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"Here comes the bench!"
March 6, 2007 3:53 PM   Subscribe

Mayhem on the Ice! A short collection of brawls from the heyday of the hockey fight. A big one, and another (international nastiness). Goalie fight? GOALIE FIGHT! A few compilations. Many originate from a past misdeed, like the famous Colorado-Detroit rumble in '97. Debates are abound as to whether it should remain in the game, but fighting's probably not going anywhere.
posted by rollbiz (77 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
A little background...The Mayhem link is from a Hartford Whalers tape I was given as a kid by my father. On one side was Brass Bonanza, the Whalers theme song and a great throwback to the old hockey sound. The other side had that fight. It's the only tape I ever actually ruined by playing it until it wore out.
posted by rollbiz at 3:59 PM on March 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


Best YouTubeFilter EVAR.
You just made my day. Thank you.
posted by mosessis at 3:59 PM on March 6, 2007


Somebody show me how to play NHL '96 on my MacTel. I'm jonesing.
posted by phaedon at 3:59 PM on March 6, 2007


Here's a video of Claude Lemieux's hit on Kris Draper that instigated the '97 Wings/Avs brawl. (This hit occurs around the 0:45 mark.)
posted by ofthestrait at 4:03 PM on March 6, 2007


Why can't they just discuss their differences rationally?
posted by gottabefunky at 4:04 PM on March 6, 2007


Somebody show me how to play NHL '96 on my MacTel

Psssh. Real men play '94.
posted by rollbiz at 4:07 PM on March 6, 2007 [2 favorites]


Here's a name for you nostalgia fans: Clarence "Screaming Buffalo" Swamptown. I'll never forget an exclusive interview in which Swamptown revealed that he calls his hockey stick the "Big Tomahawk," and he usually refers to the opposing players as "the little scalps".
posted by Astro Zombie at 4:10 PM on March 6, 2007


Please consider making a playlist instead of a zillion youtube links.
posted by Rhomboid at 4:15 PM on March 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


Here's the official game summary of the second video. Pay attention to the insane amount of penalties. I think this broke the record for total amount of penalty minutes ever handed out in a single game.
posted by hafetysazard at 4:16 PM on March 6, 2007


Buffalo and the Sens just had a good, old-fashioned brawl some two weeks ago which put the game off for 20 minutes (the fight was about 5). Goalie fight there as well, with the recently-traded Marty Biron (how I miss ye, *sniff*). It was some pretty good fists-a-flyin', but really, the highlight is the screaming match between the coaches. Lindy Ruff, the Sabres coach, was fined 10,000. A local pizza joint is collecting cash to defray the cost, not so much because Lindy needs the help (he doesn't), but because that is how Buffalo is.
posted by oflinkey at 4:23 PM on March 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


ofthestrait: that link's bunk.
posted by phaedon at 4:45 PM on March 6, 2007


rollbiz. I guess you're right. It's definitely 94. asscake. i get federov.
posted by phaedon at 4:46 PM on March 6, 2007


rollbiz: Debates are abound as to whether it should remain in the game

They may, but not amongst the players, fans, league brass or anyone involved with hockey in any capacity.
posted by Adam_S at 4:49 PM on March 6, 2007


I don't recall the date, but I caught a bit of a (I think) Leafs game a month or two ago... There was a huge fight, refs got it "calmed down", then proceed to the face-off. Right as the puck gets dropped, the two face-off players instantly drop their sticks and go at eachother. Actually made me laugh.

Hockey fights that stay on the ice are one thing. And then there's this.
posted by CKmtl at 4:56 PM on March 6, 2007


"What are you guys doing?"

"Putting on the foil!"
posted by Scoo at 5:07 PM on March 6, 2007


Hmm, the Mayhem link is not working for me.

