Sounding the death knell


There’s a reason bare-knuckle boxing was banned in the earliest years of the 20th century.

It was a savage “sport” that exacted a grim toll among its practitioners.

The NHL is the only team sport that allows fighting. To the delight of Don Cherry and his minions, “character players” (translation: big hearts, limited skills) drop their gloves and try to beat other’s brains in.
How much longer?

(In a Reuters photo, Brian McGrattan lands a haymaker on Wade Belak)

Red Fisher weighs in on Wade Belak

Pat Hickey on the hard life of NHL enforcers

• Comments on Belak tragedy from from Stu HackelBruce Arthur, Bob McKenzie, J.T.Cathal Kelly

Canucks get proactive on mental health

EotP on P.K.

• Fantasy Focus on Mathieu Darche

• Guess they like the Caps: THN picks Penguins as runners-up

Byfuglien busted for drunk boating

Team site has caption contest


  1. Habitant in Surrey says:

    …please tell Me My Fellow Habs’ Fans …is there a better Habs’ blogger/journalist walkin’ this Earth than Our very own JT ?

    …Who so compellingly and passionately encapsulates almost any subject on hockey and especially Our own beloved Montreal Canadiens better than JT ?

    …I believe not but a few

    …this consummately talented journalist would be a feature-writer for Sports Illustrated or other elite-publication in a fair world …and compensated accordingly

    …’The Living Legend Of Sports Journalism’ is a ‘legend’ for being able to stick around for 50+ years …but, a JT as feature hockey writer in The Gazette, on a daily basis, would certainly provide The Gazoote more ‘credibility’ to the level of it’s journalistic ‘quality’

    Habitant means PASSIONATE HOCKEY

    • Duracell3 says:

      I learned that Craig MacTavish killed someone, whoa.

    • Habitant in Surrey says:

      …Note Bene: the above low-blow I gave Red Fisher above was only meant to test Boone …I was curious, whether after all the years of Boone twiggin’ Red as the LLOSJ (?), was based on Boone’s jealousy or admiration …and was interested whether He would come to Red’s defence …He hasn’t, so far 🙁
      …I have been reading Red Fisher since I was an 8 year old boy …I love Red (in a platonic way, of course !) …He may be gettin’ a little long-in-the-tooth as a sports writer, …but then I’m gettin’ a little long-in-the-tooth also …as a Fan 🙂

      Habitant means PASSIONATE HOCKEY

  2. Habitant in Surrey says:

    …is there anyone besides Me completely pissed-off We can’t access Boone’s links to The Gazette (i.e.; the Living Legend’s column) without purchasing a subscription ?
    …I doubt it bothers Montreal-based Habs’ Fans, but for Those many ‘outatowners’ among Us, subscribing to The Gazoote is unlikely, and frustrating, when We want to follow links to only a few columnists like Red or Stubbs

  3. SeriousFan09 says:

    Found a couple of inside joke references playing Deus Ex Human Revolution for a Habs fan:

    While investigating a news studio in Montreal for suspicious activity, I found emails addressed to “Todd Jackman” including one from “Red Fisherman” referencing hockey and the other email was calling Jackman the worst columnist ever.

    Also, the skyline featured an intact Big O and it seemed to be used for something, which I found was the real stretch of the whole game for me.

    – I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.
    SF09 on Twitter

  4. Cardiac says:

    An article on Jose Theodore’s new mask for the Panthers:

    “There’s genius everywhere, but until they turn pro, it’s like popcorn in the pan. Some pop… some don’t.”
    – Jerry Maguire

  5. Habitant in Surrey says:

    …mental illness is actually a ‘physical injury’, or a physical malformation …Your brain is just like any other part of your biological body, subject to injury and subject to defects in design …only difference is that we can’t see brain-problems with our eyes

    …We bend over backwards in our society if someone is in a wheelchair, but if someone has a mental illness, we call them ‘crazy’ and they are the subject of our disdain …because we often are frightened of things we don’t understand, we often isolate the most vulnerable …sad is it not ?

