What will it take to get the fighting out of the game? How many brain injuries will it take? How many players like Brett Lindross will need to lose their lives to concussions until it gets real attention by the NHL?
Wednesday night's matchup with the Ottawa Senators and the Toronto Maple Leafs was a side show, no let's be honest, a freak show. In an act of blatant machismo and showmanship between Frazer McLaren (Leafs) and David Dziurzynski (Sens), which ended with Dziurzynski unconscious on the ice, a supposed show was put on for fans.
There are so many things wrong with this picture. To begin with the fight between these two mental giants of the athletic world started only 20 seconds into the first period. What could they have needed to fight about less than a minute into the start of the game? Need there be any more proof to demonstrate how ridiculous these far too frequent jokes occur.
Fighting isn’t where real hockey fans are being entertained and it’s got very little to do with the fundamentals of the greatest game on Ice. (The only game on ice really!)
The reality is in the facts in the aftermath of the momentary scuffle. David Dziurznksi received a concussion, a fairly serious one at that. Mclaren got a cut on his chin. Who won? Clearly the winner was the fans. Mclaren looked like a school bully who just clocked a kid twice as young as him, getting himself hurt a bit in the process.
Well boo freaking who Mclaren. Are you really proud of yourself?
In an age when Americans are being told to think about not letting their kids take up sports because of concussions, with the NFL is on a serious case of damage control for its poor history of dealing with them, and science constantly proving just how debilitating these injuries to the brain are, why are these unnecessary risks being treated like the main event. The game of hockey is a stellar drama on its own. The side shows of these clearly staged fights are a gimmick best left to the WWE and MMA or UFC. They promote it better and make more money at it than the NHL can hope to bring in ever again if this nonsense continues.
If hockey ever wants to be taken seriously in US homes again, it's time to outlaw fighting. Those of you who feel the fights are integral to the game can stick to mixed martial arts. It’s a better version of gladiator show downs and much more brutal. The point is if this sort of spectacle what you need for entertainment. You have many other things to watch. Leave our sport some integrity. Something it will never have again when the hypocritical displays of violence endure.
Maybe, just maybe, if the fights end. People who long ago turned their backs on watching the NHL can take another look.
What's more, open up the passing by getting rid of off-sides and icing. Yeah the scoring will get much wilder. More scoring worked for baseball. And the NHL doesn't even need to endure years of steroid abuse to get to all the big numbers. Speed and puck handling are more intense and entertaining than a couple of slow skating, half wits, full of some false bravado, dueling it out for a very small portion of all NHL fans.
The fight lasted mere seconds and it endangered the life of a man who may never be the same and likely will live a shorter less fulfilling life when migraines, early onset dementia, or who knows what become the next knock-out punch.
Get real NHL. Act like professionals. Do the right thing and ban fighting outright. Fine the day lights out of those who refuse to listen and institute multigame bans on top of that. It will raise league revenue they can in turn spend on fixing their PR problem. It's not the great game it should be for many reasons. FIGHTING IS ONE OF THEM!
As for me, this is one fan who finds it harder and harder not to turn away from the NHL altogether. Give us a good game. Get rid of fighting!
Watch the attached video and judge for yourself if its worth calling a crucial part of hockey.