Also, NHL 94 for the Genesis = best game ever. Leafs are my team, Gilmour is my ace. GLG.
posted by chlorus at 5:13 PM on March 6, 2007


I love how the sportscasters describe the fights as they watch them, as if they were a wrestling or boxing match. Shows you how much fighting is a part of hockey.
posted by Citizen Premier at 5:19 PM on March 6, 2007


There was a great fight tonight in the Champions League.
posted by fire&wings at 5:19 PM on March 6, 2007


TEH AWESOMENESS!!!!!111!!!!
posted by photoslob at 5:20 PM on March 6, 2007


One of the more interesting pieces of fight footage I've ever seen (Laraque vs. Ivanans).

The fight isn't that great, but Laraque was mic'd for the game. They play that feed starting at 0:48.
posted by mullacc at 5:21 PM on March 6, 2007


One of the goon brothers from "Slapstick" was on our local semi-pro team when I was growing up. He was always good for a few cheap shots or worse during a game. Hell, in those leagues even the so called stars mixed it up pretty well. Our big star had almost no teeth and it seems that fists were probably to blame for some of that, not just pucks. It really had a similar atmosphere to say wrestling or roller derby, except these guys hit for real.
posted by caddis at 5:22 PM on March 6, 2007


Great.

'94/Genesis. Greatest hockey game ever made.
posted by nathancaswell at 5:32 PM on March 6, 2007


The Laraque fight is incredible. A good friend of mine is a hockey shooter and he's told me about how cordial these guys can be before throwing punches. It's amazing that was caught live.
posted by photoslob at 5:46 PM on March 6, 2007


You know, I love hockey. I love hockey fights. But I'll never understand the "goalie fight".

There's not point. The goalies never get close enough during the game to trade cheap shots and at opposite ends of the ice, it's pretty tough to razz the other guy. I just don't get it.

I'd think that goalies would take out the goons that crash the net.

Oh well.
posted by C.Batt at 5:49 PM on March 6, 2007


so what's with goalie fights? it can't be that they're shouting at each other from across the rink, so is there some rule about goalie involvement in fights? is it like your goalie can't get involved, and if he does the other team's goalie gets to come out and beat the shit out of your goalie for it?
posted by shmegegge at 5:50 PM on March 6, 2007


I'm not a big fan of hockey fights, but watching that cheap-shotter Claude Lemieux get clocked by McCarty NEVER gets old. I think it got to the point that in any Wings-Avs game, the two of them would just go at it after the puck was dropped at the beginning and get the inevitable out of the way.
posted by evilangela at 5:55 PM on March 6, 2007


shmegegge: it can't be that they're shouting at each other from across the rink

The goalies pass trash-talk notes to eachother via the other players. Like middleschool on ice.

I don't get it either, really.
posted by CKmtl at 5:56 PM on March 6, 2007


I used to go with my dad and brother to AHL Baltimore Skipjacks games in the 80's. Talk about fights! As the decade went on, the Jacks led the league in penalty minutes more and more. In the '86-'87 season, Mitch Wilson served 353 minutes in the sin bin. The Skipjacks went from being pretty good (having the best record in the AHL and winning their division in 83-84) to rock bottom (they were a feeder team for the Penguins for awhile, but got dropped in the late 80's and never recovered).

When they were unaffiliated, the Skipjacks wore red, white, and blue. The players who ended up on the team were hard cases and dead-enders, guys who had no chance of moving to the NHL and played like it. They were like the Hanson brothers out there; constant cross-checks, fights, dirty play; I was fifteen and I loved it.

Sure, we went to see the Caps every now and again, and Rod Langway was an idol, but man, to watch those Skipjacks fight, to jump up and down on my seat shouting "Kill him! Kill him!" in my cracking adolescent voice, was the finest hockey a boy could see.
posted by breezeway at 5:56 PM on March 6, 2007


I've always loved the Cloutier fight beatdown of Tomi Salo. I wonder who'd win in a straight up goalie fight between Cloutier and Ray Emery?

