HOCKEY FIGHTING NECESSARY?
Today blog is a blog poll on do you feel that allowing fighting adds to the violence in the NHL? I asked few of my friends, a hockey fan, and a hockey blogger on the hockeybuzz site. I also interview an exlinesman.
My answer to this is no, in fact I think that, if anything, fights can actually lower the degree of violence in the NHL. Yes, crazy, but hear me out. With fighting, there’s actually physical consequences to players taking liberties on other players. Someone takes a cheap shot at a star type player; they will have to answer to a 250 lb gorilla with ice skates.
For those do not know Scott, he is the blogger for the NYR, does a fine job, and is very knowledgeable. It’s a great point the players will take liberties with other players without fear of retribution. Great comment by Scott. You really should read his blogs they're very informative.
Personally, I'm a big fan of fighting and enforcers in hockey. I think the honest, self-policing culture in hockey is what keeps the players from becoming a bunch of egomaniac cry-babies, like most football and basketball players.
Just picture a league full of high-priced Europeans figure skating around and taking cheap shots at each other.
I blame the addition of the instigator rule for the increase in cheap shots, and hits to the head. When you consider the way that penalties are being called much more frequently for minor infractions, that makes it harder for players to find a window to make a big hit. So as a result, I think some players end up making poor judgment calls when they get the rare opportunity to line a guy up.
I believe if the NHL was smart, they would market their enforcers the way the NFL does. Let's be completely honest, nothing gets fans out of their seats faster than a goal, unless it's a good fight. People love it; and yet they sort of wussy-foot around the issue. The team enforcers are fan favorites in every NHL building I have ever been to. In MN for example, Boogaard is almost as popular as Gaborik
It seems like the media jumps all over every fight. How often when you check the highlights, do you see a tussle or fight? In reality, fights sell, and the NHL is in the business to make money; fighting is part of the that process. A great comment.
I am concerned that the NHL is trying to sell entertainment rather than a sport; they are selling the fighting too much. Fighting is an important part of hockey, but the NHL is selling it too much so there are too many fights. They are trying to sell the game to the non-hockey fan instead of selling it to the ones they already have. Cutting out fighting would totality change the game and turn into a Europe league. I see the importance of fighting, when used in the right context; for example, sticking up for a team mate, or changing the momentum in a game. One of the best examples of this is Jarome Iginla (Iggy) who will often get into the fighting to motivate his team. The problem is, he has the mentality knowing when to fight or not to fight. Most players don't understand this concept; they just go ahead and fight without any reason. Does this add to the violence? Not really; in fact, maybe the exact opposite. If the players don't have a vent or a way to get rid of their frustration, they will resort to other actions. This will, in turn, lead to more stick work and worse; the dirty hits will rise dramatically.
So where is the happy medium? Right fighting has a place in the game. The main problem is that the NHL is selling the fighting too much. The main problem is they can't take it out, but they don't have to flaunt it either. There is a thin line between when to fight and when not to fight and does the NHL really care?
You can imagine the responses I am getting from the non-hockey fan about fighting. So, keeping that in mind, do you see the NHL being able to keep the peace, mending the fences between the hockey fan and the non-hockey fan. Can we reach a happy medium at all between the two groups?
You kidding, right? Its like a fundamental Christian talking to a non-Christian . You may get a lot of discussion, but you will never get either side to really concede. You have the same problem here, with one side taking hockey as a religion, a part of life. On the other side, you're getting another group who don't understand the game, who don't want to understand it almost to the point of it being a religion to hate hockey. No matter what happens, you will never be able to satisfy both parties.
What about the argument that violence begets violence?
There have been studies done on sports and the violent sports. The problem was, the kids had no place vent, meaning they were venting in other ways. Meaning they were experiencing a new group of problems. Not fewer problems, but more. The new problem they discover wouldn’t have been there if they had a controlled environment for the youth to vent out. You see, even if you eliminate the fighting from of the game, they're going to find others ways to vent, as I said earlier.
The consensus with hockey fans is that fighting is a part of the game. Fighting has a purpose, and within that context, it is acceptable. That is what concerns me. Hear me out; I can imagine what thoughts are going through people's head. My problem is that I am speaking from a father's point of view and a fan's point of view. While I am watching a fight, I see my son jumping up and down getting very excited. Where do you think he is getting that from? You guessed it - I am jumping right with him.
Now what am I teaching my son? As a father, am I teaching my son that the best way to handle conflict for players is to fight? What makes it worse is that at the end of the fight, what do you think I am doing? I am cheering my player on to kick the crap out of the other player. Meanwhile, my son is imitating my actions, and what do you think he is going to do while playing floor hockey in his gym class?
There is my problem. As a fan, I see the necessity of fighting, and I do believe that fighting has a purpose. But as a father trying to teach my son about the game, how can I encourage fighting? Believe me, we have had many conversations about this; hence the blog. I realize taking fighting out of the NHL would be crazy. But as my friend says, the NHL does not have to flaunt like it’s the best thing since sliced bread. I guess what I am saying is that the NHL needs to sell its players on goals instead of their fighting. Just an observation and an concern of mine.