One year since deaths of NHL enforcers

Not much has changed in the culture of the National Hockey League since Derek Boogaard, Rick Rypien and Wade Belak – three of hockey’s toughest fighters – died last summer.
Friend of HIO Avi Goldberg, who teaches sociology at Vanier College in Montreal, offers some provocative thoughts on the anniversary of  the enforcers’ untimely passing.
Goldberg, 42, was born in Montreal but grew up in Edmonton watching the great Oilers teams of Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier and, yes, Dave Semenko and Marty McSorley.

You can follow Goldberg on Twitter: @AviGoldberg

We Can’t Find a Solution If We Forget About the Problem

By Avi Goldberg

In the aftermath of tragedy, members of a community join together, reflect on their priorities, consider alternative ways of living, and then slowly return to the routines that marked their lives prior to the upheaval they experienced.

As painful memories and feelings fade over time, it is common that important questions or lessons that arise from difficult circumstances are lost. One year after the summer sports columnist Bruce Arthur described as wretchedfor the hockey community, have we settled into the forgetting stage of the post-tragedy sequence?

With the Olympics on and the NHL staring at a potential work stoppage once again, it is easy to overlook that we have passed the anniversary of the deaths of Derek Boogaard and Rick Rypien and are nearing one year since Wade Belak took his life.

Last summer, however, as the cumulative news of each individual loss looked ominously like a trend, mourning players, league officials, and fans had to digest the fact that three former players, all enforcers, lost their lives within a freakishly short period of time. As the deaths coincided with a period during which heightened attention was being directed at the effects of head shots and concussions, the game of hockey itself came under scrutiny.

A tough question was asked: Was NHL hockey in general, and the enforcer’s role in particular, responsible for the tragedy?

Journalists, hockey insiders, and a range of experts and regular folks used Canada’s national newspapers to weigh in. While some assigned near-total responsibility to the NHL and called for the elimination of fighting, others endorsed the enforcer’s rightful place in the game and challenged the notion that the three deaths be viewed as anything more than coincidence. The commentators’ words demonstrated unity in the experience of grief, but they betrayed a lack of consensus on whether the facts surrounding the deaths pointed to a common cause.

As a tragic summer turned into autumn, the new NHL season began. And following a nasty exchange of recriminations between Don Cherry and former enforcers over the significance of the deaths – plus a New York Times investigation into the life and death of Derek Boogaard – fighters kept doing what they do to keep roster spots in the NHL.

In response to heated public debate that threatened to boil over last summer, the NHL and the Players Association announced they would collaborate to investigate the circumstances of the deaths. Also, league programs designed to assist players in trouble would be evaluated to ensure they deliver appropriate care. Almost one full year later, we await news of even preliminary ideas that may be emerging from this NHL/NHLPA commitment.

For hockey observers who want to know what the league is thinking, and possibly preparing to do, it seems as though the tragedy has been forgotten not long after it was on near constant display.

Supportive of fighting in hockey or not, those who see only coincidence in last summer’s deaths can tolerate the silence. After all, how can a remedy be found for unwanted outcomes that lack a shared cause? But even acknowledging that there are limits to explanations of human behaviour, provocative questions emerging from last summer’s media exchange remain unanswered and untouched in public conversations today.

The most obvious question pertains to the growing body of research that demonstrates clear connections between blows to the head and serious physiological and psychological harm. In light of this knowledge, the NHL has moved to reduce negative consequences of hits to the head by regulating open ice hitting more stringently. But how can the league avoid considering ways to address similar harm resulting from players exchanging bare-knuckle punches to the face and head?

Hockey enforcers are not the only workers that face pressures on the job site. But more questions are raised by non-physical challenges that may be dangerous to a hockey enforcer’s health. These include:

daily battles to manage emotions in order to be always ready to fight

amplified forecasting of economic and career vulnerability during life after hockey

working in a culture of winning and toughness that discourages those whose role it is to patrol and protect the safety of others from venting their emotions.

As each of these experiences can strip away at the perception of control over one’s fate, it may be necessary to explore whether these specific job requirements put the hockey enforcer through psychological duress not experienced by fellow players.

A final question relates to the positive outcomes that can emerge when influential bystanders join the process of turning a private problem into a public issue.

During the economic conflict in the NHL in 2004-2005, for example, Brendan Shanahan was praised for bringing hockey minds together to discuss and repair parts of the game that had broken down. Aside from the players, former and current GMs, scientists, eminent members of the media, and empathetic citizens offered poignant and provocative thoughts on last summer’s tragedy. People with varying types of expertise and experience are concerned about this issue. Can respected individuals among them be tasked with coordinating an official effort to ensure that answers to all remaining questions be pursued?

Even following a thoroughgoing public investigation, it is likely that people will continue to disagree over whether a need exists to treat symptoms or whether there is a cause to be rooted out. Whereas good folks hesitated to seek informed answers last summer due to fears that emotions would get in the way or due to the sense that the timing was not right, now is the moment for members of the hockey community to act.

Failure to do so suggests the deaths of Derek Boogaard, Rick Rypien and Wade Belak have been forgotten.

And that would mean we are OK with – indeed, complicit in – allowing the fighters’ tragedy to happen again.


  1. nfldanchor says:

    There have been hundreds of enforcers over the years who never died tragically or killed themselves or became drug addicts etc… There are players who died tragically in the NFL ,MLB and the NBA too!! Hockey is a rough physical sport and you need guys that can stick up for teammates and protect our top players . If you take fighting out of hockey the sticks will be used as a weapon instead. Also head shots have only increased since the Nhl tried to curb fighting. An enforcer ensures that the cheap shots from other teams players are kept to a minimum and it works . For example if Gionta gets run over by much bigger players like Chara or Lucic there has to be consequences . If it happens this season guys like Prust , Moen ,White and Boullion will step up to the plate . They are not goons but hockey players that can mix it up if they have to in certain situations . Chris Neil is a perfect example of a hockey player who has a combination of skill,leadership and toughness . He took Chara off his feet a few times and when Chara comes to Ottawa he plays a different game because he knows Neil will step up to the plate if needed and deal with him.

  2. I’ve posted numerous articles on my blog about the negative impact of fighting on hockey and I encourage fans to get the facts before repeating all the old myths about why it remains in the game. Teams can play tough without having a goon sitting on the end of the bench. And if fighting reduces cheap shots and violence, why were the late 70’s and 80’s full of stick swinging, spearing, slashing and elbows – when enforcers and fighting was at it’s peak. Today Hockey is the most violent of professional sports because it tolerates fighting. It’s time for the NHL and NHLPA to agree to a 1-game suspension for any fight. That would immediately eliminate the one-dimensional goon and if players want to fight then it would be for a very important reason.

    • Habs_Norway says:

      Must be the craziest thing I’ve ever read.
      Violent? Are you one of those guys (or woman) who calls a slap to the face for “violence” ?

      A thing thats been in the game for 100 years are, guess what, a part of the game.
      I find it funny that the people who are against fighting in hockey are the same people, in 99% of the case, who we used to call hippies.
      The ones who want Cherry dead and want hockey to be like bandy.
      Why don’t you follow that sport instead, I mean, its skating, stickhandling. No contact. No fighting.
      Lots of swedes and finns. Thumbs up.
      Say no to visors and sign Emelin for 10 years

  3. twilighthours says:

    Yo yo – new thread up

  4. habsnyc says:

    I am incredulous as I read this article. Montreal conducted an exhaustive search to find a GM and coach to redeem the team from the plethora of embarassing organizational missteps. The end result was hiring a couple guys whose strategy is to goon it up. Instead of focusing on scoring and skill, the GM chose to add pugilists and agitators to the roster.

    Bottom of the league teams like Montreal who seek legitimacy by gaining hedgemony in pugilism perpetuate violence in hockey. It is easier to overpay a goon than lure a skill player. It is easier to promote someone whose chief asset is size than develop a skill player. Perhaps management chose to over pay for the player with the most fights because they lack the skill to bring legitimate talent to this city or perhaps they believe that they need fighting to win. Either way, I am not impressed.

    Blue, blanc et rouge. Red and White for Canada. Blue for Smurfs.

    • Cal says:

      An NHL team must reflect the league as it is, not in some utopian mirage of what it should be. The Habs have been too easy to play against for too long. Skill must be tempered with toughness. Jean Beliveau was the epitome of skill in his day. His 2nd year in the NHL, he led the league in penalties. Le Gros Bill had to demonstrate over and over that he wasn’t going to take any crap from anyone. That is an ingredient of what is missing in today’s skilled players. They are too soft, especially compared with the 50’s and 60’s generation of players.

  5. DorvalTony says:

    Looking forward to Boone telling Prust he should retire.

    “Hi, this is P.J. Stock for Depends.”

    • commandant says:

      Prust can actually play hockey and would still have a role in an NHL lineup, for his hitting, skating, and ability to kill penalties even without fighting.

      Same with Moen.

      Guys like John Scott, Colton Orr, and George Parros are the ones who would be gone.

      Go Habs Go!
      Check out Top Shelf Prospects, my Team by Team prospect reports

  6. joeybarrie says:

    Ladies soccer…
    What can you do?
    The ref was bad. BEYOND BAD… The whole idea of having a referee or arbitration on the field is to ensure the game is played fairly. The game was not played fairly.
    The free kick was a joke of a call. But it is within the rules, and I can certainly understand it being called.
    Now the resulting penalty shot. That was truly a disgrace. There are two rules that come into play for this call. One is did the player have time to get out of the way? To me, NO. Two, did the player move her hand towards the ball? I saw the replay a few times, and to me she was moving away from the ball. So again NO.
    But calling a borderline call, after such a dumb foul and to give a penalty shot to almost guarantee the game be tied up is just poor decision making.
    To be honest, I believe the Ref should never be allowed to be in charge of another ‘big’ game again.

    But this stuff happens. Its not the first time the American girls have pulled it out in the dying seconds. They never quit.

    For me its just very unfortunate. The girls deserved more and it was the fault of the refs that they did not get it. They were the better team on the night.

    We will see how they respond. Can they win the bronze, and hopefully USA will lose, cause in my mind they do not deserve a gold. And its sad that I feel like that, cause its not fair. But if life were FAIR, the Habs would not have had 300+ or whatever it was man games lost to injury, especially to two of our more important players. AGAIN…
    But at least we got the 3rd round pick for it…

    • bleedhabs81 says:

      Not to mention the number of Corners given to the US when they should have been goal kicks, goal kicks which should have been corners for Canada… and that missed called that allowed play to continue which resulted in the US shot on net (and resulting penalty)

      I said it to my wife at about 12 minutes in, the Ref seems to be giving the US all the close calls….

      I kind of want to go back and see if I am biased or if there really was a staggering number of calls that went in favour of the US (besides the obvious game changer).

      • SmartDog says:

        >I said it to my wife at about 12 minutes in, the Ref seems to be >giving the US all the close calls….

        I had the same observation. I was thinking: “the ref is going to have to make some calls favoring Canada to balance this out”… instead of course she kept up her American bias. Which to me has to be at some level intentional. She couldn’t let the `’wrong team lose”. Imagine if she hadn’t listened to Wambaugh counting seconds! Just imagine what the US could do to her! Canada can do NOTHING. The US are bulies, that’s all they showed. Canada was the better soccer team and should be in the gold medal round. I can only hope that Japan takes it to them and wipes the smile off their obnoxious, unsportsmanlike faces.