Not a fight, per se, but Ruttu pwns Paneuf. The payoff's about halfway through the short clip.
posted by porpoise at 5:59 PM on March 6, 2007


It's Slap Shot, Caddis.
posted by breezeway at 5:59 PM on March 6, 2007


How are some of these guys not charged with assault?

I don't get why the league allows it and why sponsors put up with it.
posted by empath at 6:00 PM on March 6, 2007


Oh - goalie fights; if there's a line brawl, one goalie may skate over to the other side and challenge the other goalie. It's bad form to fight a goalie - you'll likely be challenged again by someone else, but goalies can challenge if they like. Besides, if someone is going after your goalie and they don't really want to ante up, someone on the team 'ought' to step in and dance with the challenger.

The rules changes regarding fighting in hockey has some deleterious side effects. With the 3 instigator (if you start a fight) penalties = suspension, it's harder to enforce against dirty hits and dirty players. Also, iirc there are automatic suspensions if one leaves the bench to fight; so say if one team has a bunch of goons on the ice and your team has their skill players on the ice and the goon team wants to start something, there's not much that one can do re: the Ottawa/Buffalo fight involving Emery, recently.

Back 'in the day' most fights were between willing combatants; being on skates makes it harder to put 'real' strength behind blows. It's also frustrating to see goons and dirty players taking liberties on skilled players - vis Crosby earlier this season and the constant running (diving into, falling on top of, not avoiding - and otherwise obstructing the goalie; all of which involve varying elements of risk of injury to the goalie) of skilled goalies.
posted by porpoise at 6:05 PM on March 6, 2007


How are some of these guys not charged with assault?

I don't get why the league allows it and why sponsors put up with it.


Please tell me you're trying to be sarcastic.
posted by AspectRatio at 6:06 PM on March 6, 2007


it's harder to enforce against dirty hits and dirty players

As a non-North American, who had no idea until now that fighting was allowed in hockey, one obvious question springs to mind: every other sport manages to cope with dirty players without resorting to legalised brawling — what makes hockey different?
posted by Aloysius Bear at 6:16 PM on March 6, 2007


Chicago was my NHL '94 team FWIW. What a great game!

I wonder who'd win in a straight up goalie fight between Cloutier and Ray Emery?

How 'bout Cloutier and Snow? Snow's a regular goalie vigilante...

...Also, for any few that might wonder...I'm a Bruins fan in MA now that the Whale is gone, but I still bleed green.
posted by rollbiz at 6:16 PM on March 6, 2007


Awesome clips. Gotta love the hockey fight.
posted by BrotherCaine at 6:21 PM on March 6, 2007


Aloysius Bear, other sports don't tie razor blades to the feet of its players. A player who really wants to fuck someone up and can't vent that energy just might use those things in a bad way.

Of course, international hockey doesn't allow fights at all and you've never heard of anyone really playing horribly dirty in that way in international hockey. So the real question is what the fuck is up with north american pros? at least, according to wikipedia.

but i'll tell you why I think it stays (not really.):

all those enforcers would be out of a job, and if there's anything the league heads don't want it's a an entire league of pissed off enforcers gunning for them irl.
posted by shmegegge at 6:43 PM on March 6, 2007


Aloysius Bear - every other sport manages to cope with dirty players without resorting to legalised brawling — what makes hockey different?

Maybe it's the influence of lacross on hockey. <shrug> Or maybe it's the inconsistent refereeing. Hmm, rugby, in my experience, can be quite dirty, too. Does anyone know the prevalence of fighting in professional non-international rugby leagues vs. the NHL/AHL? There doesn't seem to be a lot of American football fights - but maybe it's because their swaddled under so much protective gear that it's be pretty pointless.

Again, anecdotally from an interview I read with an NHL 'enforcer' was that hockey fights don't leave nearly as much damage as, say, an average bar brawl partially because the contestants are on skates on ice. Referees are right quick to jump in and end fights when either fighter leaves their skates.