    …We, as Fans, most of Us, whether They are Our Heroes on the ice, or the People around Us in Our day-to-day life …We have as much responsibility to ‘change’ Our disdain or misunderstanding of those afflicted with dementias and depression

    …not only should it be a prerogative of the NHL and NHLPA, but as well ‘We’ …as a society

    …it does not have to be understanding ‘the reasons’ for depression, because an individuals ‘reasons’ are so complex and unique, …but it is understanding ‘compassion’ and ‘tolerance’

    Habitant means PASSIONATE HOCKEY

  6. SeriousFan09 says:

    An open invitation, I would invite you to inform the following people that Corey Pronman is some kind of fraud.

    Aaron Vickers, managing editor of Future Considerations Hockey.
    Andrew Weiss, writer for Future Considerations Hockey.
    Cody Nicholet, Communications Manager for the Saskatoon Blades and scout for Future Considerations Hockey.
    Kelly Friesen, WHL writer for Yahoo Sports and a scout for Mckeen’s Hockey.
    Alessandro Seren Rosso, writer for Hockey’s Future, Russian Hockey Fans, Russian Prospects and easily the best source I’ve found over the last year for details about Russian prospects.
    Jerome Berube, Video Scout for HockeyProspect
    Steven Hindle, Capitals/Canadiens blogger and writer for The Hockey Writers and HockeyIndependent
    Ross MacLean, Head Scout with International Scouting Services
    Dmitry Chesnekov, writer for Puck Daddy who is basically, the best beat writer in NA for stories about Russian players.

    But I’m sure all of these guys think he’s full of crap and following him because they are bored. I mean how can their opinion of his writing and credentials be wrong compared to some guys who post on a blog?

    – I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.
    SF09 on Twitter

    • Cardiac says:

      Given your reputation on this blog, I have no reason not to believe you. If you are putting Pronman in the same class as Aaron Vickers then you have certainly put me in my place.

      However… from doing my own research I have only found his work on his own website (Hockey Prospectus), ESPN, and Twitter. Perhaps he chooses to write only for his site and not contribute to others, such as Future Considerations or McKeen’s Hockey?

      Furthermore, I only want to know what his credentials are. I read somewhere that he is based in Florida, not entirely the hockey hotbed of North America, wouldn’t you agree? How is he able to do any kind of hands-on regional scouting if he is scouting the southern U.S.?

      These are simple, honest questions.

      “There’s genius everywhere, but until they turn pro, it’s like popcorn in the pan. Some pop… some don’t.”
      – Jerry Maguire

      • SeriousFan09 says:

        I’m not saying they are in the same class, but he obviously has things worth reading that have the attention of a number of scouts and writers I like to follow if they think he’s worth reading I might as well give him a look. I don’t always agree with what he writes, or with what some of the other prospect sources I follow but I am always looking for extra information, extra opinions and possible dissent so I can take in the whole picture. Pronman’s slightly cynical and more blunt take on NHL upside in prospects is at times welcome to balance out reasonable expectations. I take what I can get on prospects and spread it around, it’s not like each Habs draftee has a personal biographer following him around. When someone who has the respect of his fellow scouting peers writes something, I find it’s part of my work to take note on it if it involves Montreal.

        I would say like many scouts outside of NHL organizations, he very probably has to work for a living outside of scouting (it’s not a very well-compensated gig) freelancers and junior team scoutss have to cover their own livelihood. Hence why Puck Prospectus has a subscriber’s section to supplement it. He uses video and makes trips like many scouts do but he has other commitments so he can make a living.

        – I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.
        SF09 on Twitter

  7. HabinBurlington says:

    Grabovski Speaks, some interesting things in here. One of which is that he admits he had a minor concussion from Chara in a game which he was cleared to return to and eventually scored game winner. I guess the quiet room really has changed nothing.;_ylt=AvSiYonANfwta_9MJDSJYIhShgM6?urn=nhl-wp11688

    When a player wants back on the ice, that is magic words for the coaches.