        Listen to the Smart Dog. He knows his poop!

    • habfan01 says:

      Didn’t see the game, so I can’t comment one way or the other. What I found interesting reading the after game comments was that all I needed to do was substitute Canadiens for Canadians, Toronto/Boston Philly etc for USA and NHL/Bettman for FIFA/ IOC and it was just like reading comments after a Habs loss.

    • Chris says:

      The free kick was a far worse call than the penalty shot.

      I’ve seen penalty kicks awarded for far less egregious “handling” offences, and I’ve seen them not awarded for far more egregious “handling” offences. The fact that the ball struck not two Canadian arms and could have gone into the net had it not struck the second arm was grounds enough for a penalty kick. No card was awarded, meaning that the referee understood that the play was not deliberate.

      But while the letter of the rule was violated on the six-second violation, that is an unheard of call to make in an international soccer game. It almost never happens. They had to go back to 2002 to find the last one in the Premiership, and people have been racking their brains to come up with any other examples.

      As for the refereeing throughout the game, Canadians are protesting too much at the one-sidedness of the calls. We were the victims of a couple bad corner kick calls, they were the victims of a couple of bad throw-in calls. Canada probably should have had a penalty kick on the Rapinoe handling in the penalty area, although that was marginal enough that many refs wouldn’t have called it. But on at least two occasions, American forwards were brought down in the penalty area on bookable offences. Tancredi very probably deserved a red card (and may still be suspended) for the cleat to Lloyd’s head, and certainly could have earned a second yellow card after accumulating seven fouls and countless other plays that should have been fouls. Tancredi was playing completely out of control in that game, as was American forward Abby Wambach who had two studs up challenges that easily could have been yellow cards.

      That game was a gong show on both sides. We just got dinged with the really egregious call that tied the game. The first two American goals were perfectly legitimate, as was the winner.

      I have no problems with the outrage over the awarding of the indirect free kick…that was a completely puzzling call that baffled almost every experienced announcer in the world. But to assert that the Americans were the beneficiaries of the vast majority of calls is pure homerism and is simply not based in reality.

    • Habs_Norway says:

      I’m embarresed to be Norwegian after seeing this referee.
      Just like with Norwegian hockey; they dont know what they are doing.

      Say no to visors and sign Emelin for 10 years

  7. kempie says:

    Dennis Bernstein ‏@DennisTFP
    per @NYDNRangers – Shane Doan agent Terry Bross confirmed team outside of New York has offered 4 year deal worth at least $7 million per

    On an over-35 contract signed on the eve of a work stoppage and a new CBA? Save us from ourselves indeed. GMs are like crackheads who just can’t help themselves.

    • shiram says:

      If Doan can get a 4 year 28 million deal, and Semin 7 millions on one year, I don’t see why a team would not take a 3-4 million risk on AK46.
      But yeah these deals are getting quite ridiculous, then again it seems that more and more older players retain alot of their skills, strenght and game.

      • kempie says:

        I think AK is planB for a few teams. I bet, once Doan signs, AK signs within a day or two.

        Fehr must love watching Parise/Suter, the 14 yr. offer sheet and now this contract while the owners suggest 5 yr limits etc.

        And if there’s any oldtimers who can still deliver, Doan’s probably one of them.

  8. frontenac1 says:

    Anybody else think Custio Clayton was shafted in that fight yesterday? Man, I thought he should have won that decision over Evans. I mean he won 2 rounds and is tied 14-14 after three,and they give it to Evans on a countback? Evans was warned three times on head holding and no points deducted? Total BS!
    You gotta love that Clayton kid for handling himself with class after the fight, praising Evans. A good Maritime Lad!

    • JUST ME says:

      He sure was ! It is so pathetic that nobody is doing anything about it anymore although Clayton filed a former protest.
      That whole tournament was a shame .
      The Azerbaijan vs Japan fight last week was a shame to the point that they fired a judge.
      For another fight they hired a 15 year old judge cause they could not find anybody else !

      I am kind of tired to see canadians considered the unofficial winners…

    • commandant says:

      Someone else, another writer Greg Persson, not me… thought so too.

      Go Habs Go!
      Check out Top Shelf Prospects, my Team by Team prospect reports

    • Trisomy 21 says:

      I remember watching a boxing match in Beijing where a Canadian was doing quite well in the last round in a very close match, but every hit he landed was not counted and several punches that he blocked were counted as pioints for the other guy, even the commentary pointed this out. That was when I knew boxing was fixed in the Olympics. I’m not surprised it happened again, just angered that it happened against Canada again.

  9. boing007 says:

    I don’t mind a fight in the heat of battle.

    Richard R
    Price is an oyster. Unfortunately not all oysters produce pearls.

  10. accp says:

    Regardless whether the Canadian Ladies soccer team would have won or lost against the USA is not the question.

    this Norwegian Referee should be taken into a room in front of the canadian Ladies soccer team and on a big screen shown her mistakes that cost the Canadian Girls a chance of beating the USA

    after review she should have to apologize to the Canadian team
    for her mistakes all be it. they lost the chance for a Gold medal but this would mean a little redemption….

    • Timo says:

      The ref was bought, plain and simple. Heck, I reffed for a few years and I know I could have been bought. Easily. Just no-one ever offered. But I could have.

      • habsfan0 says:

        How much would it have taken?

      • habstrinifan says:

        I find the word ‘bought’ to be so crude. I coached for many years and I could have been ‘persuaded’.

        I remember one soccer-mom in particular whose scion had neither the equivalent physically superior components nor athletically tuned proportions of his mom.

        The poor lad often sat on the bench for long stretches. Which, as I look back, is regretful. I blame the mom though. While it would have been as excruciatingly painful to watch as Scott Gomez’s game, she had all the tools to persuade me to play the laddy as much as JM played Scotty.

        At least one of us would have come away with a good experience.

    • rnbws.ncronwrcr says:

      keep your head cool!

  11. accp says:

    not to be out spoken and I’m deeply sadden for the familys and for the players that have passed on. most of these guys made it in the NHL because of what they did. and that was fight. they loved the game of hockey so not being as skilled as some players they played the game the only way they knew how. I’m sure they knew fighting for a living there would be consequences and they took their chances and it’s still happening.

    it’s like joining the military. it’s a job and it’s what you want to do. but you know what the consequences could be if your called upon to go to war.

    I think there will always be fighting in hockey especially at the NHL level. if they take it out some players won’t be around. but I’m afraid. stick work will increase along with other dirty tactics. fighting is not the problem. it’s the cheap shots and the dirty work. some people should talk to Pacioretty, Crosby and Savard if they need to know more…..

    • shiram says:

      There’s a world of difference between a soldier and a hockey player, one works for entertainment, the other should work to protect and help his country and ally.
      It’s also up to the employers to provide a safe workplace environment, like replacing the stanchion with the rounded post.
      Removing the unskilled goons and enforcers would be a boon to hockey, having more place for skilled players is definitely a good thing.
      Saying stick work will increase is a guess at best, and it is up to the league to make sure referees are armed with necessary technology to ensure they can properly enforce the rules. Having the players mete out their own justice just means you have biased judge and executionner!

    • rnbws.ncronwrcr says:

      cool that head!

    • JUST ME says:

      We must not forget the road they took to get to the NHL. Although we consider though guys to have less hockey talent than most others ,those guys still are way better than the average minor league players and got to climb the ladder for hockey reasons. At one point though their role was altered because of their physical strenght.At a certain age you would do anything for your team mates at another you would do anything to make it to the show. There is a world of difference there.

      I am sure that some of those guys like a good fight but not everyone and not at any age.

      I am sure of one thing though and nobody can pretend otherwise, if fighting is banned then cheap shots will be the norm.

      The best way to clean up the house would be to get rid of career fighters but then again i am not sure that it is on the NHL level that the job needs to be done. If there are none of those career fighters to be drafted then none will be.

      • shiram says:

        Having the NHL take a very hard stance on fighting would have a trickle down effect, and the leagues below it would match their steps, they are basically building players for the NHL so they have to make sure to create a similar environment.

        I’d like for you to expand on how banning fighting would increase cheap shots, if the league is serious about protecting it’s players and enforcing it’s rules, there should be no place for cheap shots either.

        • JUST ME says:

          I known that the NHL has to set the example but it goes both ways and minor leaguers will do anything to get to the NHL if you let them.

          If there are any cheap shots it`s as much the player`s fault as it is the league `s . If in real life your colleagues would show the same level of respect for each other as in the NHL, things would be unbearable.

  12. commandant says:

    A new Top Shelf Prospects is out, with a look at the Stanley Cup Champion LA Kings

    Go Habs Go!
    Check out Top Shelf Prospects, my Team by Team prospect reports

  13. HabFanSince72 says:

    Can you imagine if there was fighting in football?

    The players line up across from each other.

    The centre snaps the ball to the QB, who drops back. Within 2 seconds the play is whistled dead.

    Two guys have removed their helmets and are dancing around each other in a boxer’s crouch.

    All the other players stop what they’re doing to watch the fight.

    The two come together and start throwing punches at each other. After 30 sec or so the refs break it up and the fighters are escorted to the touchline. Play resumes.

    Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.

    • HabFanSince72 says:

      Or this.

      It’s first and ten at the 50 yard line. The Steelers send out John Scott(*) in the tight end position. Scott can’t run, block or catch. In fact he’s not remotely good enough to play in the NFL. But he likes to fight.

      Seeing this the Packers take off one of their defensive players and send out George Parros(*) to line up across from Scott. Parros also can’t play football. Can barely run backwards, and in fact doesn’t even bother learning the plays.

      The ball is snapped and Parros and Scott remove their helmets for a fight.

      After they are escorted from the field play resumes, still first and ten at the 50.

      (*) These are fictional names.

      Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.

    • commandant says:

      exactly… sports doesn’t get much more physical than football and rugby.

      Yet these two sports are able to control the amount of cheap shots, and don’t get out of hand (they obviously have some cheap shots, but its not any worse than hockey, showing that things don’t get worse without fighting) without having fighting as the deterrent. They are able to effectively police the sport with penalties and suspensions.

      So why can’t hockey?

      Go Habs Go!
      Check out Top Shelf Prospects, my Team by Team prospect reports

      • Natrous says:

        Don’t kid yourself – fights still happen in football, and there are just as many if not more cheap shots that go undetected both during and away from the play.

        The biggest difference between both sports is that they have 5x as many refs in football than hockey that can call an infraction. If there were more eyes on (or off) the ice that could signal a penalty or cheap shot, then the refs would do a better job of keeping the game in check before things got out of hand.

        It doesn’t help that far too often the ref who is out of position makes a bad call because the ref in position didn’t do anything, but that’s something the NHL has to get figured out in terms of consistency (of which there is none).

        • commandant says:

          There are double the players on the field in football and the field itself is 2.5 x as big. There is no reason why this can’t be done.

          We don’t see the cheap shots get out of hand in the Olympics, when winning and losing a single game means everything, and there is no fighting. Why is that?

          We don’t see it get out of hand at the NCAA level, where fighting is not allowed.

          But somehow the NHL level will all of the sudden go crazy.

          Go Habs Go!
          Check out Top Shelf Prospects, my Team by Team prospect reports

          • Natrous says:

            We don’t see a lot of cheap shots in the Olympics because a) there are fewer games contested and even a one-game ban means A LOT, and b) many cheap shots (head shots, slew foot, etc) result in an automatic game misconduct.