It's an interesting point wrt international hockey, but I've seen videos of fights breaking out in European and Russian leagues.
posted by porpoise at 6:57 PM on March 6, 2007


It's a miracle that accidents like this don't happen more often.
posted by disgruntled at 7:00 PM on March 6, 2007


It's an interesting point wrt international hockey, but I've seen videos of fights breaking out in European and Russian leagues.

yes, but they're ejected from the game for it, and more importantly the lack of sanctioned fighting has not lead to anyone doing anything more aggressive on the ice, such as slicing someone with a skate or the like.
posted by shmegegge at 7:16 PM on March 6, 2007


As a hockey fan going on 25 years, I hate, and have always hated, the fact that fighting was somehow tacitly accepted in hockey, when every other sport seemed to get along just fine treating it like the infrequent, fairly shocking offense it should be.

To interrupt the speed, skill and grace of hockey so two morons who should be home violating sheep or throwing hay bales around on some Alberta ranch can circle each other then fall over was always a crime to me - and I say this as a Devils fan whose family had season tickets in the dark days of the 80's - it's not like we didn't need all the entertainment we could get.

The rules changes regarding fighting in hockey has some deleterious side effects.

All of which the league, were it not the absolute stupidiest governing body of any major sport, could deal with easily, and (in their defense) has done a reasonable job with to this point, despite some shortcomings.

It's also frustrating to see goons and dirty players taking liberties on skilled players -

Agreed, but the way you combat that is getting the "goons" out of the sport, not giving them legitimacy throwing their gloves down.

...Also, for any few that might wonder...I'm a Bruins fan in MA now that the Whale is gone, but I still bleed green.

My friend's grandmother designed the original (harpoon) Whalers crest.

On preview - disgruntled, I still have nightmares about seeing that footage on SportsCenter the next day - and as one wag in the comments noted, Clint got something like 80 stitches to repair the jugular and was practicing two weeks later.
posted by jalexei at 7:18 PM on March 6, 2007


The NHL rink is much smaller than the one used in the international game. Guys hit a lot more out there and consequently can't skate as freely. With so much hitting, especially up against the boards, tactics are different: coaches and players have to be ready when rough games get ugly. That's why international games are so beautiful, all these wonderfully skilled players with enough room to show off their talents.

I don't have a problem with the fighting or the hitting. Makes things more even sometimes. Change the rink, though, and the frequency of fights and ugly hits would go down.
posted by breezeway at 7:26 PM on March 6, 2007


every other sport manages to cope with dirty players without resorting to legalised brawling — what makes hockey different?
That's like asking why boxers are allowed to hit each other.
posted by MrMoonPie at 7:38 PM on March 6, 2007


As a non-North American, who had no idea until now that fighting was allowed in hockey

Not to be a stickler, but fighting isn't 'allowed' in hockey any more than slashing or tripping is.
posted by Adam_S at 7:38 PM on March 6, 2007


why did i click disgruntled's link?? why???
posted by gorgor_balabala at 7:41 PM on March 6, 2007


A hockey FPP?! Thanks, Rollbiz. And thanks for the call from a very, very young Neumie. I had heard parts of this on WEEI.

Should anyone ever need a Brass Bonanza fix, get it here.

BB makes for a nice ringtone too. I like to mix it up with the "Hockey Night in Canada" theme.
posted by papoon at 7:47 PM on March 6, 2007


Awesome, awesome post rollbiz! It was so good, even empath's sucky remarks can't spoil it!

Tony Twist rulez!!1! Or at least did
posted by dropkick at 7:56 PM on March 6, 2007


That's like asking why boxers are allowed to hit each other.

Well, no, it's like asking why boxers would be allowed to smack a puck around.

