the fight above, I have no problem with Carcillo’s actions.  That’s what he’s supposed to do, he starts trouble.  If he sits out 5 minutes, it’s not a huge blow to his team.  If Gaborik sits out for 5 minutes, that’s a big blow to the Rangers.  Actually, Gaborik dropped the gloves first, which is kind of funny.  I’d imagine it was a moment of panic where he dropped them before he really thought about what he was doing kind of like Jonathan Toews did with David Backes.

I also enjoyed Carcillo’s quote after the game:

“I wasn’t expecting him to drop his gloves when he did.  I was pretty much licking my chops.”

No, my issue is with the four other Rangers who were on the ice when Gaborik mistakenly decided he could fight.  Where were they?  How could they let that happen?  You never, ever let your star player get in over his head like that.  It should have been stopped before it started even if it meant taken an extra penalty or ejection

Here’s an example of how this should have gone down:

Even though Capitals forward Alexander Ovechkin is the aggressor in this situation, Matt Bradley steps in and takes on Tampa Bay’s Steve Downie.  Bradley received a third-man instigation penalty and a game misconduct for his actions, but he defended the Capitals entire franchise.

The Rangers did get a little revenge about seven minutes after the Gaborik-Carcillo fight when my least favorite player Sean Avery answered the bell with Carcillo.

It’s worth noting that Avery was not on the ice when Gaborik received his beat down.

Above I stated that injuries would increase if fighting was banned, something my Dad disagrees with me about.  I feel like the movie Good Will Hunting outlines this in fake real-life terms.  Imagine Ben Affleck’s character is Alex Ovechkin, Matt Damon is Matt Bradley, and the blond-haired guy is Steve Downie.

Affleck is the scoring forward who doesn’t fight well.  He’s just trying to have a good time.  Blond-haired guy decides he wants to take a run at Affleck but if he does, he has to answer to Matt Damon.  Next time, blond-haired guy will think twice before antagonizing Affleck.  See how that works?  This might be the strangest analogy I’ve ever made on this website.  Regardless, I got to post the second greatest movie scene of all time on here, so it doesn’t matter.

Basically, what I am trying to say is this:  If players only had to answer to referees for their actions, they would be much more willing to take runs at their opponent’s best players.  Daniel Carcillo knew that after his fight with Gaborik, someone on the Rangers was going to come after him.  If he wasn’t held accountable for his actions, you can bet that he would be headhunting every player who could possibly score a goal for New York.  Avery’s return bout sent a message that Carcillo couldn’t do that.

Obviously there are morons who go about this the wrong way and those are the goons who make hockey look bad.  Todd Bertuzzi and Marty McSorely immediately come to mind.

Those incidents aside, fighting is an integral part of the game.  There is no way it should ever be taken out.

One Response

  1. Ha! I love it. I’m not much of a hockey fan, but I dabbled in fantasy hockey one year on the strength of my NHL 94 on Sega experience. Somehow I ended up with Gaborik and he was on and off the IR all season long. It’s not only nice to see him get dominated in a “fight” but humorous to hear the Rangers’ announcers talking like he gave one bit of resistance. Good post… I never would’ve seen this otherwise.

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