            You can’t really compare the two because the rulebooks are totally different. If we converted to IIHF rules, hockey “purists” would be irate and many North American hockey fans would be very turned off.

            The penalties for fighting in the NCAA are similar to IIHF – fight and you’re out. All this to say, there is clearly an element within the NHL that knows fights = ratings = money, which is why this argument is pointless. This won’t change until someone dies from injuries caused directly from a fight (see bare-knuckle boxing).

          • commandant says:

            So what you are saying is that with proper rules, and proper enforcement of those rules, we can effectively police cheap shotting, and not need fighting to do it for us?

            Seems to me the leagues cited are able to do it.

            Yes, a 1 game ban means more in the IIHF than it does in the NHL regular season. So we have a simple fix… give a heck of a lot more than a 1 game ban for any dirty play that is an attempt to injure. Enforce it effectively and consistently.

            Don’t even need a new rule book, just enforce the one you have.

            Go Habs Go!
            Check out Top Shelf Prospects, my Team by Team prospect reports

      • HammerHab says:

        I think it’s the speed of the game that brings out the cheap shots. Also football plays only last a few seconds, giving you time for cooler heads to prevail.


        It’ll always be Habs Inside/Out to me

        • commandant says:

          Is the game not faster at the Olympics?

          Go Habs Go!
          Check out Top Shelf Prospects, my Team by Team prospect reports

          • Habs_Norway says:

            Politics, man..
            Thats the only reason they (at least the majority) don’t fight.
            Not because that the crowd doesnt want it. Just the opposite.
            Look at Arthuykin who fought last Olympics for the russians.
            Fan favorite ever since. The Olympics are for families.
            “families” doesnt like fighting.
            BUT when there IS a fight, they cheer. Funny..
            The big elephant in the room.

            Say no to visors and sign Emelin for 10 years

    • Habs_Norway says:

      I dont understand why you guys mix in other sports?
      Are other sports played in this fast tempo with guys crashing into eachother 30 times during a match, talking sh1t to eachother and out-psyching eachother?
      Are other sports played with skates and heavy armor?
      I mean, come on.. If i hit “you” in the face , bare knuckled, its not the same as if i ought to do that with skates and hockeygear.
      All my life Ive seen like 5 hockeyfights that goes under the term “fight”.

      Two guys pounding eachothers helmets and wrestling are not a fight, never the less “violence”.

      I.E soccer, if a player is touched in the face he rolls over 20 times and you should think he has been stabbed with a knife in the nose 10 times instead. Just pathetic.
      THEN you can talk about guys making money.
      Look at Messi or Ronaldo. God damn actors. Little girls crying every single game just because they got a hand struck to their pretty face.

      But thats the difference between hockey and other sports. Hockey are for men (am I allowed to say that in the metrosexual world of 2012??) and soccer/basketball/no contact sports are for everybody else.
      If you dont like it; dont watch it.
      But dont be a leftie (pinko) trying to change the game just so you can like it.

      “if you do this and this i would watch the game.”
      Thats whats going on in Europe. The families and “tourists” (spectators, not fans) are the ones beeing heard.
      Then the fans leave. And when the spectators find something else to follow, they too are gone. Now, theres no one left.

      Listen to the FANS. Not the audience.
      Big difference.

      Say no to visors and sign Emelin for 10 years

    • nfldanchor says:

      There have been numerous fights in football ,basketball and huge brawls in baseball too!!!! So you don’t have to imagine it ,it happens in all professional sports. Look up MLB fights or NFL fights on youtube and then rethink your comment!!!

  14. SmartDog says:

    I love these comments by our Canadian women. Good for them!

    And FIFA is holding off its decision until after the bronze metal game… I hope it’s to look at the tapes and see how ridiculous a lot of her calls were… or maybe to see if she was out drinking too late the night before.

    Listen to the Smart Dog. He knows his poop!

    • Chris says:

      To be honest, there was no way FIFA would risk even more negative publicity by suspending Sinclair and Herdman for their post-match comments during the tournament. Tancredi is still no in the clear…I wouldn’t be surprised if they announce a suspension for her today for the Carli Lloyd incident.

      But you can bet on that all three of them will be suspended for multiple matches after the tournament, when all attention has died down, with the suspensions applied to the Women’s World Cup qualifying matches.

      This is how FIFA (and UEFA) work. Nicklas Bendtner, the Danish striker who pulled down his shorts exposing underwear supporting an Irish gambling company, was not suspended during the Euros but was more quietly suspended for the team’s next World Cup qualifying matches.

    • Timo says:

      I didn’t like comments by Canadian Soccer Association. Basically they are saying they will fully cooperate with FIFA, yadda yadda… For once I would like Canada to say FU, you effed up and go eff yourselves… or something like that. How about a public support for the athletes (those that don’t make millions and literally are playing for the love of the game?)

    • habstrinifan says:

      This is a very wise and FAIR decision by FIFA. No need to adjudicate right now on remarks said by players in the passion of a loss after those players had done what the entire OLYMPIC games pray is done by the special athletes, who attain standing in the OLYMPIC games. Give the world an olympian moment. The Canadian Ladies Soccer team did exactly that! This game will have long lasting beneficial influence on Ladies Soccer internationally. It was such a high quality game.

      As for Canadians and especially the Canadian governing body of soccer. Take the approach and advice of the Globe and Mail article which can be found in this sublink from your link SmartDog.

      Rejoice in and re-dedicate to the excellence shown by our ladies.

  15. The Dude says:

    As far as I can see the Habs are at the forefront at not fighting back or when they do ,don’t hit anything….problem solved!

  16. frontenac1 says:

    I hear ya Commandant! I”ve killed plenty of my own brain cells over the years from various forms of substance abuse. Some of it legal,some not so much.

  17. commandant says:

    Hey, remember at the turn of the 20th century (ie the 1900s) when we banned bare knuckle boxing because it was unsafe?

    Yeah, why do we still allow it in hockey?

    Go Habs Go!
    Check out Top Shelf Prospects, my Team by Team prospect reports

    • Habs_Norway says:

      Read up on who lobbied the ban for bare knuckles!!
      Then you will find out that the man pressing for the ban, was the man who owned the worlds first glove-company.
      Safety? Come on.. NO ONE cares about other peoples safety.

      Its ALL lobbyism. Nothing else. Just like the equipment companies doesnt go back to the old Sherwood-pads. Even though EVERY SINGLE HOCKEY EXPERT say that would take away alot of injuries; beeing that the elbow pads are stone hard, along with the shoulderpads.

      But do you think Bauer, CCM, RBK etc will go “back” ?
      No one goes back.
      Only Don Cherry. And no one likes him.

      Say no to visors and sign Emelin for 10 years

  18. HABZ24 says:

    Whats the delay signing pk. ? Getter done habs stop dickn around

    • commandant says:

      DelZotto, Kulikov, Carlson, Jamie Benn, and Ryan O’Reilly are all unsigned

      Last year Drew Doughty signed in October.

      In 2010, Carey Price signed the day before training camp in September.

      Go Habs Go!
      Check out Top Shelf Prospects, my Team by Team prospect reports

  19. accp says:

    some players will always need protection especially your small ones and the skilled ones that’s why you’ll never see fighting out of the game. in some cases. it puts fans in the seats.

    wait till Boston comes to Montreal this year. fans will come to see Prust take on Lucic or Thornton or what ever tough guy comes to town. it’s money in the Bank and the owners love it.

    not saying it’s right. but money is money and isn’t that what the NHL is all about. just have to check some of the contracts to confirm….

    • commandant says:


      The Bruins are full of tough guys… but that didn’t protect Marc Savard from being hit by Matt Cooke.

      It didn’t protect Patrice Bergeron.

      It didn’t protect Nathan Horton.

      Lets be honest… its not about protection, its about revenge.

      Go Habs Go!
      Check out Top Shelf Prospects, my Team by Team prospect reports

      • Bill H says:

        So true. Revenge….and money. NHL may never take it out of the game. Maybe some day, the police will press charges and the courts will prosecute. But that doesn’t seem likely to happen in the near future.

      • Ron says:

        It was after the hits on Savard and Bergeron that the bruins became a tougher team to play againist. They developed the pack mentality and came after people in a group instead of one on one. It can be debated that the Horton hit was late but not head hunting, Rome was suspended and therefore no one went after him cause he was immediately was give the game and the playoffs were over. Your idea of revenge is abit off in this case I think Ben.

    • Cal says:

      The Bell Centre has been sold out for Habs games since the lockout. It doesn’t matter if the Habs are playing the Whoarethey Whatchamacallits, the arena will be filled.
      Boston, which doesn’t have many issues selling out, has decided to go the goon route to try to draw more fans. Even their moronic broadcaster on NESN goes all out to draw the fans into that gladiator-type entertainment.

    • JUST ME says:

      Problem is it cannot be left untouched and must not be sanitized either. Hockey is a fast and physical sport and there are consequences that goes with it. But if it`s a free for all then you get revenge violence,worthless acts, and useless injuries.

      I think we all have to make a realistic picture of what hockey is and what it should be. It`s not all-star game type of hockey but not a rollerskating type of freak show either.

  20. frontenac1 says:

    Hola Amigos!
    I love fighting in hockey. Always have ,always will!

    • commandant says:

      People love lots of things that are unsafe and kill brain cells… thats usually why we need to have laws and rules that prohibit them.

      Go Habs Go!
      Check out Top Shelf Prospects, my Team by Team prospect reports

      • Habs_Norway says:

        Would you be satisfied if every man woman and child lived for 150 years?
        Please, ban everything that CAN do some harm.
        Thats the way the world is heading.
        Say no to visors and sign Emelin for 10 years

    • Ron says:

      I like the hockey fights as well and actually get a replay on hockeyfights to view again. I am not an aggressive person in daily life but i am not a sit back and hide in the corner person either. If the league wanted to ban fighting they would but the old guard still prevails.

  21. Kfourn says:

    Anyone else think that there is going to be a comparable contract for both Del Zotto and Subban. They have similar career numbers, and are both young playing significant minutes. I’m not saying that they are the same player, but maybe one is waiting for the other to sign to gauge what he should get.

    Well, he’s kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace “accidentally” with “repeatedly” and replace “dog” with “son.”

    “It’s sad when our rookies have no NHL experience before they jump up to the NHL.” – nunacanadien

  22. boing007 says:

    So happy _______, my lord what day is it?

    It doesn’t matter what day it is as long as it’s a pleasant one.

    Richard R
    Price is an oyster. Unfortunately not all oysters produce pearls.

  23. Ian Cobb says:

    After concussion, severe depression and it kills.!

    What is a concussion?, as comprehended and explained by myself.
    I have been involved as a lay person with research pertaining to neurology at a major medical university. I have picked up a lot of information working first with veterinarian pathologists when I was doing research on my fox and mink ranch with calcium. And I have been involved lately with the neurology research dept. from a major medical university. Only as the handler of my research birds involved in the study and offering some of my former findings from my own autopsy’s So I do not profess to be an expert on the subject pertaining to concussion, but I will try to explain, the best that I can, what happens to the brain cells that have been concussed inside the skull. And why one must stay completely resting after a concussion.