    • Cardiac says:

      Wow, a modern day Bobby Baun.

      “There’s genius everywhere, but until they turn pro, it’s like popcorn in the pan. Some pop… some don’t.”
      – Jerry Maguire

  8. Dunboyne Mike says:

    Two bad pro-fighting arguments:

    1) It brings people. People like it.

    True. However, “people” also liked going to the Coliseum — often bringing their kids — to see men decapitate and disembowel each other.

    Just because people like something does NOT mean it is good or even acceptable.

    And just so I don’t come over too sanctimonious, I confess I wanted to see Ryan White pound Johnny Boychuk after his cheapshot on PK. But guys! That’s the irrational, reptilian, testosterone, red-mist part of me — of you — that we need to control not give in to. Even a small fight like that, over something that was worse in intent than in actual execution, could have ended up damaging either player’s health, career, ability to provide for their family. And all just to satisfy an angry impulse while we cheer, EXACTLY like Coliseum spectators.

    So Milbury is correct — people like it. But that does not make it good. People might also like it if there were nude cheerleaders.

    2) It’s part of the game. It’s part of the CULTURE of the game, which makes it part of our identity as Canadians.

    It doesn’t HAVE to be part of the game, witness international, Olympic and college hockey etc, as argued eloquently below by others.

    As for culture. That’s such a dangerous word. Almost anything can be justified if it’s window-dressed with the word culture. (Not that he was a pillar of virtue, but wasn’t it Air Marshall Goering who said, “Every time I hear the word culture, I let off the safety-catch on my firearm.”)

    Every time someone argues that fighting is part of hockey and/or Canadian “culture”, try substituting the word “civilisation” and then measuring its oxymoron level.

    Bottom line, fighting — like porn — makes money precisely because we DON’T have a handle on the reptilian side of ourselves. That’s why stuff like this needs regulation — same reason we need to have maximum speed limits imposed. And therefore — as was also argued below — only the league can eliminate fighting. They should just be financially brave and do it. People will still come for the hockey.

    • TorontoHabsFan says:

      Excellent post. I should add that while Milbury rightfully stated that the only reason we have fighting in hockey is because we like it, he also said that we should get rid of fighting in hockey as that’s no reason to keep it around (again, paraphrasing).

      I used to not mind fighting, I’ve never been a huge fan of it, but was relatively agnostic about it. Two things changed my mind – going to an OHL game and watching a packed house cheering wildly when two teenagers started punching each other in the face and later on watching a game on tv with my 6 yr old nephew and trying to explain to him why everyone was happy that those two men were punching each other…couldn’t do it.

      Now I just desperately want something done before someone dies on the ice and the game I love so much will be relegated to Arena Football status.

      • Dunboyne Mike says:


        And thanks for clarification on Milbury, which I guess elevates him slightly above Don Cherry.

        Btw, I love the notion of being agnostic about fighting!

        • TorontoHabsFan says:

          I kinda suspect that’s sort of why he took that stance – to differentiate himself from Cherry…which isn’t the worst idea in the world!


          • Dunboyne Mike says:

            It’s long overdue for the CBC to do the same. Imagine, Mike Milbury figured that one out before the national broadcaster.

          • TorontoHabsFan says:

            Personally I’d love to see CBC move away from the backup goalie/4th line grinder as on air personality and move towards hiring some of the younger, more stats minded journalists out there (Mirtle comes to mind) as well as (and this is a pipe dream I know) former skilled players. I find it ridiculous that we depend on the likes of PJ Stock, Nick Kypreos, and Kelly Hrudey for game analysis while NFL fans listen to Howie Long, Dan Marino, and Michael Irvin for theirs.

            They don’t need to make it hip, they need to make it thoughtful.

            To be fair though, last season the Satellite Hotstove segment was almost always a compelling conversation (they’ve moved away from the confrontational shtick) and Kelly Hrudey has actually become very good as breaking down the game during the late game intermission.

