Last night’s game between the Flyers and the Lightning was a spirited and chippy affair. Early on in the night Zach Rinaldo fought B.J. Crombeen, and Rinaldo scored a knock out victory. Crombeen was out on his feet and fell to the ice, when Rinaldo proceeded to punch Crombeen two more times.
This angered the Lightning who felt that this action was against “the unwritten code” that seems to prevail in the NHL today. I’ve personally never read the code or subscribed to it (as I’m not a fan of fighting in hockey in general) but I do realize that it exists, and the current rules make fighting part of the game. NBC on ice microphones captured Martin St. Louis talking to Daniel Briere about the incident and clearly the Bolts Captain was not happy.
As a piece of history, one of Tampa’s other stars, Vincent Lecavalier, had fought Philadelphia’s Luke Schenn earlier in the season.
The bitterness and chippy play continued throughout the game, while on the scoreboard two goals from Tom Sestito gave the Flyers a 2-1 lead. With just 8:44 to play in the game, Lecavalier got goaded into a coincidental slashing incident by Philadelphia pest Max Talbot. This led to a fight between Talbot and Lecavalier, and offsetting penalties of 7 minutes to each player (2 for slashing, 5 for fighting).
In my opinion, this was a stupid, selfish, and unnecessary play by Lecavalier. Look, I get that he was emotional and wanted to avenge the perceived “code violation” that led to B.J. Crombeen’s injury. However the reality is that Max Talbot had nothing to do with the injury, so what does a fight with Talbot accomplish? (It should be noted that Lecavalier was also throwing punches after Talbot was down in this fight, another violation of the “code”)
This play also removed Lecavalier, Tampa’s big weapon on their second line, from the game for the next 7 minutes, only giving him enough time to take one shift after coming out of the box. Essentially, a large Tampa threat to tie up the score and change the game was nullified. In this way it was stupid and selfish.
Lecavalier should remember two things. First off the biggest pain to another team happens on the scoreboard. He should have skated away from Talbot and given all he had to tie the game up and win it for his team in Overtime. Secondly, there is no need to avenge an injury on the same day it happened. If he was fighting for Crombeen, he could have gone after a Rinaldo (or allowed another Tampa fighter to do it) in their next meeting. There was no need to take himself out of the game with less than 9 minutes to go.
Sometimes its best to turn the other cheek, and for Lecavalier, this was one of those times.