    The very soft brain cells, when violently thrown against the skull, are damaged and the neuron releases a potassium chemical out of the brain cell. Leaving a void. Calcium that is already present around the outside of the cells, seeps into the cells replacing the potassium. This calcium is what gives the chemical imbalance to the brain and is what causes the damage. Until all of this calcium leaves the brain cells completely, and it can take a long time, depending on how much calcium was taken on each cell. The patient is left extremely vulnerable to instant death upon a second bump, or at least permanent brain damage as the calcium solidifies upon second impact. Even a hard coughing spell or light exercise can cause severe pain and damage. Complete rest is needed.
    These damaged cells have to be cleared completely of this calcium before one can resume activity to avoid more serious consequences including death. This is very acute in young people under the age of 24 as the brain is still growing and developing. Please, coaches and parents know this, every severe contact to the head can cause some cells to expel potassium and take on calcium. A second, even slight bump, of the cells still containing calcium, can be even more serious!!.
    Ian Cobb

  24. Ian Cobb says:

    Women’s soccer!
    If they go after our quality coach and players for speaking the truth about the officiating, well we need to bring our girls home to where they are respected. Rather than play another game under such fictitious refereeing. That game was Canada’s and it was stolen from them. The hell with the bronze game, we all know they were to play for gold or silver.
    Canada is a smaller voice in the world, but we have always stood for fair play!

    • Lafleurguy says:

      With you on this one. “Fictitious,” sham, bogus, mock, spurious….

      “May you live in interesting times.”

    • ed lopaz says:

      It has been announced that there will be no disciplinary measures taken until after the bronze medal game.

      I say we win the freakin bronze medal and put the rest of this behind us.

      There is a time to complain – AFTER we win the bronze medal

      so our women can step on to the podium and remember that moment for the rest of their lives.

      Anything done to jeopardize that podium moment is a mistake.

    • JUST ME says:

      News from London this morning states that no further action will be taken against the canadian team this time…And that the ref from the Canada-Usa game will not be working on the semi-finals and final of the tournament. That tells it all.

      The FIFA is a bit like the NHL. They know they have a problem but would rather not see it,admit it or do anything about it.

  25. If this story is still up when I get time to post later I’d like to tell a story about PTSD, Post concussion syndrom and depression.

    There is a huge connection, and it kills those who feel they are alone and by alone I don’t mean family and friends.

    But it’s 24 degrees, and soon it will be well above 30 on my Island so we’re headed to my Beach.

    So happy _______, my lord what day is it?

    What’s your name son?
    They Call Me Shane
    “They never asked to be Canadiens, they were Chosen.”
    Shane Oliver
    Twitter @Sholi2000
    Custom Sports Figures

  26. Lafleurguy says:

    Back on August 8, 1992 the late John Kordic was found dead of a drug overdose. There is eerie similarity to the late Derek Boogaard’s death last year. Back then, there wasn’t the hyperanalyses that now happens instantaneously in the Internet Universe. John Kordic was profiled back then as someone who detested the enforcer role, and was a proficient scorer in junior hockey.

    In reading up on this matter, there have been suicides by less prominent ex-NHLers (T. Cavanagh, R. Lyashenko to name two) that largely went unnoticed but speak to the same issues. One more sad note, Jordan Tootoo, and his family lost Terence, Jordan’s brother to suicide. Terence Tootoo made it to the ECHL after growing up in Rankin Inlet, Nunavut. He was 22 years old when he died.

    “May you live in interesting times.”

    • Natrous says:

      That’s the first time I’ve ever seen the words “Kordic” and “proficient scorer” used in the same sentence. He put up some assists and that’s about it.

  27. HabFanSince72 says:

    If you had polled cigarette smokers on whether or not smoking should be banned in public spaces like restaurants and airplanes, what would the result have been?

    But if you poll smokers on whether they want their kids to take up smoking, what would the result be?

    Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.

    • Lafleurguy says:

      I like your analogy.

      “May you live in interesting times.”

    • chemic says:

      im not takein my kids to the club or to a sportsbar. please explain me, when there are two sportsbar, one smoking and the other onw without, why have there be a law to bann smoking from the one bar.

      the argument abozt second smoking is invalid because in this chase you have a choice to avoid smoke. if someone who hates smoking want to come down into the cloud of smoke its his free wish and his choice. if someone chooses to go there why has the other one to backup?……its plain and simple stupid and unfair.

      • boing007 says:

        “Liberty is allowing people to do things you disapprove of.”
        John Mortimer, author, ‘Rumpole of the Bailey’.

        Richard R
        Price is an oyster. Unfortunately not all oysters produce pearls.

    • Habs_Norway says:

      No, and “its their choice”.
      Freedom to choose+information. CORRECT information, not propaganda.

      Say no to visors and sign Emelin for 10 years

  28. HardHabits says:

    This site needs to work at correcting this small font issue. I refuse to even attempt to read such poorly displayed text.

  29. Psycho29 says:

    <—- Happy 65th Birthday Ken Dryden

    Man I feel old !

    • Habfan10912 says:

      Are you kidding? 65? He still looks pretty good, eh?


      • Psycho29 says:

        I still remember the playoff run in ’71…incredible!

        Something interesting from Wikipedia:
        “Dryden was drafted fourteenth overall by the Boston Bruins in the 1964 NHL Amateur Draft. Later the same day, Boston traded Dryden to the Montreal Canadiens, along with Alex Campbell, for Paul Reid and Guy Allen, whom the Bruins highly valued.
        Dryden was informed by his agent that he had been drafted by the Canadiens, and did not find out until the mid-1970s that he had originally been a Bruin.”

      • Lafleurguy says:

        Not to be argumentative but like many of us, this alumnus of the Cornell Big Red has put on some! The most articulate NHLer ever (although I was very impressed with Stu Grimson!!! last fall).

        “May you live in interesting times.”

      • HabinBurlington says:

        He certainly does Jim, as great a goalie as ever donned the Habs uniform. The only possible blemish on his resume is the 72 series where he just didn’t seem to get on track. Granted he was still very young then, and no one had ever faced a team like the Russians before.

        Happy Birthday Ken!

        • Lafleurguy says:

          I agree with you, G, but others will advocate for the accomplishments of Georges Vezina, George Hainsworth, Bill Durnan, Jacques Plante, and of course, Patrick (read-my-name) Roy.

          “May you live in interesting times.”

          • Cal says:

            Dryden’s 258 wins, 57 losses and 74 ties in 397 NHL games speaks for itself. So does his 6 Cups in 8 seasons.

  30. 24 Cups says:

    Negotiations for the new NHL CBA aren’t just about salary. It’s also a great opportunity to re-examine the working conditions and try and collectively rectify any outstanding issues relating to the game itself.

    There will never be a better time than now to address the issue that Mike Boone has just outlined. The key factor being that this isn’t a bargaining chip that one side or another has to put on the table. It should be a mutual discussion item that is worked on so that it will benefit the players as well as the game.

    • Habfan10912 says:

      Agree. It’s almost shocking some of these aren’t in place already, huh? Unlike a more aggressive drug testing program discussed below some of these suggestions above appear noncontroversial. Maybe its the old “who”s going to pay for them” argument.


      • Lafleurguy says:

        Big “Hello!” Always great to read you online. Before I post something that has some big nasty slapping me down, just want to greet one of the most friendly Habs fan in this neck of the woods, or anywhere. All roads lead to Rome, but I also noticed many lead to Schenectady when my better half and I drove by on our way to Concord and Ogunquit. Have a great day bud, and remember your friends on HIO when you land your next big one!

        “May you live in interesting times.”

  31. Fighting probably does cause lasting brain damage…so do body checks. If you get rid of fighting to reduce head injuries then why not get rid of hitting altogether?
    Another point is that a lot of if not most of the players take drugs…either recreational, performance enhancing or prescription. Often the affect of these drugs can lead to depression and sometimes suicide. Maybe its time the NHL instituted a mandatory drug testing policy that was serious (not the joke of a system they have in place now).

    The greatest Canadiens and NHL news-site:
    Twitter: @teliopost

    • 24 Cups says:

      I enjoy visiting your site but couldn’t you come up with a better username? Isn’t it a bit too obvious? Is there no Hab or hockey related name that you would like to post under?

    • Just a Habs Fan says:

      I can’t wait to watch hoickey players earning 5-10 million a year with no body checking……no drugs………….no lifting the puck. Actually some already play this way. You know drugs is one thing I agree with but the rough side of hockey is the appealing side for me and many who watch it….I think anyhow. Fighting is not necessary in my mind for hockey to be entertaining but checking and rough play has to have a place in the game. These high salaries we see players making are incredible. It’s not the lower end mucker who is getting these high salaries for the most part but it is these players that do the work in the trenches…yes fighting and the really physical aspect.

      I wonder how many fans actually realize we are paying these high salaries and also through the endorsements the elite players especially have with various brands of foods and apparel just to name a couple. Even if you decide not to watch another game guess what when you drink that gatorade or slip on the Nike sneakers…well you can figure it out. So yes take out fighting and checking by all means….can’t wait…….drugs are another topic but it is difficult for me to beleive most players take illegal drugs…..really though how does one get to know these personal things about people they most likely don’t know at all ?

      Just some thoughts.

    • Phil C says:

      You don’t have to get rid of hitting, just unnecessarily violent hits. You hit to separate the player from the puck. The way Emelin hits would be a great template. He hits hard, he knocks people down, but I don’t remember him giving anyone a concussion and he does not target the head, with maybe the late hit he threw on Malone being an exception. I would even accept violent hits if it is caused by the attacking players speed like when Subban stood up Marchand. Even then, I don’t think Marchand left the game.

      Just take out late hits and do not allow the defending player to skate at full speed and then hit.

      • neumann103 says:

        Yes. There is a lot of lining guys up from 30 feet away and driving them into the boards 2 full seconds after they got rid of the puck.

        Today this is called “finishing your check”

        In the big, bad rough and tumble 1970s it was called charging

        That has to go.

        “Et le but!”

        • HabinBurlington says:

          100% agreement here Neumann! Finishing the Check is either Charging or Interference, it quite simply is a tactic to slow the other team down and inflict pain on the opposition. When watching Classic games from the 70’s even the Flyers didn’t use this tactic the way it is done today.

        • boing007 says:

          Charging is exactly what it is. Chara charged Pacioretty.

          Richard R
          Price is an oyster. Unfortunately not all oysters produce pearls.

      • Malreg says:

        Yes, the main goal of hitting is to separate the player from the puck, but whoever actually thinks that is the only purpose of hitting has never played competitive contact hockey. Right or wrong, it’s about so much more than that. It’s also about intimidation, wearing your opponent down, setting the tone of a game, etc.

        Of course all those things can be done cleanly, but the whole notion of hitting is just about separating a player from the puck is nonsense.

        • Kfourn says:


          Well, he’s kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace “accidentally” with “repeatedly” and replace “dog” with “son.”

          “It’s sad when our rookies have no NHL experience before they jump up to the NHL.” – nunacanadien

        • Phil C says:

          I never said hitting is “just” about separating the player from the puck. Did you click the link? I think not, because I included it to make it clear what kind of hits I consider acceptable.

          You imply that you have played competitive contact hockey, so answer me this: You say all of these things can be done cleanly: How exactly can you intimidate cleanly? Are you saying you would be intimated by the other team if you knew they were only hitting cleanly?

          I know the only type of player that intimidated me was the guy who was trying to take my head off or was intent on injuring me with cheap shots. I think if you get intimidated by clean hits, you should probably chose another sport.

          If you make violent hits illegal (ie ones that result in concussion), more emphasis will be put on skill, and intimidation from hitting as a tactic becomes less effective.

