“ There's no way to defend all the fighting and foolishness to a non-hockey fan. The NHL has worked hard to steer the game away from the professional wrestling atmosphere and emphasize the skill and the speed that really make the sport fun to watch.
But a night like this has a certain, hard-to-justify appeal to those of us who grew up watching Bobby Clarke and Dave Schultz and Bob Kelly throw their bodies around and their gloves on the ice.”
- columnist Phil Sheridan
Hard to justify appeal? I can justify it. What a great, emotional game. Even if you’re a Pens fan you have to love where this is going. I’m growing tired of the sanitary condition the NHL brass think the game should be played under. These type of games are the reason we pack that place game in and game out. It’s a shame that while the league increased inter-division games they worked against themselves by virtually legislating hitting from the game itself thus neutering much of the appeal of the rivalries they were promoting.
Professional wrestling be damned, the fastest rising sports in the nation are Ultimate fighting leagues and while they rise in popularity the NHL, never a league to cater to the fans that buy the tickets but to the potential ones who don’t, have practically eliminated fighting in the sport and replaced it with violent, illegal hits mostly perpetrated by low paid bubble players who are only in the league to fill roster spots necessitated by an ill-conceived salary cap.
It's time for the NHL to wise up and realize they are selling a show wrapped in a sport and nothing sells a show more than getting your audience emotionally invested. When the Flyers play the Penguins and the Sabres to a lesser extent, I'm invested baby. I'm invested.