Fighting is against the rules, has nothing to do with the game, and yet somehow is an accepted part of the sport. Other sports have dealt with fighting by suspending and fining players. Hockey could do the same.
posted by empath at 7:58 PM on March 6, 2007


Fighting is against the rules, has nothing to do with the game, and yet somehow is an accepted part of the sport. Other sports have dealt with fighting by suspending and fining players. Hockey could do the same.

You obviously don't know a lick about hockey.
posted by dropkick at 7:59 PM on March 6, 2007


Here's the story on disgruntled's link. And a better video.
posted by puke & cry at 8:04 PM on March 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


How are some of these guys not charged with assault?

In the yeeeeeeeeeeear two-thoooousand, one was .
posted by CKmtl at 8:14 PM on March 6, 2007


empath, no offense, but if you followed hockey closely for the last 15-100 years, fighting really is a part of the game. I didn't want to take a stand on hockey fights for the sake of the post, but the bottom line is that fighting is almost as much a part of hockey as it is of boxing. In my opinion, the only reason that the league has discouraged fighting in recent years is that players have become too valuable as a commodity to allow them to get hurt fighting.

The death of the goon is upon us. Argue about their value/lack thereof as you will, but to argue that they haven't belonged in the game isn't far off from arguing that the extra point doesn't belong in football. It's likely been a part of hokcey longer than you have watched it.
posted by rollbiz at 8:17 PM on March 6, 2007


I don't like the throat-slitting link(s) though. It's in very poor taste.
posted by dropkick at 8:22 PM on March 6, 2007


One of the more interesting pieces of fight footage I've ever seen

Thanks, that was amazing! The courteousness was just astounding. "You wanna do it? Yeah. OK, good luck man."

How are some of these guys not charged with assault?

Frequently they are. But generally, that's either because of a sucker-punch that catches someone off-guard, or because someone used their stick as a weapon. The latter is a big no-no (one of the reasons you always see players throw down their sticks before entering the mêlée).

I don't get why the league allows it and why sponsors put up with it.

The argument is that the injuries would be worse if they didn't allow these "structured" fights to occur. Which is horseshit. The real reason is because it makes an otherwise dull game very exciting. (And there goes my honorary Canadian citizenship...)
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 8:27 PM on March 6, 2007


I don't get why the league allows it and why sponsors put up with it.

The fans like it. duh.
posted by caddis at 8:32 PM on March 6, 2007


mullacc, I thought I was done crapping in my own post for the night, but...DAMN! I missed the footage you linked is awesome, and what I always imagined as the exchange between the goon-inclined of hockey.

I implore all to watch the footage, but to paraphrase:

"You wanna square off?"

"OK."

"OK? Good luck!"

(punches fly)
posted by rollbiz at 8:42 PM on March 6, 2007


And...

It's also frustrating to see goons and dirty players taking liberties on skilled players -

I'd much rather see it in a fistfight than an intending-to-injure play during the normal flow of a game, which the league has cracked down on fairly successfully. For those not familiar with the game, there are things much more nasty than the fight; such as taking out a knee, stick to the face/groin, etc.

I've always thought that if you fuck someone up in-game, and it's reasonably certain that you meant to hurt them, you should be suspended for as long as they're hurt plus a bit more. 6 month injury (for the victim) from taking out a guy's knee intentionally? See ya next season, if you're lucky...
posted by rollbiz at 8:50 PM on March 6, 2007


CKmtl - There was also another one. I wonder what it is about Vancouver?!

rollbiz - I'd much rather see it in a fistfight than an intending-to-injure play during the normal flow of a game

Exactly

I agree too; if you're penalized on a play that injures a player - the penalized player should be out as long as the injured player PLUS the suspension time.

However - what if you hit someone cleanly, who happened to be made of glass, and got a call-happy ref? It's a hard call. I guess review (randomly selected # of refs that year + an elected (from NHLPA) number of players?) could keep things in perspective.
posted by porpoise at 9:11 PM on March 6, 2007


One of my best friends was in the crowd the night of Clint's accident. A couple of players vomited on the ice, there was at least one heart attack in the crowd, and when it happened, the crown went silent, then a mess of people started screaming. He said it was one of the most absolutely disturbing things he has ever seen, not only because of poor Clint, but also because of the rawness and abject fear of the crowd.

