Wednesday, October 02, 2013

NHL Hockey: Anti-Fighting Cabal uses Parros Incident to Push Agenda

Last night, newly acquired Habs tough guy George Parros while fighting fellow Leafs Pugilist Colton Orr, slipped and fell awkwardly on to the ice, landing on his chin.  The violent fall knocked the Habs tough guy out. Fortunately, Parros wasn’t seriously injured and this is the tweet that George put on twitter account this morning.  [Video of incident]

Now, the anti-fighting cabal which never lets an incident go to waste, immediately jumped on the Parros injury to make their call to ban fighting from hockey. Almost on cue, the tweets and articles to ban fighting in hockey started showing up from the usual suspects, you know who they are. Proving once again, that the people that write about hockey probably never played the game, ever. 

Whether you want to admit it or not, fighting is part of the game of hockey, that’s a historical fact, I don’t see that changing anytime soon. Sure, Fighting is not legal in college and most levels of youth hockey, but it’s part of the "culture" of junior hockey and the professional game. Let the hand wringing begin. Checking one of my favorite hockey blogs this morning, I found a few very predictable examples of the anti-fighting cabal’s stance on the issue. Obviously, they just can't help themselves. 

There's also an emerging theme starting to reappear almost every time the topic of fighting comes up in the Eastern Conference. Team are getting tougher because they're tired of getting beat up by the Boston Bruins. I kid you not.
Michael Grange, Sports Net -- With modest skills, he was smart enough to recognize that at six-foot-five and 230 lb. his best chance to make it to the NHL was as a fighter. He took boxing lessons (fighting is not allowed in college hockey) and fought every chance he could in the American Hockey League. He made his NHL debut in 2005–06 and has been in the league ever since, amassing 141 fighting majors and earning about $4 million.

This season he’s part of an arms race of sorts that threatens to make play in the Atlantic Division something like a UFC card on ice.

Parros’s name was added to the Canadiens’ lineup in part in response to the presence of rugged types like Orr in the Leafs’ lineup. The Leafs added fighters under head coach Randy Carlyle because he thought the club he inherited from Ron Wilson was too easily intimidated by the likes of the Boston Bruins, who won the 2011 Stanley Cup and were the toughest in the league.

Here's a few of the examples that I was talking about.
Pierre LeBrun, -- Everyone who reads me understands that I believe the game could survive without fighting. My belief is simply based on my fear that one day a player will die in a fight on the ice. Pure and simple. I say that because Don Sanderson did die in a Senior A Ontario game fight in 2009.

Am I concerned how the game would look if the "rats" in our game weren’t policed? Yes, I am. And I don’t have a good answer for that other than I’d hope the refs would police it as well as they could.

And you cannot discount the emotional lift that some fights do provide in games. The Habs seemed buoyed by Parros’ first fight with Orr, as well as Travis Moen taking on Mark Fraser.

I totally understand that and do not argue that fights in games have an impact. No question, they do.

But I come back to my one and only concern, the only one I’ve ever held on the sensitive subject: I’m worried we’ll have a tragic incident one day, because today’s players are just stronger and bigger than ever.
I believe that LeBrun is right about one thing, the NHL can't let the "Rats" in the NHL run wild. If the NHL takes fighting out of the game of hockey, the Patrick Kaletas and the Matt Cookes of the NHL will flourish and will run wild. Unchecked these players will be free to take runs at the leagues star players without the fear of retribution. You might want to ask Sidney Crosby if he want's the leagues "Rats" to have more freedom to take runs at him if fighting was banned from the NHL. To me, that's unacceptable. 

You must read this one, below is a blurb from the Hockey News, the anti-fighting hockey web page. It's almost like you have to be have an anti-fighting bias to write for them. 
Adam Proteau, the Hockey News -- In one respect, the injury could have happened on any play; it was an unexpected shift in weight and momentum that could’ve happened on a body check, as we saw with Kevin Stevens in 1993. As always, the standard disclaimer about how the game will never be 100 percent safe has to be issued, lest the straw-clutchers in the comment section get riled up.

But there’s no arguing one point: if Orr and Parros had been ejected from the game after their first fight in the first period, there’s no way Parros is hospitalized tonight. Tell me again why there shouldn’t be an automatic ejection for NHL fights?

To do so would allow fans of fighting and those who see it as a stress release valve to still watch fights. They just wouldn’t get to see the same guys punch each other repeatedly, repeatedly. Given what we’re learning about the long-term risk regular fighters such as Parros and Orr may face after their careers are over, the least we can do is acknowledge the toll one fight can take on them and not make them face two or three fights in the same night.

This is the nuance many fight fetishists can’t wrap their minds around. They throw out empty arguments such as the classic “you want to ban fighting”, when, at least for most people I know, that isn’t true at all. You can no more ban fights in hockey than any other sport. But you can punish it appropriately. And in all other sports, a fight gets you ejected.
We can’t have the anti-fighting debate without Adam Proteau chiming in. Proteau is a one of the founding members of the anti-fighting cabal. Proteau is a dove that hates fighting,  and sees no use for any fighting what-so-ever, in the game of hockey. Of course he’s right as well, Parros’s injury could have occurred even if he hadn't been in a fight. How about all of these grotesque checking from behind calls that aren't punished to the full extent of the rule book? I am more concerned about those kinds of hits. 

We can't forget Damien Cox from the Toronto Star. I used to follow this guy on Twitter but I had to unfollow him because I got tired of reading his political views in my twitter feed. Again, hockey is an awesome escape from the realities of real life. I don't care what these Canadian sports writers think of our countries flawed political system. Just write about hockey.  

But I digress.

Cox is another member of the anti-fighting cabal, that never misses an opportunity to slam the NHL's stance on fighting. I wonder sometimes if he wouldn't be happier covering baseball or figure skating. Hockey is a contact sport, people are going to get hurt no matter what. Injuries are a fact of life in the NHL. One NHL hockey player got hurt eating a stack of pancakes in his home. 
Damien Cox, Toronto Star -- After a summer in which the Bettman adminstration fiddled with silly rules like tucking in hockey jerseys and made changes to icing into a debate worthy of the Meech Lake Accord, of course it was the elephant in the room that made itself heard on opening night of the 2013-14 NHL season.

Fighting. The dangerous, pointless, bloody shame of fighting in the NHL, the combination of a league terrified to let the sport stand on its own two feet and a union that refuses to protect its workers.

In his 211th professional fight, Montreal’s George Parros went down for the count on Tuesday night, missing Maple Leafs enforcer Colton Orr with a wild haymaker and awkwardly hurling himself face-first into the ice as the bloodthirsty Bell Centre crowd, so thrilled with its new goon, roared.

And then went deathly, eerily silent.
Lastly, no one wants to see anyone get killed on the ice, that would be a travesty. However, fighting only accounts for about 10-percent of the on-ice concussions. Personally, I am more concerned about the dirty head shots, and the God awful, dangerous, checking from behind calls that need more scrutiny. Why doesn't the anti-fighting cabal members show as much disdain for these acts of violence as well?

Enhanced by Zemanta