Penalty Box

by - February 14, 2011 - - 3 Comments »

What do Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby have in common? Well, I know what they don’t have in common. They aren’t known for their fighting prowess.

Look, I don’t pretend to know too much about hockey. But I do know one thing about it. The fighting doesn’t help the sport. It makes it look ridiculous and it should be abolished. I’m not saying that in reaction to the Islanders-Penguins brawl, I’m saying that in reaction to common sense.

There may be counter arguments thrown my way like ‘but everyone enjoys a good fight’ or ‘the fights are the reason I watch’. Those don’t really hold weight. Hockey’s ratings are not in the same stratosphere as football, basketball or baseball, so brawls as a ratings ploy is a failure. And yes, people do love watching a good fight but that is what sanctioned boxing and mixed martial arts bouts are for; you know, actual good fights. Hockey should be hoping fans are searching YouTube for spectacular goals, not amateur knockouts.

Hockey is a contact sport. So is football and the NFL doesn’t allow the same shennanigans. Isn’t fast-paced, high impact action enough? We’re talking about a game that is essentially the cousin of soccer and basketball; similar goals with different rules and equipment. Again, neither of those sports allows impromptu fist-a-cuffs.

Seeing guys try to throw punches on ice skates is entertaining on the surface (pun intended) but it creates the wrong perception. And if you don’t agree with me, I’ll throw my gloves right off and punch you in the face.

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3 Responses to “Penalty Box”

  1. Steve says:

    I think it is obsurd you can say ban fighting from hockey. I just graduated college I have been playing hockey since I could walk and to say fighting shouldnt be allowed is the same as saying a football player should be fined for his “hard” hits. Toughen up. Fighting has been in hockey since the beginning and no way should be taken out. The actions of the Islanders against Pittsburgh is a different story they jumped two players, that should be taken out. A line brawl every now and then adds positive excitement to the game. Fighting is fine, the cheap shots leading to the fights is what needs to be handled.

  2. TT says:

    Fighting may not draw ratings for Hockey, but I don’t think it turns any viewers away either. Did you ever find yourself watching a hockey game, but then changed the channel because there was a fight? Hockey’s popularity (or lack thereof) has nothing to do with the fights. The sport isn’t popular here because it isn’t rooted in American Culture, and there aren’t many marketable (or marketed) personalities.

    As for the perception of violence, the fights in hockey are not nearly as violent as some cringe-inducing hits in Football (or even in hockey itself); a couple of punches are thrown, there’s a bloody nose or a black eye, and the players separate. If anything, taking fighting out of hockey would make the sport more violent–there would be more blindshots and more cheapshots, and as a result, more serious injuries.

  3. Rod Gilbert says:

    “Look, I don’t pretend to know too much about hockey.” But I bet you are gonna get on your high horse and tell us goons what is in our best interests. My enjoyment of watching hockey is not enhanced or deteriorated by fights, low ratings, or your ignorance of the sport. “Fast-paced, high impact action [is] enough.” But I do feel that fighting in hockey still prevents brawls such as the Islanders-Penguins from occurring on a more regular basis. Cheap hits, late hits, hits to the head (either intentionally or unintentionally) will continue with or without fighting. The problem is retaliation will also continue with or without fighting. The only difference is that without fighting, more cheap hits and more love taps with sticks on the back of your achilles will become more prevalent. Fighting, for better or worse, does have a cleansing aspect which helps put a finality to many pent up feelings.

    I believe the following are true:
    1. Lundberg would not watch more hockey if fighting was abolished because his first love is basketball and the hockey season and basketball season run concurrently.
    2. If fighting was abolished, hockey’s ratings would not significantly increase or decrease because the sport itself at a grassroots level in America has too many inherent obstacles to overcome to become more mainstream like baseball, basketball, and football. Hockey is played on ice. There is nothing that can be done about the ice to make it more accessible to children.
    3. Soccer began in 1863, ice hockey in 1875, and basketball in 1891, so basketball should be considered the distant cousin.
    4. Sanctioned boxing and mixed martial arts bouts are as hit-or-miss as hockey fights.
    5. I know that if four individuals aren’t known for their fighting prowess that they have that in common in relation to each other. I also know that your second sentence in your first paragraph should be eliminated.
    6. In addition, when I read the word, “obsurd” and “I just graduated college,” I feel like punching a wall.

    “I’m not saying that in reaction to the Islanders-Penguins brawl, I’m saying that in reaction to common sense.”

    Action: An Islanders-Peguins brawl
    Reaction: Lundberg’s first ever blogpost about hockey that states that fights in hockey should be abolished

    Action: Lundberg’s opinion about common sense
    Reaction: My opinion that Lundberg is no Thomas Paine

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