    • Un Canadien errant says:

      Holy crap Mike, thanks for eloquently saying what it would have taken me a couple of hours of typing to say half as well.

      Two thumbs up.

      How about it NHL? No fighting, just hockey?

      • HardHabits says:

        I wonder how influential HIO and it’s commentariat is but if you ask me the level of debate and the execution of replies here today has been top notch. I have a feeling many influential sports writers come here to not just get the pulse of a very learned, articulate and passionate fan base but to also glean ideas and arguments to put forth to their readership.

        Good job people!!

        • Dunboyne Mike says:

          I agree HH. Is there some kind of interesting subset of Montreal/anglo/hockey/Canadian society responsible for most of the posts here? For contrast, nearly all commentary I read after articles elsewhere is pretty poor, by which I mean narrow-minded and inflexible and often offensive (the Globe stuff I used to read before finding HIO was quite good — perhaps you know some of the characters over there like Scot Loucks).

          Example. HH I think you were involved in the discussion a few days ago about irony! Whoa! It was hilarious! And so well informed. On a hockey forum! And there have been incredible exchanges of recipes! And no one in this virtual community ever says, “Hey! Who cares about how long you marinade? This is supposed to be about hockey.”

          And I am green with envy over Ian’s Summit. What I originally took to be a few guys meeting up and identifying themselves to each other and having a beer before a home game (and even that much I would love to do) turns out to be some kind of full-blown HIO jamboree! Fair play to Ian and all involved! Alas, I’m 3000 miles of Atlantic too far away to attend. Perhaps some day.

          That’s a ramble, but prompted by you stepping back to observe this community.

          (Still. Not sure about journalists lurking and poaching here…)


      • Dunboyne Mike says:

        Cheers UCE.
        What do you think? Some people — or let’s be specific, some men — are genuinely repulsed by fighting. I nearly am, wish I was. I object to fighting intellectually and on principal, but still have to guard against the kind of visceral reaction I get in situations like White-Boychuk above.

        I wonder are there are lots of us like that, and do we need to admit that before any significant conversation leading to progress on fighting can happen?

        • TorontoHabsFan says:

          Hate to jump in here, but for my money the visceral reaction I get from a huge bodycheck (a la Subban v. Marchand) is far more satisfying than the one I get from a highly ritualized fight – where honestly, a “winner” is often difficult to determine.

          • Dunboyne Mike says:

            Totally agree. And there is no Youtube video which I have watched anything like as many times as the exact example you mention!

            (Although, there’s one with a guy talking to his dog about food which comes close. If you ever owned a dog, you cry laughing).

  9. Mike T says:

    Concordia Stingers return to action tomorrow against Laval!
    For those of you in the area, you should stop by the field across from the Loyola Campus in NDG!

    Here’s a video on the return of one of their leaders!

    Go Stingers!!

  10. SeriousFan09 says:

    The scout of much debate, Corey Pronman has notes from his visit to the USA Under-20 Camp, here are his thoughts on one Jarred Tinordi:

    “Tinordi played very, very well at this camp in his own end. I had heard towards the end of a mostly dismal 2009-10 OHL campaign that he started to turn it around and if the performance he showed at camp was any indication of his future, I may be more optimistic to say he has a top four future. His gap control, stick-work, defensive reads and one-on-one were all at a desirable level and he was truly a shutdown force. Tinordi flashed the occasional okay pass, but he really needs to stop trying to get involved offensively, because it usually ends up with a turnover every time he does. ”

    – I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.
    SF09 on Twitter

    • Cardiac says:

      I can’t stand the guy… As you noticed, he writes “I had heard…”

      I wonder how many players this guy actually scouts with his own eyes.

      Oh, and Tinordi will make the big club one day and be a solid second pairing defenseman.