I think that despite the naysayers in the thread, the fact that this level of injury does not happen all that often speaks to the integrity of the game and most of the players. Fighting is part of hockey, but they have their own ways of doing it (cf. the Laraque link).
posted by oflinkey at 9:15 PM on March 6, 2007


more violence if anyone is still interested
posted by caddis at 9:55 PM on March 6, 2007


The death of the goon is upon us. Argue about their value/lack thereof as you will, but to argue that they haven't belonged in the game isn't far off from arguing that the extra point doesn't belong in football. It's likely been a part of hokcey longer than you have watched it.

That they've been a part of the game for a long time doesn't make it right. I love a clean, hard hit as much as anyone. That Scott Stevens eventually outgrew his cheap shot tendencies and spent good stretches of '94 to '03 absolutely crushing anyone (see Primeau, Lindros) dumb enough to let their attention wander for a split second anywhere near him is one of the chief reasons (along with Marty Brodeur) that my once hapless Devils joined the league's elite and picked up three Stanley Cups in nine seasons.

But the fighting sucked when it was the Original 6, and it sucks now. It's also, despite conventional wisdom that fans "love" it, one of the reasons hockey has struggled in that nether zone between a regional sport and a national one. I know some people enjoyed the pre-fight banter between Laraque and Ivanans, but to my ears it just confirmed why a large swath of sports fans consider hockey a slighty faster paced version of professional wrestling.

Now of course once the NHL actually made some smart rule changes and opened up the game, their complete inability to get their head out of their ass in negotiating TV deals is killing the sport far more efficiently than any goon, but that's a discussion for another post.
posted by jalexei at 9:56 PM on March 6, 2007


one of the chief reasons (along with Marty Brodeur) that my once hapless Devils joined the league's elite and picked up three Stanley Cups in nine seasons.

Both subsidiary to real reason: The Devils of that era perfected the trap, a strategy perfectly in tune with the dilution of skill that resulted from expansion of the league.

But the fighting sucked when it was the Original 6, and it sucks now. It's also, despite conventional wisdom that fans "love" it, one of the reasons hockey has struggled in that nether zone between a regional sport and a national one. I know some people enjoyed the pre-fight banter between Laraque and Ivanans, but to my ears it just confirmed why a large swath of sports fans consider hockey a slighty faster paced version of professional wrestling.

Uh, yeah. 'Cause the WWE have really struggled to find and hold a large fan base.

Sarcasm off, fighting does not appear on any list of why the NHL has failed to expand its popularity in the last 20 years. Near the top of the list must be the fact the league has been run (and I"m looking at the league and union offices as well as the owners' suites) by a group of no-talent assclowns who hate hockey and hockey fans. Expansion down south, teams named after Disney movies, the trap -- their fault and the real reasons for the recent suckitude of the NHL.
posted by docgonzo at 10:12 PM on March 6, 2007


Nifty.
posted by Smedleyman at 10:28 PM on March 6, 2007


Simple answer - fighting allows the players to police the game themselves. In other words, if you cheap-shot Gretzky, McSorley's got his sights on you next shift. I guarantee you that McSorley coming at you is much more intimidating than having to sit 2 minutes in a comfy penalty box.

Moral of the story: Protect Gretzky, Gretzky scores more goals, team wins more games, fans more happy, more tickets sold. All because of the "goon."

btw, Ivanans = DRAGO.
posted by afx114 at 10:33 PM on March 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


Now of course once the NHL actually made some smart rule changes and opened up the game, their complete inability to get their head out of their ass in negotiating TV deals is killing the sport far more efficiently than any goon, but that's a discussion for another post.