  32. 24 Cups says:

    Jeff Skinner has signed an extension with Carolina. Bob McKenzie says it is for six years at around $5.725 million per year.

    I realize that Skinner won the rookie of the year award and is a rising star in the league. However, he has only played TWO years in the NHL. These are the type of contracts that the NHL has to kill off in their new CBA. The five year entry level proposal could be one of the key points in the negotiations.

    It will be interesting to see if the agents for Subban, Carlson and Del Zotto push for long term extentions. Of course a smart GM might try and sign them for just two years. Rutherford may have jumped the gun here with Skinner.

    • Habfan10912 says:

      That’s a great point Steve. The unknown factor of the “new” CBA is probably playing more of a role in PK’s negotiations then I had thought. For me there was always a balance of buying a year or two of the UFA years where you might be willing to pay a bit more then market in the remaining RFA years and a bit less then market value in the UFA years. If memory serves me they did that for AK and others in years past. Your point about that target may be a moving one certainly complicates that some.


  33. commandant says:

    A great video on the fighting debate, for both sides.

    Go Habs Go!
    Check out Top Shelf Prospects, my Team by Team prospect reports

    • Kooch7800 says:

      It is an interesting video on the debate for sure.

      I personally don’t mind watching a fight but too be honest I actually prefer good hard body checks and a fast skilled game. Fighting has changed in hockey and I can’t stand the staged fight…it is basically a side show and doesn’t belong in the game.

      The concussions though are the major issue and not necessarily just fighting but the media always steers it towards the fights. Look at Marc Savard etc. they are out from big hits and not fights and if you actually compared the stats of players out from long term concussions I would imagine most are from hits and not fights.

      The brain injuries are what needs to be prevented but in ANY physical sport concussions happen and will continue to happen. Hopefully the equipment players where in the future will be able to help slow down the rate of concussions but who knows.

      I think the topic should be more concussions in sport than fighting

      • commandant says:

        Concussion Will happen.

        However the attempts must be made to reduce them as much as possible.

        Its like driving… yes we know that no matter what, accidents and deaths will occur on the streets. However we make things like seat belts and airbags mandatory, and make laws against speeding and drunk driving to make things safer for everyone.

        The don’t stop every accident and every death from occuring, but they limit them as much as possible.

        Go Habs Go!
        Check out Top Shelf Prospects, my Team by Team prospect reports

        • Habs_Norway says:

          remove helmets.
          bring back the old equipment.
          reduce the speed (whats the big difference between 100% and 95% ?)

          I watch ALOT of oldschool hockey DVDs from the 70s and up to date. And the speed isnt THAT much faster.
          I could easily watch hockey with “80s speed”. No problem.

          Slower speed = more technique and skill.
          Faster speed = harder hitting and faster deke-attempts. (with pressure on the “attempts” part).

          Say no to visors and sign Emelin for 10 years

  34. Chris says:

    Any accidental/incidental contact to the head is automatically a two-minute penalty. Just extend the penalty that already exists for high-sticking and rename it head-checking.

    Any deliberate contact to the head is automatically a five minute major penalty, game misconduct and let’s start with a 5-game minimum suspension. As fighting is very obviously a deliberate contact to the head (unless the players decide to go for points instead of a knockout and only punch to the body), it would fall under this rule.

    There is a grey area obviously as to interpreting intent or deliberate contact that would obviously be a complicating factor. But that would be my first move as NHL commissioner and we would iron out the wrinkles as we go.

    My second move as commissioner would be more controversial. On all bodychecks, the checker would be required to demonstrate that they are attempting to play the puck. You can’t bring your arms up and drive through a check if you are actually trying to get the puck. This would return the bodycheck to what it was intended for, an attempt to separate the player from the puck, as opposed to what it has become, an attempt to separate the player from his head and/or deliberately trying to “wear down” the opponent through “finishing your check” after the puck has been released.

    I believe that many of the injuries that are being suffered in the NHL today are the result of a decreased emphasis on the puck. Players are torn apart after a game when the coaching staff studies the video and sees how many times they had a chance to “finish a check” and didn’t, thus encouraging them to do it on every play.

    This is ridiculous. I hate the late bodychecks, as they serve no purpose other than to try to injure or tire the opponent. In many cases, the opponent is in a vulnerable position, following through on a pass or shot, and simply can not protect themselves from the coming hit. In a league that desperately needs offence, there should be an increased emphasis on bodychecking only being permitted when the puck is with the player being checked.

    It would also be nice if referees would call charging more accurately. A significant number of what people deem to be “clean” bodychecks are in fact charging under the rules:

    42.1 Charging – A minor or major penalty shall be imposed on a player who skates or jumps into, or charges an opponent in any manner.
    Charging shall mean the actions of a player who, as a result of distance traveled, shall violently check an opponent in any manner. A “charge” may be the result of a check into the boards, into the goal frame or in open ice.

    The old rule of thumb used to be the distance you covered in 2-3 strides was acceptable, and anything more would be charging. Now you see players lining up an opponent from halfway across the rink and simply pasting them. These are the hits where guys get hit in the head (concussions), knocked violently into the boards (shoulders, necks) or try to dodge the freight train and get hit in a knee.

    • Phil C says:

      Good points. I think late body checks and charging are far more dangerous to the game than fighting. At least with fighting a player has a choice. The list of players whose career has been shortened due to questionable hits is long: both Lindros brothers, Kariya, Deadmarsh (although his first was in a fight), Primeau, Savard, Lafontaine, and that’s just off the top of my head.

      But more importantly, eliminating late hits and charging (as it is defined, not how it is enforced) would make the game safer at all levels. When I look back at my days playing contact hockey as a kid and young adult, I took WAY too many shots to the head. Knowing what we know now, I think it is absolute insanity to let our children play hockey with how the game is currently played. If the NHL changes, hockey would change at all levels.

      The really dumb part is that it does not even require a rule change. Late hits and charging have always been illegal, just not enforced or interpreted properly. We have to get back to how the game was played before the 1970s.

  35. Cal says:

    It looks like the NHL and NHLPA have both shut up about fighting and its role in these players’ deaths. They behaved like politicians in that if a bad news story comes out the reply is not to reply. Many people have short term memories (from their own concussions, perhaps 😉 ). When there is a strong argument for change, the powers that be redirect that argument and begin to change the subject. Most of us now wonder if there will be a season to look forward to as the enforcers story becomes more and more distant and dim.

  36. TorontoHabsFan says:

    One other thing – I’ve often heard that cracking down on fighting will cause an increase in “stickwork” like you see in the European leagues (where fighting is rare).

    I wonder, how much of that stickwork is because there’s no fighting and how much of it is due to the larger ice surface, where it is much harder to take the body than in North American rinks?

    • Habs_Norway says:

      Another thing thats rare here in Europe are attendance.
      Another thing is in polls; 90% want NHL rules when it comes to fighting.

      KHL has started with 5 min for fighting.
      DEL (germany) next year.
      Also Czech and Swiss i belive.

      AND, here in Europe theres alot more cheap shots.
      We have had pretty skilled guys from Canada playing here. Ending up with concussions because heavyweights are ramming their heads in the boards. Out for the season.
      AND, the next round, the same player that injured the guy, does it to ANOTHER guy on a different team!
      When he should be injured for a hit to the face from the day before.

      Its then up for the refs to call.. And when they dont (refs are worse than the female norwegian in the Summer Olympics…) – players take liberties game after game.

      No self-policing.

      Say no to visors and sign Emelin for 10 years

  37. Habitant in Surrey says:

    Re: fighting
    …there are times in life and hockey when one can not walk away
    …I resent and disdain Philthydelphia Phlyer ‘goonism’
    …I disdain the types that ‘look for trouble’
    …but, part of My passion for hockey includes standing Your ground
    …Larry Robinson style
    …in international hockey, over a short series at an elite level, I do not miss fights
    Yet, take the ‘possibility’ of a fight from NHL hockey is a non-starter for me
    …what the NHL should better focus their resources on is controlling the ‘intimidators’ and ‘rats’ in the League

    • TorontoHabsFan says:

      May I add to your list the “let’s try to take the head off an unsuspecting player” hit?

      At some point we need to realize the physics of the game and that there’s a difference between 1) separating somebody from the puck 2) sending a message to the other team and 3) placing somebody’s life at risk.


      That doesn’t include the Subban hit on Marchand (?). That was a wonderful shoulder into chest hit that I stand up and cheer for.

  38. accp says:

    Rainrocket16 – Just consider where it comes from and it won’t bother you. lot of commenter s on here have never had a pair of skates on and it’s not hard to pick them out that’s why I pick and choose whom I reply to.
    I played hockey for 32 years and I’m no expert but I have a fair idea what it takes to have a good team. there’s others on here that are very knowledgeable about hockey. Ian is probably the best. he doesn’t argue with anyone. he knows his stuff.

    • Boomer says:

      hi accp,
      i saw your reply below.
      I was wondering more along the lines of how fighting became “part of the game” whereas in other sports it’s broken up immediately. I’ve always been curious as to how it become a norm in the game.
      i’ve always thought it was a bit sad that some kids have to drop the gloves to have a chance to make it to the big show.

      Occupation: Professional Hedonist… aiming low and exceeding expectations 😉
      Hobo with a laptop

      • accp says:

        Boomer – I can only tell you what I’ve read from NHL hockey History. back in the 1900’s there were a lack of Hockey rules which encouraged physical intimidation and control also there were no bluelines. they didn’t implement blue lines til around 1918-1920 after doing that it actually encouraged fighting because the level of play became more physical

        the blue lines allowed forward passing but only in the neutral zone. so puck handlers played at close quarters which created a lot of physical play. so the emergence of enforcers, came about to protect the puck handlers and they fought when necessary.

        around 1973-1974 that’s when enforcers became more common and guess who popularized fighting in the NHL. philadelphia flyers. known as the broad street bullies. so from there on. teams signed enforcers to protect and fight for smaller players as well as their offensive stars.

        That Boomer is about what I know maybe someone else could give you a little more info.

  39. TorontoHabsFan says:

    I’ve said it before, but one thing that really hurts the discussion about hockey in Canada is who our sports channels decide on hiring as analysts.

    In Canada we have Kypreos, Stock, Brunet, Cherry, Milbury, Peca, Mike Johnson, etc etc etc.
    We have nothing but former plugs telling us what real hockey is. No wonder they extol the kind of hockey that made them famous!

    Compare to to NFL coverage where it’s one Hall of Famer after another on all 3 channels – what do they highlight? World class passes, catches and rushes. They don’t spend the pre-game show illustrating how the special teams player made a great tackle.

    • Boomer says:

      that’s an interesting point you bring up. I have always had a problem with hockey analysts but never realized a great deal of them are ex enforcers. I would love to have a guy like Mario Lemieux or Joe Sakic on a panel pointing out the finer plays on the ice.

      Occupation: Professional Hedonist… aiming low and exceeding expectations 😉
      Hobo with a laptop

      • TorontoHabsFan says:

        Wouldn’t it be nice to have a Ray Bourque or a Scott Stevens point out exactly what makes a young defenceman so good?

        I don’t get our exultation of the plug. To listen to some analysts (I’m looking at you Don Cherry*), a team full of Mike Zigomanises and Shawn Thorntons will win the Cup…never mind who will score the goals.

        It’s weird. I suspect it’s because they play a kind of game that is easy for the average fan to understand. Dump, Chase, Forecheck.