      “There’s genius everywhere, but until they turn pro, it’s like popcorn in the pan. Some pop… some don’t.”
      – Jerry Maguire

      • SeriousFan09 says:

        Funny story, scouts can’t see every single prospect in the whole of North America. They do regional coverage for the most part because of the time demands and do even more by ordering games from places like FAST hockey but there isn’t enough time in the year to look at everyone, especially a guy who was projected primarily as a defensive defencemen that has already been drafted by a team.

        – I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.
        SF09 on Twitter

        • Cardiac says:

          Of course I understand how scouting works. What I meant by my comment was I am questioning the guy’s credentials. Other than running the poorly presented Hockey Prospectus website and being an ESPN hockey analyst (which is pretty much the equivalent of being a cricket analyst on TSN), I have no idea who the guy is! I’ve searched high and low and I barely found a biography a month or two ago.

          “There’s genius everywhere, but until they turn pro, it’s like popcorn in the pan. Some pop… some don’t.”
          – Jerry Maguire

        • HabinBurlington says:

          Okay Serious i will bite here, If you are a genuine scout whose opinions NHL teams want, don’t you go your self to something like the US Jr. Camp and watch? I understand a scout can’t go everywhere, that is why there are regional scouts all over the hockey playing world. But if this cat wants to be taken seriously as a bonafide scout, what did he do all summer. Did he attend either Canada or US Jr. Camps?

          End of day if all he is doing is recapping other scouts work, lets call him the recapping scout.

          • GrimJim says:

            In Serious’ first post he says that it is Pronman’s notes from “his” visit to the US jr camp, so he did attend the camp. The “I had heard” was in reference to Tinordi’s turnaround at the end of last season.

          • Cardiac says:

            Just because I can get a press pass to the Cannes Film Festival doesn’t make me a professional movie critic…

            “There’s genius everywhere, but until they turn pro, it’s like popcorn in the pan. Some pop… some don’t.”
            – Jerry Maguire

          • HabinBurlington says:

            GrimJim, thanks, I didn’t read carefully enough. I stand corrected. If the guy is attending the camp, I have much more respect for the opinion then given. I will still say, as Cardiac has pointed out, I too have searched this guy high and low and found nothing but his own material. I have no idea as to how well esteemed he is considered by Central Souting per se.

          • SeriousFan09 says:

            Central Scouting isn’t the end-all source of who’s right and who are the top prospects, especially considering they don’t even wait long enough to compose final rankings by waiting for the CHL playoffs and Under-18 Tournament to complete. They had Jeff Skinner as a 2nd-round pick in 2010, the kid won the Calder.

            Scouts aren’t exactly well-publicized people either folks with people following their back stories from the time they were scouting Bantam games. I follow Pronman because he has the respect of some other scouts on Twitter that I follow and therefore he must have some idea of what he is talking about. Go look up how much hard information you can get on Trevor Timmins, Head of Player Personnel for Montreal. Not much is there?

            If what he says is worth listening to according to a scout working for McKeen’s Hockey, plus about the best Russian prospect blogger you can find, plus the managing editor and a writer for Future Considerations he’s worth a follow in my books.

            – I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.
            SF09 on Twitter

    • TorontoHabsFan says:

      Good to hear! I, like pretty much everyone here, has very high hopes for Mr. Tinordi, and Pronman’s earlier analysis worried me some.

  11. Ozmodiar says:

    I think discipline, in general, has to be addressed before the fighting issue. Fighting in hockey will remain as long as there is a self-policing aspect in the game. If the NHL were to enforce stricter discipline on dangerous plays, injury or not, then fighting’s place in the game would be greatly diminished. With that, and more a severe penalty for the fight itself (say, 5 and a game), teams would think twice before giving a roster spot to an enforcer.

    The question is, does the NHL want fighting out of the game? With 3 enforcers dead, and the game’s best player on the shelf, i guess we’ll find out soon enough.

  12. Ian Cobb says:


    5TH ANNUAL 2011 HAB FANS SUMMIT NOV. 18,19 & 20.