It seems like they've resigned themselves to a second-tier status among American sports. Which is a good thing. Trying to be the next NBA is what got them into trouble. I think the sport is doing very well this season.
posted by mullacc at 10:49 PM on March 6, 2007


As a partial NHL season ticket holder, it depresses me when I see fans that appear to be entertained by the fights more than anything else in the game. I'm sure the true NASCAR fans feel the same way about fans who come to see wrecks.

But, to be fair, I get a kick out of the fights. I wouldn't mind if they were eliminated, but while they're around it's sorta entertaining. Though the truth is that most fights are pretty boring.

I used to advocate the "self-policing" argument and the hypothesis that instances of slashing/cheap shots would increase if fighting were eliminated. But I'm not so sure anymore (examples from the international game makes me waver). That leaves me with the entertainment angle--not the entertainment of the fights themselves, but the level of emotion created by the fights. The Buffalo/Ottawa brawl this season took an already big rivarly and made it positively scintillating. If those teams meet in the playoffs this year, it'll be one of the best series in years whether there are any more fights or not.
posted by mullacc at 11:00 PM on March 6, 2007


My idea any player caught fighting, send them off to IRAQ.
posted by happybunny at 1:06 AM on March 7, 2007


It all starts off something like this, talking trash on the bench. ]Note:Profanities./[

I'm a goalie and play a lot of men's league hockey. Mid 30's in age where no one's getting paid, they have work in the morning, but tempers flare and fights break out. If a less skilled team starts losing, the cheap shots start. When the ref isn't looking, the slashing to the back of the leg, spearing...if the referees lose control of the game from being less than observant, blood starts to boil.

I've also seen junior college games where a player got ejected and a woman watching the game ran down and starting in on the player. She was swearing at him 'I'll split your skull you fucking fuck face'....unbelievable. It's an emotional game, for those watching too.

In the numerous games I've played, I only had one fight. I had stopped the puck and a player came from behind the net and punched me in the back of the head. So I clocked him in the face with my blocker. His pals were holding him back, he continued to come at me, so I popped him again. I got a four minute penalty, which a team mate takes for me, but wasn't tossed out of the game. Trash talking is a part of the game to get the opponent off their game. It's all about the intimidation.

It's a hella sport. My sister plays hockey too, I should ask her if the women fight too or just swear and cuss each other out.
posted by alicesshoe at 7:33 AM on March 7, 2007


It's nice to see the Whalers on the blue. I can't get Brass Bonanza out of my head now but I don't mind.
posted by GalaxieFiveHundred at 7:43 AM on March 7, 2007


Both subsidiary to real reason: The Devils of that era perfected the trap, a strategy perfectly in tune with the dilution of skill that resulted from expansion of the league.

Sort of - the Devils perfected a defensive style of play that kept goals against down but allowed their skilled players to score - That system was then emulated by less skilled teams (Florida Panthers anyone?) and morphed into the truly boring neutral zone trap. There was certainly an expansion-related dilution of talent, but I wouldn't group players like Scott Gomez, Stephane Richer, Petr Sykora, Patrik Elias, Alex Mogilny, Scott Niedermayer and Bobby Holik in that bucket...

It seems like they've resigned themselves to a second-tier status among American sports. Which is a good thing. Trying to be the next NBA is what got them into trouble. I think the sport is doing very well this season.

I'd be curious to see attendance and gate takes for this season - I feel like I see so little on TV now that I have the impression nobody's paying attention, but that may be more a reflection of my overly busy life of late.
posted by jalexei at 8:03 AM on March 7, 2007


Both subsidiary to real reason: The Devils of that era perfected the trap, a strategy perfectly in tune with the dilution of skill that resulted from expansion of the league.

I believe the good old Montreal Canadiens of the undiluted 70s didn't do so terribly with the trap. Jacques Lemaire and Larry Robinson didn't meet in some back room and revolutionize the game of hockey. They learned it from Bowman.

