Thursday, March 07, 2013

"Nobody wants to see someone get hurt"

...says every hockey fighting aficionado. after someone inevitably does get hurt in a hockey fight.

Oh, I understand the sentiment. It's that emotion, nameless in English, that would be guilt if it could be admitted to. Instead it comes out as -- or at least I hear it as -- a pitiful, plaintive whine. Yeah, it's fun to watch people bashing each other's skulls, but how was I supposed to predict one of them would get a concussion out of it?

Last night, Frazer McLaren and David Dziurzynski engaged in fisticuffs twenty six seconds into the game between McLaren's Leafs and Dziurzynki's Senators.

There was no reason for the fight. Not that there ever are reasons, only excuses. Tonight's excuse was provided by McLaren, who said he was looking to give his side "a spark". Instead he gave his opponent a concussion. Time will tell if it's one of those fleeting concussions that only sidelines you for a couple of weeks or a career-ending, life-destroying concussion the effects of which never go away. You never know with these things.

The gloating on Maple Leafs fan boards is sickening. "He filled out his face like an application", says one game summary, which goes on to note that "team loyalties and opinions on fighting aside, no one wants to see a body shake so vulnerably like that."

Nah, nobody wants that.

Listen to the crowd. Listen to how much they don't want that.

"But most hockey fights don't end like that," you say. "People don't generally get hurt in hockey fights, beyond a cut or a bruise."

Yeah, and only one out of six people playing Russian roulette actually shoots himself.

And how do you know most hockey fights don't end in injury? How many have you been in? Do you know how many hockey 'enforcers' are addicted to painkillers of one sort or another? Have you not noticed the relatively recent rash of suicides? Nah, nobody gets hurt in hockey fights.

But these guys consent to fighting. It's all consensual.

Except for many of these 'enforcers', fighting is the only reason they're in the game. Lose enough fights, or decline to flight, and there goes your lucrative career. How consensual is a fight, really, when you feel you don't have a choice?

There's a code in hockey. People don't just fight for no reason.

Twenty six seconds into the game. Score tied 0-0. No dirty plays on either side. Just a team in need of "a spark" that, you'd think, should have been there in the first place because they were playing their provincial rivals, in a game that could well have playoff implications. Hell, twenty six seconds isn't even enough time to properly assess if your team is flat or not.

You're a wuss. Hockey is a manly sport that involves periodic beatings. Deal with it.

How many fights do you see in the Stanley Cup finals? In the Olympics? Is that not good hockey?

Imagine Dzuirzynski is your son. No, never mind that. Imagine McLaren is. Are you proud of him?

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