        *anybody remember when he tried to stack the Mississauga Ice Dogs with “his type of guys”? They finished dead last if I recall.

        • Boomer says:

          My all star panel: Mario Lemieux, Joe sakic, Ken dryden, Bobby orr and Lindstrom. Not only legends of the game but well spoken and intelligent. What about you?

          Occupation: Professional Hedonist… aiming low and exceeding expectations 😉
          Hobo with a laptop

          • TorontoHabsFan says:

            I largely agree. Lemieux for sure (my favourite player as a kid. Nobody was faster while looking slow), Sakic (pure tenacity), Forsberg (one the best two way stars in his time), Lidstrom (most positionally sound defenceman ever?), Fedorov (apparently could play any position?), and Mogilny (still the single most exciting player I watched live).

            Interestingly I don’t think that either Yzerman or Gretzky would be that interesting to listen to. Not sure why.

            Every time I watch NFL Sunday I get angry – Marino, Bradshaw, Irvin, Sanders, Sterling and Shannon Sharpe, Joe Thiesmann, Phil Simms, Aikman, and the list goes on and on.

          • Boomer says:

            I didn’t know federov could play every position that’s pretty impressive…

            Occupation: Professional Hedonist… aiming low and exceeding expectations 😉
            Hobo with a laptop

          • TorontoHabsFan says:

            I was being a little facetious, but I seem to recall that Scotty had him playing D at one point in Detroit.

            Plus who wouldn’t want to hear what he had to say about Bure and Kournikova (sp?)?

          • Boomer says:

            kournikova, yes please.
            I wouldn’t be suprised if he could play multiple positions, he was incredibly talented.
            Occupation: Professional Hedonist… aiming low and exceeding expectations 😉
            Hobo with a laptop

          • Chris says:

            Fedorov spent most of his career at centre, but was also used heavily on the wing. In a few seasons, Bowman did use Fedorov as a defenceman, but most of Fedorov’s defensive work was on the power play.

            Don’t forget, Bowman was also the guy that moved Dandenault from defence up to forward. He was hardly rigid in playing a guy at the position he was drafted at. :)

          • Habs_Norway says:

            Brett Hull and Don Cherry

            Say no to visors and sign Emelin for 10 years

  40. Habitant in Surrey says:

    …and, I further observe, Our Mr. Boone has been reincarnated from the dead

  41. Habitant in Surrey says:

    …checkin’ in from Klamath Falls Oregon (analysis: I’ve been in worse places …but have been in far more interestin’ places too :) )
    …anyhow, the reason I’m intrudin’, is I see Jeff Skinner signs for $ 5.75 mil over 6, one year following winning Rookie Of The Year
    …hmmm, Methinks if any other player that PK can hang arguments to M Bergevin re dollars and term is Mr. Skinner (as Normand et Pierre would say)
    …this makes it a little more interestin’ what PK will wrangle

  42. commandant says:

    I love the “fighting was always part of hockey arguments” as if the game can never evolve.

    If we adopted these philosophies 80-90 years ago, we’d have 7 on 7 hockey with rovers.

    We’d have no forward passes in the offensive zone.

    We’d have no goalie masks.

    Wire meshe above the boards instead of plexiglass.

    At some point all these things were “part of hockey” and we changed the rules. The same is possible today.

    Whether the rule should or shouldn’t be changed… that can be debated. But the Argument that it can’t be changed because of tradition? Tradition, alone isn’t a good enough reason… the sport evolves with time. You’ll have to bring more than that.

    Go Habs Go!
    Check out Top Shelf Prospects, my Team by Team prospect reports

    • Bripro says:

      Every sport tries to evolve for one reason or another.
      Some are positive (i.e. The NFL’s automatic review of every point scored, MLB’s refusal to allow a team to send in a pitcher to “warm up” without him actually pitching) and some are definitely negative (NFL’s kickoff coverage is reduced from 15 to 5 yard run ups).
      I just hope the NHL and the NHLPA truly follows through on rules affecting player safety.
      This way, perhaps a player’s health will truly be protected rather than sending them out when they’re vulnerable (Crosby, Letang).

    • Habs_Norway says:

      Evolution does not equal removal
      the mask = added
      plexi = added

      Say no to visors and sign Emelin for 10 years

  43. TorontoHabsFan says:

    I don’t care for fighting one way or the other. I see a staged fight and I yawn…but an actual, heat of the moment fight (a la Iginla and Lecavalier) I love. They’re just exceedingly rare. Maybe one or two fights a year??

    The one argument I wish would be laid to rest is that we run the risk of “taking hitting out of the game”. There has never been more hitting in the NHL than right now. Don’t believe me? Watch a game from the ’70s. It looks like shinny at times. It’s a strawman that needs to die.

    As far as goons/fighting/cheapshots go – at some point in the next few years somebody is going to die on the ice. It WILL happen. And I shudder to think what will be said after he dies. I suspect an award will be named after him, Cherry will call him a warrior, and we’ll continue as if nothing ever happened….until the next person dies.

  44. TorontoHabsFan says:

    Skinner signs a 6 yr deal AAV $5.725m?!?

    Does this not seem completely insane??

    Bob McKenzie ‏@TSNBobMcKenzie:
    Jeff Skinner’s extension with CAR expected to be 6 years with an AAV of $5.725M

    • habs-fan-84 says:

      depends on you point of view, i.e. the player or the team, but in no way does that contract surprise me.

    • Sean Bonjovi says:

      I assume that players and NHL teams are signing contracts under the assumption that they’ll all get rolled back before the ever take effect, which would turn that $5.725 million/ year into something like 4.5/year. Having said that I still think that’s way too much money for Jeff Skinner, so yeah completely insane IMO.

    • Mark C says:

      This is more money than John Tavares signed for (6 yrs $5.5M AAV). Crazy times.

      • TorontoHabsFan says:

        Skinner’s a wonderful player…but Tavares is a beast.

        These owners continue to make it nearly impossible to side with them in the CBA negotiations.

  45. Bripro says:

    It’s vacation time in Cape Cod, and all I see are Bruins jerseys.
    It’s so depressing!
    Our friend’s nephew had his Subban jersey on the other night, and every other local was giving him a hard time.
    As soon as I interjected, a true B’s fan started flapping his chops.
    Too bad he had eight inches and 100 pounds on me…
    Oh well, at least I kicked his ass before the alarm clock woke me up this morning.
    It’s refreshing to come on here once in a while, while I’m down here.
    The problem is I have to buy a cappuccino, which has 4 shots of espresso. I wonder if I’ll sleep tonight.
    Cheers to my fellow posters on HIO.
    I hope all is well back home.

    • Say Ash says:

      Is your real name Mike Komisarek by any chance?

      • Bripro says:

        I wish…. Make lots of money to hide in a corner.

        • Chris says:

          I would hardly say that Mike Komisarek ever, ever hid in a corner.

          The fact that he fought Lucic while playing with a damaged shoulder (and subsequently ruined it during the fight, which led to him getting pummelled) was more proof that Komisarek was almost always a willing combatant in Montreal, but he was deemed too valuable by the coaching staff to fight.

          Since the injury, he hasn’t fought making me wonder whether he has lost some range of mobility in that shoulder. It can happen…my right shoulder only has about 70% of the normal range of mobility, and some movements can be very painful. High school wrestling was absolutely wretched for me…if anybody got a hold of that arm and bent it even a little in that direction, it was over. Given how predominantly right-handed I am, that was a rather large vulnerability. :)

    • ProHabs says:

      And that is the problem with the Habs and has been for the last 4 years. Habs are small, Bruins are big. Lets hope Bergevin sees this and does something about it. It would be great to see MB get some protection down there to you Bripro. You shouldn’t have to go with someone that has 100 pounds on you. We need a goon down in Cape Cod ASAP.

      • Bripro says:

        The nephew’s father is 6’6″ and 280.
        But he wouldn’t hurt a fly.
        He’s got 12″ on me, but I can swim circles around him.
        Sound familiar?
        His wife (and agent) keeps nagging him, telling him to
        “leave the pesky smurf alone!”
        But all the locals are saying: “Break his neck!”
        Where have we witnessed that before?

  46. habs-fan-84 says:

    All i can say is fighting will always be a part of hockey, it always has been and always should be. There is absolutely ZERO evidence relating these suicides to their profession. Time and time again we see that the PLAYERS (arguably the most important stakeholders here) overwhelmingly support fighting in hockey.

    Please note, I do not like staged fighting. A legitimate fight between to men needing to settle the score during the heat of battle is almost required to prevent unnecessary stick work and other miscellaneous cheap shots from becoming more prevalent.

    • Boomer says:

      I wonder how it all started, how in hockey you’re permitted to fight yet in football, soccer, baseball, basketball etc.. you’re not.

      Occupation: Professional Hedonist… aiming low and exceeding expectations 😉
      Hobo with a laptop

      • accp says:

        Boomer – some of these guys wouldn’t have a job. not in the NHL. they don’t have enough skill…

      • Habs_Norway says:

        There are alot of great documentaries talking about exactly that.
        And i absolutely hate it when you guys start to mix in other sports.
        Its just so way off..
        I honestly dont know if you understand, or see, the difference in those sports?
        Do you honestly mean that hockey is “just the same” as soccer?
        Both in tempo, on-ice incidents, communication etc etc?

        Winning mentality.

        Every single person who owns a tiny tiny bit of wining mentality knows why theres a fight.
        And if you ask a “soccer pro” if he would knock out someone, offcourse he would.

        Seriously.. How many FIGHTS have you seen in the NHL??
        Just because to guys drop the gloves and start hitting doesnt mean theres a fight going on.

        My dog fights better than many fighters. And he’s an 11 year old Lab.
        The last real punch i saw was Moen vs Weber when he played for Anaheim. And that was with his jersey over his head!!

        I wont even call the Subban-Marchand “fight” for a fight.

        Say no to visors and sign Emelin for 10 years

    • Sean Bonjovi says:

      Fighting is already not a part of hockey at most levels.
      Derek Boogaard’s death was not a suicide, but the result of the abuse of prescription medication which is directly related to his profession.
      It’s difficult to prove the cause of any suicide, but there is evidence that suicide is related to depression, and there’s at least some evidence that links the hockey goon profession to depression.

    • habsguy says:

      How about a penalty, then a suspension, then kicked out for the year for the cheap shots artists, if they really wanted to get all the “miscellaneous cheap shots” out of hockey they could. Saying that some goon sitting on the end of the bench waiting for a bone prevents cheap shots is a crock, they never stopped it before, and it wont now. I could go over almost every cheap shot and dirty play in the past few years and show you that it happened even though the other team had the “enforcer” sitting on the bench, sometimes on the ice!!!!

      • habsguy says:

        and in saying all that, I have no problem with fights, kinda enjoy them as a matter of fact, I do have a problem with the Don Cherrys of the world saying that if he had to answer the bell for for hitting him like that it wouldnt have happened

    • Un Canadien errant says:

      Regardless of the tone you employ, this is not a fact, but an opinion you’re offering. The future is a very long time, to say “always” as you do is pretty bold.

      To say that there is “ZERO” evidence is disingenuous. There is some evidence, you’re just choosing to ignore it or discount it. If you said there is no proof, we could have a discussion, and it would be hard to disagree, but it’s wrong to say there’s no evidence.