    About 130 of us this year! Will travel from all over the planet to Montreal. Some for the first time seeing their team play live.

    This year we are coming from USA, France, Hong Kong, the Maritime Provinces, , B.C , Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario and of course La Belle Province.

    We are staying at the Novotel hotel.
    Hotel regular rates are $139 and $149. BUT!

    Our HIO special rates are as follows.
    Hotel rates.single $119, Double $119, Triple $144, Quad $$169

    Be sure to tell them you are with HIO.
    1180 de la Montagne
    Tel : 1 514 871 2138

    We will all meet and greet at Hurley’s pub Friday eve. Some of us will be having supper there, and name tags will be given.

    Everyone is welcome to join us. Ware you team colours! and enjoy the evening.

    Saturday morning, breakfast is at Chez Cora’s at 8:30am. You can order a la cart and everyone gets 15% discount off your bill.

    We walk over to the Bell Center for the Hall of Fame Tour at 10:30am.

    After the Hall of Fame tour, we will be meeting up with some former players at the Novotel hotel, just up the street from the Bell Center.
    There will be a professional presentation put on for our HIO group by former concussed hockey players, Kerry Goulet, Keith Primeau who are Involved in educating the effects of concussion, depression and neurology rehabilitation.

    3pm the Children’s Foundation charity raffle at the Baton Rouge rest. and our pre game dinner.

    Then we walk across the street to the game.

    After the game the 2nd floor of Hurley’s pub is reserved for us again, to celibate the win. Anyone may join us, just identify yourself as a HIO member.

    Please be generous with your charity raffle gifts and your purchase of raffle tickets. It is a way for the HIO community to give back to the kids.

    Enjoy talking hockey and meeting your wonderful HIO Hab’s family.
    See ya there.

    Ian Cobb

    Summit Fan Organizer (613-968-9807) if you need anything.
    Belleville Ont.

  13. V says:

    I tend to agree with those that say the will to eliminate fighting in the NHL will likely have to be imposed on the league from outside.

    It is so engrained in the culture of the league, I don’t think they can root it out on their own. Don’t even think they want to try really.

    That will won’t come from the fans – if majority of hockey fans did not love/like it it would already be gone – and I doubt it will come from sponsors (although it might come from non-hockey fans threatening to boycott NHL sponsors – that has worked very well for some other issues outside hockey).

    Probably pressure from health groups and government. And the winning argument will be the impact fighting has on the health of kids. So all the leagues that feed the NHL – leagues the NHL use to build their fighter’s skills – will likely ban it first with a gradual phasing-out in the NHL as there are fewer players available to do it.

  14. issie74 says:

    Did you see the Chicago/Montreal best game of the year.

    No nonsence,just hockey!


  15. clubdehockey says:

    What is the stance on fights in international hockey?

    I can’t recall any fights in Olympic hockey, nor can I recall particularly missing fights at all during the Olympics. I CAN recall enjoying Olympic hockey heaps more than NHL hockey because of all the skill and speed displayed in that game.

    • Cardiac says:

      Fighting is strictly prohibited in Olympic ice hockey and in European professional hockey leagues. The international rules (by IIHF) specify in the rule 528 – Fisticuffs or Roughing the following penalties (among others):

      -Match penalty (the player is ejected from the game and another player serves 5 minutes in addition to any other penalties imposed in the penalty box) for a player who starts fisticuffs.

      -Minor penalty (2 minutes) for a player who retaliates with a blow or attempted blow.

      -Game misconduct penalty (ejection from the game) in addition to any other penalties for any player who is the first to intervene in a fight which is already in progress.

      -Double minor penalty (4 minutes), major penalty + game misconduct penalty (5 minutes and ejection from the game), or match penalty (at the discretion of the referee) for a player who continues the fighting after being told by officials to stop.

      -Misconduct penalty (10 minutes; second misconduct penalty in one game means automatic ejection) for a player who intentionally takes off his gloves in a fight.

