If there was no fighting in the NHL, there would have been no way or reason for Brooks Orpik to answer for his clean hit, and thus Shawn Thornton would have had no reason to viciously attack him. An interesting sentiment from the anti-fighting crowd among us. A sentiment that suggests fighting is at the core of the rash of violence in hockey. A sentiment that suggests t’s time to do away with neanderthals punching each other in the head. After all, no other sport allows and encourages fighting.
Hockey is not like any other sport. For starters, the majority of the men who actually strap on the pads and skates, and put their safety on the line every night want to keep fighting a part of the game. They believe it’s a deterrent for dirty plays, and eliminating it would make things worse. Judging by the number of head-shots and subsequent suspensions we’ve seen this season, how can it get much worse?
Most people, including the NHL it would seem, are in agreement that staged fights for no other reason than to justify the existence of enforcers need to stop. But fights out of passion, out of protection, what about them?
There should be a line in regards to fighting. Line brawls should never be tolerated. Goalie fights, no matter how entertaining, are no good to anyone. Will all fights eventually be gone from the game? Judging by the focus as of late, there’s a very good chance it will. If fighting is removed from junior hockey and minor hockey, players won’t learn to fight. Enforcers who’s only role is to fight will become extinct. It may take some time. If the NHL really is serious about removing this element of the game, they very may well succeed.
The anti-fighting crowd will always cite brain injuries and concussions as the reason why fighting should be exiled. And after seeing what happened to George Parros, it’s hard to argue that. But flying elbows, charging, and boarding infractions have nothing to do with fighting. If we really want to protect out players, perhaps we should start there.
Have your say! Do you think fighting should still be a part of hockey?
Marcy, a former hockey player, is a hockey correspondent on CTV News and TSN radio. She began her career as a Sports Journalist in 2009 and has been part of The Hockey Writers since 2010, where she is currently a senior writer and editor.