      “Unnecessary stick work and other miscellaneous cheap shots” can be easily dealt with by giving referees a clear, broad mandate to stamp them out. Video reviews of such plays that led to penalties and suspensions would eliminate them. It’s interesting that currently there is a lot of such transgressions, yet there is a lot of fighting, so your thesis that fighting deters cheap shots doesn’t seem to hold up.

      Rugby is a fast, tough, violent game, and yet much cleaner than hockey, because any transgressions caught by the camera are punished, during the game or after the fact. Hockey should pay heed.

      All research shows that when someone is allowed to act out on their anger, or witness others behave that way, there isn’t the ‘release’ of steam or emotion that everyone talks about. Actually, when people get angry, they learn to get angry and it perpetuates the cycle. The ideal is not for someone to fight after getting elbowed or slashed, it’s for the elbower to go to the box and make his team lose because of a dumb penalty.

      We promote anger and violence in our game, instead of discipline and self-control, to the point that Daniel Sedin is castigated for his restraint when dealing with Brad Marchand. En français, c’est le monde a l’envers.

      This isn’t “Billionaires vs. Millionaires.” Only a willfully uninformed fool would apply that sloppy shorthand designation to this disgraceful power grab crafted by some of the wealthiest individuals and corporate entities in North America aimed against professional athletes.–Larry Brooks of the New York Post

      • habs-fan-84 says:

        my tone is meant to display my support (pro fighting in hockey). In a time where it’s consistently being questioned I am (seemingly) in the minority (at least on this site) that wants to continue to see fighting in hockey. I support it 100%.

        Indeed I am discounting the “evidence”. I do not doubt for an instant that the “tough guy” probably does suffer from at least some sort of depression, however, this is the career he has chosen and is paid handsomely for it. These guys are in a financial position to retire even after a few short years and perhaps take up a new career if they so desire. They choose not to and as a result must live with the consequences. I refuse to feel sorry for these millionaires.

        In my opinion you take away fighting and you see an INCREASE in “transgressions”.

        The Olympics provided the best hockey I’ve seen in my life, there was no fighting, I have no problem admitting that. In my opinion it’s unrealistic to see hockey of that quality in a league of 30 teams over an 82 game schedule and with rules currently in place.

        “can be easily dealt with by giving referees a clear, broad mandate to stamp them out. Video reviews of such plays that led to penalties and suspensions would eliminate them”.

        Fair enough, but that won’t fly as long as Bettman is trying to sell the game to the US. In any event, most Canadian’s support fighting (excluding Quebec) and as mentioned so do the players. It would make no sense for the league to eliminate fighting, at least in my opinion.

        I am calling it a night. I’ll check in in the morning.

    • HabFanSince72 says:

      In fact there is compelling evidence that fighters develop brain damage, and that this predisposes them to a series of inter-related problems such as depression, drug abuse, behavioral problems that interfere with their family and personal lives, and anxiety. All of these make them at high risk for suicide.

      The argument that something should exist because it has always existed has to be the worst ever invented.

      Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.

      • Habs_Norway says:

        I really wonder why MMA isnt illegal..
        You guys are talking about a chick-fight in hockey when MMA guys are pounding eachother?

        Oh, it must be because they dont have skates on them.. thats the reason why they dont get head injuries..
        Say no to visors and sign Emelin for 10 years

    • Chris says:

      “A legitimate fight between to men needing to settle the score during the heat of battle is almost required to prevent unnecessary stick work and other miscellaneous cheap shots from becoming more prevalent.”

      I completely disagree with this line of reasoning.

      Fighting in hockey exists at the levels it does for one reason and one reason only: because it is allowed to exist.

      Rugby is just as passionate of a sport as hockey with just as many ways to cheap shot an opponent. Yet there is a respect amongst athletes that prevents fights from happening in the vast majority of cases despite fighting being banned in the sport.

      How many times do we see a batter charge the pitcher’s mound in baseball each season? Not very often. And that is despite being particularly aggrieved at having a pitcher launch a baseball at 90-100 miles per hour at their head.

      The vast, vast majority of fighting in the NHL is staged fighting. If players know that it would result in a long suspension (let’s start with 5-10 games for a first offence), you would rarely see a fight. You will never get rid of it 100%, because there is always a chance that somebody will completely lose their mind or be willing to accept a long suspension in exchange for a shot at retaliation. But these cases would be very, very rare.

      The stick work thing is a red herring. If there is increased stick work, we have league officials whose sole job is to mete our supplementary discipline. If you slash somebody, you get the same penalty as you would have gotten for fighting.

      A history of being completely gutless on eliminating violence from the game is not a particularly strong logical reason for continuing to allow that violence to persist.

      • Habs_Norway says:

        How many times does the batter and the pitcher get close to each other in high speeds, bodychecking 4 seconds after the puck is gone. Knocking into the boards etc etc ?

        I thought i was commenting on a Canadian site, but it looks more swedish..

        Say no to visors and sign Emelin for 10 years

  47. EasternOntarioHabsFan says:

    If I ever see that DHenry guy again I will act as HIO’s enforcer and verbally drop the gloves

    • Boomer says:

      oh what did i miss? was it on the campoli post?

      Occupation: Professional Hedonist… aiming low and exceeding expectations 😉
      Hobo with a laptop in one hand hot sauce in another

      • Steven says:

        It was on this one. He was running his mouth, and you can see all the responses he got by the bottom posts that don’t make any sense alone. He was probably trolling, and in that, he did a good job it would seem.

        • Boomer says:

          oh i see now. i don’t mind people posting first or 1000! but profanity and degrading other posters has no place on this site… i like the pic btw.

          Occupation: Professional Hedonist… aiming low and exceeding expectations 😉
          Hobo with a laptop

          • Steven says:

            I’d write out what he said, but that totally goes against the point of him being banned.

            Thanks, by the way! Unfortunately, I’m not the artist who drew it 😉

  48. Phil C says:

    Rule 48 – Illegal Check to the Head, was a good step forward for a traditional, conservative, old-boys-club like the NHL. A hit like this, which was called a legal hit by the NHL at the time, would now be illegal. It’s a start.

    I suspect the NHL will be watching closely to the outcome of the ex-NFL player lawsuit against the NFL for not providing a safe workplace. If the players win, it could have a drastic effect on how football is played. I would think an NHL players lawsuit would be quick to follow.

    At least hockey is still a great game if they remove violent hits and fighting; I would argue it would be an even better game. But Football would become almost unrecognizable compared to how it’s played now, so it will be interesting to see how the lawsuits play out. To me, threatening the financial security of the pro-sports leagues is the only way change will ever really happen.

    • Habs_Norway says:

      “At least hockey is still a great game if they remove violent hits and fighting;”

      No. Not in my opinion.
      Hockey is a violent sport. But whats wrong with a violent sport? A violent sport doesnt equal pure violence.
      If people dont like it, there are other options like bandy or curling.

      Say no to visors and sign Emelin for 10 years

  49. Steven says:

    Well, looks like dhenry’s been tossed(You can see the evidence at the bottom of the page). That didn’t take long.

  50. ed lopaz says:

    Not sure how to put this any way but straight to the point:

    The Players’ Union is full of crap when it comes to players’ safety issues, protecting players, concussions, fighting, etc.

    If I was involved this would literally be my number 1 issue:

    How do I best protect my members?

    Where is the Union in all of this?

    The article above makes it clear that there is a lot of paper pushing going on and not much is happening since the players died.

    On this site many claim that the owners are selfish, money grabbing, Capitalists (in a bad sense), and lets accept all of this as being true tonight (although I tend to disagree with this over simplified and naive approach).

    If the owners are evil, they have an excuse. They won’t be expected to LEAD the charge to change the game in favour of protecting the players because all they care about is money and they apparently don’t give a hoot about the welfare of their players.

    But what about the Union?

    The CBA is upon us and now is the time for the Union to step to the plate and make some bold moves. Protect the players!! If the Union doesn’t do it no one will.

    But that silence you hear is the Union’s response to these issues.

    It’s really disturbing considering that safety in the work place is one of the greatest contributions Unions have made over the past 100 years.

    I am hoping that this CBA we will finally see some leadership from the Union on this issue.

    • Phil C says:

      It is surprising how little the NHLPA does for player safety. They may even be worse than the owners.

      • Habs_Norway says:

        I think its suprising how often the word “safety” is used, just like the players doenst know what they are doing.. Or the risks.
        If they dont like the heat, they wouldnt be in the kitchen, would they?

        Say no to visors and sign Emelin for 10 years

    • Un Canadien errant says:

      Everyone involved, including the NHLPA, has to remove their heads from the sand and deal with this issue. Banning fighting and promoting a game based on skill and offence will be safer for the players and will grow the game and revenues, much more than what is lost due to the few fans who would stop buying tickets if they didn’t get to their blood lust slaked.

      The big problem is that most players, according to polls, don’t want fighting banned, they grew up in a game that includes fighting and they can’t see it changing. This may be a case where the union has to be a little ahead of a lot of its members on some issues, as we see when one advocates issues like gender pay equity and affirmative hiring practices. Once led to water, the members eventually drink, and a short while later it’s no longer an issue.

      This isn’t “Billionaires vs. Millionaires.” Only a willfully uninformed fool would apply that sloppy shorthand designation to this disgraceful power grab crafted by some of the wealthiest individuals and corporate entities in North America aimed against professional athletes.–Larry Brooks of the New York Post

    • TorontoHabsFan says:

      “where is the union in all of this”

      I’ve been wondering the same thing too. At some point this HAS to become a health and safety issue.

      I don’t think anybody wants to take the physical element out of the game…but there has to be a way to ensure that we can continue to have a game that pairs breathtaking skill with brute strength in a way that minimizes the chance for severe injury.

      Shouldn’t the NHLPA be at the forefront of this?

  51. novahab says:

    Since I have a dislike for most refs in the NHL because they are lieing, cheating bastered. I will comment on the beauty of a call by that Norwegian Honey. I think Harper should take the tail out between his legs and do something. I may suiggest, to ask the RCMP to investigate becuase of the history of gambling fixing going on in the soccer world. I wouldn’t want our women used in a international gambling scandal.

  52. Andy and the habs says:

    When will this Henry douche be banned already. This type of immoral behavior has no place here.

    • chanchilla says:

      and calling someone a douche isn’t immoral behaviour?

      *to clarify, i by no means am defending this guy, i understand and agree that he should be banned. But your behaviour is just as bad as his was.

  53. rileysutherland says:

    Good piece. I think its time the game took its faults more seriously. I dig these two takes, which kind of expand on the above in how bad the year was, and why saying au revoir to fighting may be the right move: and

    Sign Subban already Marc!

  54. joe-hab-nuno says:

    Off topic, but does anyone know what part of the city Vincent Damphousse grew up? Siblings? My neighbor’s son came to visit her and her son looks like Vincent’s twin. I joked around with him if he was his brother and he joked back to me but didn’t really answer my question.

  55. HabinBurlington says:

    Good News, The Hockey News is not predicting that we will finish 15th in the Eastern Conference this coming season.

    • jedimyrmidon says:

      Looks like many posters there think the Habs will compete for bottom position in the East. Then again, they are probably unaware that the team actually made the playoffs consistently before crashing last year.

  56. JUST ME says:

    Strange and sad that this topic is far from being number one on the CBA negociations. Of course content of the talks is being kept secret so there is no way to know really but i would not be surprised that those deaths are considered as outside of the NHL`s circle when actually they should be considered at least as collateral damages.

