Another Case to End Fighting in the NHL – Ice-Goonery
As I was enjoying a family Thanksgiving celebration this evening, I was watching the Maple Leafs vs. Senators game. The Leafs were ahead by two goals when a fight, the game’s second, broke out involving Chris Neil and Luke Schenn.
Okay, wait, let’s backtrack just a bit. For the past few weeks on this site there have been several discussions and articles about the efficacy of fighting in the NHL, whether it should be protected or abolished entirely. I have been firmly of the mindset that there is no need for fighting in the game, and the cons far outweigh the pros. With “ice-goonery” (I think I invented a word here!) in the forefront of hockey news over the past year with the untimely deaths of several notable former hockey fighters, the issue is a hot one, yet sensitive. Even Don Cherry is taking heat for his stance on protecting fighting as “part of the game”. For me though, for every fighter we have in the league we are taking away another “skilled” player’s roster spot.
Okay, back to the game.
Upon replay it appears that Neil instigated the fight, and took a swing before Schenn even knew he was in a fight. Neil, a seasoned veteran and notable fighter (yes, he has some offensive talent as well), took it to Schenn who did his best to keep up. Sorry, Luke, wasn’t your day. Round two to Neil.
While Neil was assessed an extra two minutes for instigating, is that really enough? I am not suggesting he should be punished under the Criminal Code of Canada, however, at what point should a player in Schenn’s position be considered a victim? How is it that in the NHL a player can punch another in the face and receive little more than a slap on the wrist? Yes, they have a history, but so what? Maybe Shanahan will prove me wrong sooner, rather than later.
Hey, growing up in the most dense hockey market in the world I have an idea of what hockey culture means, and I concede this kind of thing is just part of the game. But it’s a part I don’t care for fighting in hockey. As our own BKerr pointed out, if fighters are important than why are they often benched for the playoffs? Excellent point.
But let’s get something straight, fighting is not synonymous for physical play. You can play physically and not be a fighter. Unfortunately, guys who play physically that don’t fight are labelled as cowards.
Anyway, I don’t think fighting is necessary and I don’t want my kids to grow up knowing it’s part of the game. Unfortunately for me that may be the reality.
And that is the last word.