Sort of - the Devils perfected a defensive style of play that kept goals against down but allowed their skilled players to score - That system was then emulated by less skilled teams (Florida Panthers anyone?) and morphed into the truly boring neutral zone trap. There was certainly an expansion-related dilution of talent, but I wouldn't group players like Scott Gomez, Stephane Richer, Petr Sykora, Patrik Elias, Alex Mogilny, Scott Niedermayer and Bobby Holik in that bucket...

But the Panthers had...Scott Mellanby!...and Rob Niedermayer!

As for fighting in hockey, I think it's necessary, not just for the stickwork but for the dangerous positions these guys are in for much of the game. If anyone has a temper without a relatively safe outlet (fighting) you'd probably have more hits from behind and after seeing Erik Cole's injury last year and all of Don Cherry's touch-up icing injury compilations that's quite a bit more dangerous than fighting.
posted by crashlanding at 8:17 AM on March 7, 2007


jalexei - I believe attendance is down but revenue is up. After the lockout many teams dropped their prices to entice fans to come back, then after last year most teams raised their prices. Even the St. Louis Blues after finishing dead last and missing the playoffs for the first time in 25 years raised ticket prices.
posted by crashlanding at 8:19 AM on March 7, 2007


Scott Mellanby!

Good 'ole Mellanhead - that brings back memories. Watched a lot of Flyers hockey on channel 57 with Mike Emrick and Bill Clement. Drove me nuts how they'd pummel NJ pretty much every single time they played back then. In fact my very first live NHL game was in March of '83, a 4-1 pasting at the hands of the Pelle Lindbergh-backstopped Flyers.

I had a friend named Jensen who played goalie and had a Philly jersey customized with his name and the number 33 - spent the entire '85-'86 season explaining to people that yes, he knew Darren Jensen wore number 30, no, he didn't make a mistake when he ordered his shirt, on and on...
posted by jalexei at 9:57 AM on March 7, 2007


if the referees lose control of the game from being less than observant, blood starts to boil.

Absolutely true. As a former linesman I've seen some bad calls/non-calls made by the refs which would plunge the game into total anarchy. Multi person fights, slashing with intent to injure, old grannies yelling at us from the stands. It sucked having to be escorted out by the cops just to make sure nobody would beat the shit out of us as we left. I turned down many offers to become a ref.
posted by Totally Zanzibarin' Ya at 10:09 AM on March 7, 2007


I absolutely hate McCarty. After Lemieux's hit on draper everyone knew there would be retaliation, so with payback on the horizon McCarty suckerpunches him?!?!?!?! It's unbelievably bitch, where was the champion standing for their honor? Lemieux's hit was low class but retaliating in kind was no class at all. When it comes to fist fighting the Avalanche look you in the eye. (and I do agree that Lemieux deserved payback, because the Draper hit was during play with intent to injure)
posted by MNDZ at 1:44 PM on March 7, 2007


My fantastic, non-hockey-fan boyfriend got me a best-of NHL DVD narrated by Denis Leary for Valentine's Day. Swooooon. I miss living in a house in Boston filled with crazy Vermonters who can sing the Hockey Night In Canada theme song something fierce, though.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 4:25 PM on March 7, 2007


The skill and speed of hockey only truly shines when it is taken in contrast with the grittiness and fighting. If you take fighting out, trying to polish the game to perfection, what you see instead is all the flaws coming to the surface: hooking, slashing, spearing, checking from behind, etc. Yes, you could clean it up completely, and you'd end up with something like the NBA, boring.

Hockey is a gritty, tough game. Players take pucks to the face, go and get 9 stitches in the jaw without anastetic and return to the ice, missing only one shift (Jason Smith of the Edmonton Oilers did this). Fighting is an integral part of the game, like it or not; part of the tough-guy culture. And I for one, wish for the return of the bench clearing brawls, they happened only once or twice a season, but man were they exciting.
posted by Vindaloo at 7:49 PM on March 7, 2007


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