    It is sad that measures are not taken to just try to prevent. Instead it is business as usual.
    Meanwhile this summer as quietly as possible all the medical staff from the Pens has been fired.

  57. commandant says:

    May those 3 RIP.

    Sad that their deaths did nothing to change the game.

    Go Habs Go!
    Check out Top Shelf Prospects, my Team by Team prospect reports

  58. Ian Cobb says:

    The print is to small for me to read!!! Hope I did not miss a lot!

  59. Bobby Smith says:

    What’s with the tiny little Times font the past few days? Some of us are getting old eyes and have problems reading that.

  60. Ian Cobb says:

    After concussion, severe depression and it kills.!

    What is a concussion?, as comprehended and explained by myself.
    I have been involved as a lay person with research pertaining to neurology at a major medical university. I have picked up a lot of information working first with veterinarian pathologists when I was doing research on my fox and mink ranch with calcium. And I have been involved lately with the neurology research dept. from a major medical university. Only as the handler of my research birds involved in the study and offering some of my former findings from my own autopsy’s So I do not profess to be an expert on the subject pertaining to concussion, but I will try to explain, the best that I can, what happens to the brain cells that have been concussed inside the skull. And why one must stay completely resting after a concussion.

    The very soft brain cells, when violently thrown against the skull, are damaged and the neuron releases a potassium chemical out of the brain cell. Leaving a void. Calcium that is already present around the outside of the cells, seeps into the cells replacing the potassium. This calcium is what gives the chemical imbalance to the brain and is what causes the damage. Until all of this calcium leaves the brain cells completely, and it can take a long time, depending on how much calcium was taken on each cell. The patient is left extremely vulnerable to instant death upon a second bump, or at least permanent brain damage as the calcium solidifies upon second impact. Even a hard coughing spell or light exercise can cause severe pain and damage. Complete rest is needed.
    These damaged cells have to be cleared completely of this calcium before one can resume activity to avoid more serious consequences including death. This is very acute in young people under the age of 24 as the brain is still growing and developing. Please, coaches and parents know this, every severe contact to the head can cause some cells to expel potassium and take on calcium. A second, even slight bump, of the cells still containing calcium, can be even more serious!!.
    Ian Cobb

  61. You may be first but you are a total douche. Enjoy your momentary fame…


    You don’t have permission to access /wp-content/cache/supercache/ on this server.

    • chanchilla says:

      why is everyone so mad, people do this on almost every thread posted on this site, because of the content of the post this guy gets attacked? Sometimes you people are so ridiculous.

  62. disgustedhabsfan says:

    Simple solution: Each time you fight, you miss games 1 fight 1 game. 2nd fight how 5 games. 3rd fight 10 games, etc. I bet in the first year of implementation, you reduce fights by at least half. Still have fighting but it comes with a stiff penalty to the combatants who lose paychecks each time they fight.

    • HabinBurlington says:

      I understand your philosophy and don’t disagree, but what happens when say for example Bruins are playing the Habs and the Bruins know that Prust has already had 2 fights. They send somone with 1 or no fights out to get a fight going with him and now Prust misses 10 games.

      The rules are in the book which if enforced cuts down on many cheap shots and fights. I would first just like to see the league enforce its rules. Especially in the 3rd periods of reg. season games and in the playoffs.

    • junyab says:

      That’s a suggestion, not a solution. A solution would solve the problem, but not dramatically change the game, unlike your suggestion would.

    • Habs_Norway says:

      Why? Just.. Why ?

      Say no to visors and sign Emelin for 10 years

  63. Ian Cobb says:

    Any hit to the head, intentional or otherwise is a suspension, in my view.

  64. rogus says:

    To post such a comment on a page concerning deaths in the sport, is truly without class. I sincerely hope the mods remove your post, and I suggest you be a little more sensitive in your future posts.

    • HabinBurlington says:

      In all seriousness, perhaps you could then expound on what you meant by your first post. I didn’t comment on it, as I couldn’t possibly figure out what you meant. I am not trying to instigate, but actually want to know what you meant.
      Edit: Never mind, just realized you were posting with regards to being the first poster. I thought you were somehow commenting on the fighters dying which would be tasteless.

    • Steven says:

      That’s probably the post of the year.

      So profound! With such great meaning and excellent input!

      Seriously, man. At least write things out properly if you’re going to write at all. After that, post something useful and not insults or vulgar comments, especially weak ones like “stfu”.

      Also, the “first Bitches” comments should be saved for YouTube. Why not head back there? I’m sure they’re missing you.

      • Steven says:

        Don’t mind the next couple of posts. They were in response to a now banned member.

        • chanchilla says:

          i just think people overreacted to nothing, on every single thread, someone posts “first,” but then this guy does it and he gets pounced on and it just doesn’t make sense to me as to why. I mean, he could have used some tact in his replies, but take a look back at previous threads and you’ll see someone say first on most of them without any hassle at all.

  65. Boomer says:

    not trying to start an argument here, but what’s this site really about in your opinion?

    Occupation: Professional Hedonist… aiming low and exceeding expectations 😉
    Hobo with a laptop

  66. Boomer says:

    I’ll try not to ruin it.
    But no promises for un canadien errant… when he posts i start yelling profanities…

    Occupation: Professional Hedonist… aiming low and exceeding expectations 😉
    Hobo with a laptop

  67. Un Canadien errant says:

    What is it about me? My prolix verbosity?

  68. Boomer says:

    just kidding buddy,
    you give me a reason to dust of the dicti… the dictienury…. the book that describes words

    Occupation: Professional Hedonist… aiming low and exceeding expectations 😉
    Hobo with a laptop

  69. commandant says:

    Funny though, whats the damage in taking it out.

    Playoff tickets, with less fighting actually sell more, and for more money.

    Same with the Olympics and World Juniors which have NO FIGHTING.

    So polls may say one thing, but there is no evidence that fans actually stay away with no fighting.

    But besides all that this is a safety issue. The wants of the fans and players shouldn’t be the key determining factor as to the rules.

    Go Habs Go!
    Check out Top Shelf Prospects, my Team by Team prospect reports

  70. JUST ME says:

    To say that a small minority wants fighting out of the game is wishful thinking from your part. Hockey is a physical and fast game and it would be impossible to make it otherwise.
    But not to make everything possible to make it safer is thinking as a neanderthal. Knowing what we know now and not doing anything about it is just going against the flow.
    If the players had any respect between eachother we would not be doing this debate. The reality is that the are making millions and intend to milk the cow as long as they can whatever it means for their future or their health. They act as we did when we were teens and thought that nothing could stop us…

    A few changes in the rules could prevent situations without changing the sport. Hitting from behind,automatic whistle when the puck reaches the other end of the ice, severe penalties for intentional fighting as soon as the puck drops on a face-off, things like that. It would not change the game but would just make it safer and any littlte step taken towards safety is a big imporvement.

  71. Chris says:

    You need only look at the history of hockey helmets to see that what the players want is not always connected to safety or what is best for them.

    In every other workplace, employers are required by law (the Occupational Health and Safety Act in Ontario, for example) to ensure that employees are protected from unnecessary physical injury. If fighting can be demonstrably shown by modern medicine to increase the risk of brain injuries, there is little to no doubt in my mind that it will eventually be banned, regardless of what the current players may or may not want. It will simply be out of their hands.

  72. Cal says:

    Frankly, when a fight starts I change the channel. Most of these “fights” are staged bs and have nothing whatever to do with the game. IF you want to watch senseless battering and scrambling of people’s brains, might I suggest the UFC?

    Players averaging 180lbs duking it out with another about the same size over a cheap shot is one thing. The Rocket and others had TO TAKE CARE OF THEMSELVES. That is no longer the case.

    250lb+ players who can’t play and who are only on the bench for one thing shouldn’t be condoned by anyone. On the street, these fighters would be tossed in a jail cell. The act is nothing short of assault.
    This is not to say I don’t like watching a good physical game with plenty of clean hits. I just hate when the response to a clean check is goonery.

  73. 123456 says:

    playoff tix sell more bc… well its the playoffs

    any special tournament – such as olympics – is totally different than regular season.

    are you implying a game with fights is less exciting than a game w/o…all else being the same?

    when i played i’d much rather fight a guy than have him swinging his stick at me.

  74. Habs_Norway says:

    Playoffs= offcourse it sells.
    Olympics= once every 4th year. Nationality feeling. offcourse it sells.
    And yes. There are fighting in both the Olympics and the WJ..
    Just because you dont know about it doesnt mean it hasnt happened. There were fighting at the last Olympics.
    There were fighting in Turin (italy).
    One of the biggest fights in hockey actually happened in WJ 87.
    (Norwegian referee of all..)

    Say no to visors and sign Emelin for 10 years

  75. 123456 says:

    i like fighting in hoceky – but i agree with chris, if there is any evidence that the fights are leading to brain damage they must be banned. but i believe it’s the other actions of the fighter types that causes the brain damage (they play more recklessly, some used drugs, etc…) again safety is #1 though

  76. 123456 says:

    you nailed it – RESPECT, or lack thereof. the days of the 1 or 2 guys on each team beating each other are over – now everyone has a stick they can use at a weapon at any time.

  77. 24 Cups says:

    I’m not so sure about that.

    Eventually, both sides are going to have to give on certain hot spots in the negotiation process. The players may want to sacrifice the terms and conditions for the future players who will enter the league in order to protect their own present working conditions.

    Something is going to have to go the other way if the players want to gain traction on items such as revenue percentages, escrow and unrestricted free agency. If I’m an owner, I’d rather give 53% if it means gaining stability with younger players who were always a cheaper form of labour until the RFA madness began.

    This happens all the time in labour negotiations.

  78. commandant says:

    Yes, I’m saying it… I don’t find fights exciting at all. I’m bored by them.

    As for swinging sticks… such a B.S. argument. If you have the refs and the league crack down on stick incidents with penalties and suspensions, you will not see an increase in stick swinging due to taking fighting out of the game.

    Go Habs Go!
    Check out Top Shelf Prospects, my Team by Team prospect reports

  79. Chris says:

    jcc10: Most ex-fighters have confessed to suffering double-digit concussions throughout their career. Some of the more recent guys (including Boogaard) were approaching that number out of junior.

    There is ample evidence showing that fighting leads to concussions. Whether the players choose to accept that or not is somewhat irrelevant, as my point was that the medical evidence may eventually have the issue taken out of their hands under the guise of workplace safety legislation. The NHL has been very fortunate thus far to avoid health & safety acts, but it is coming eventually.

  80. Habs_Norway says:

    So whats the problem?
    If 98% of the game is skill and 2% is “goon fighting”, why cant you let so many people enjoy those 2% that you hate??

    Why ban, and remove the joy from so many, just so you can be pleased an extra 20 seconds?

    Say no to visors and sign Emelin for 10 years

  81. Habs_Norway says:

    Where were you in August 1969 ?
    And why have the “league” and refs do it when you can stand up for yourself?
    Unless you are a total chicken or a pinko that rather tells than yells?
    Its like, maybe a rough comparisson, why call the cops when a guy tries to rob you, but you end up beating him up?
    Why add work to someone when you can fix it yourself?

    Say no to visors and sign Emelin for 10 years

  82. Habs_Norway says:

    Why do you want it “safer” ?
    Why not watch bandy instead?

    The main problem is peoples attitude, and how it has changed the last fifty years.
    Men are boys and women are in charge. Metrosexuality rules.

    Say no to visors and sign Emelin for 10 years

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