      “There’s genius everywhere, but until they turn pro, it’s like popcorn in the pan. Some pop… some don’t.”
      – Jerry Maguire

  16. TorontoHabsFan says:

    On a totally different topic, I just read Hindle’s article on Desharnais – I think he has the capability of putting up 40ish pts this year. If we get that kind of production from a 3rd line winger (I suspect he’ll play on Eller’s wing), then we’ll finally have some of that balanced scoring we’ve been in desperate need of!

    Am I the only one who finds it IMPOSSIBLE not to read his name as “Dez-arn-ay” and not “Day-harn-ay”??

  17. Max_a_million says:

    There is no fighting in Olympic Hockey, College Hockey … most levels of hockey, and the hockey is amazingly good.

    One thing unsaid is that getting rid of fighting eliminates lots of monstrous goons whose job is to inflict pain on non goon players in the course of play. Without fighting there would be less of this style of player, which I think leads to less dangerous hits. You can’t eliminate all of them, a guy like Chara will still be around. Still less is better. Heck then more skilled players make teams, and we might have more goals :-o!

  18. Cardiac says:

    Not to stir the pot or anything but I found a pretty interesting observation.

    In the Sports section of news, the Wade Belak story is at the bottom of the page, after headlines reporting golf, college footbal, and Serena Williams’ feeling about her sister pulling out of the U.S. Open (oh my!).

    Meanwhile, the Sports section of has the Belak story at the top of the page.

    NHL coverage in the U.S. is PATHETIC! And given that their headquarters is in New York and their executives are mostly American I am sickened…

    “There’s genius everywhere, but until they turn pro, it’s like popcorn in the pan. Some pop… some don’t.”
    – Jerry Maguire

  19. veryhabby says:

    Fightin does not belong in any professional team sport. Is there a more physical sport then football. Sure there is some pushing around at times inbetween plays, but rare are the fights that happen in the NFL, CFL, NCAA etc…. So it’s just an excuse when people say hockey is a physical sport therefore there is fighting.

    there is only one way that fighting will come out of the NHL. Sadly it’s not these player deaths. It’s not the NHL owners or NHLPA that will initiate it. It’s going to be when the major sponsors and the TV networks says enough is enough. Take it out or we are taking out our money. So I guess the big question is, do those who throw money into the sport like fighting? Does it bring up their revenus? If it does, forget fighting ever leaving this sport. But if fans say it’s enough and sponsor start to see their revenus suffer then it’s another story.

    My guess, due to money, it may be a long time still before fighting is out. That’s the worst part of it all.

    • shiram says:

      Bettman basically laughed when he received the letter from Air Canada after the Paccioretty incident.

      If you don’t grok it, drokk it!

      • veryhabby says:

        Well it’s a start, a sponsor being upset with these fights and hits. Unlike other NA sports, there aren’t too many lined up to throw cash it’s way, especially in the USA. So maybe it’s a bunch of canadian sponsor who need to get together and send a letter saying it’s enough or our money won’t be renewed!

        • shiram says:

          There was more than just Air Canada, but Bettman dismissed it all, he was afterall pleased with the decision taken on the Pac hit.

          Check Bettman’s answer to Air Canada : “Air Canada is a great brand, as is the National Hockey League,” he said.

          “And if they decide they need to do other things with their sponsorship dollars, that’s their prerogative, just like it’s the prerogative of our clubs that fly on Air Canada to make other arrangements if they don’t think Air Canada is giving them the appropriate level of service.”

          If you don’t grok it, drokk it!

  20. B says:

    Hockey is a physical sport and sometimes that physicality leads to a fight (and penalties). I don’t have a problem with that. What I have a problem with is the staged fighting where each team’s “goon” square off against each other to “send a message”, “stir things up”, “do their job” or what ever cliche you want to use. These staged fights are not a byproduct of the game and I would not miss them at all. If I want to see fighting just for the sake of fighting then there are plenty of such contests available out there to provide that. It does not (and should not IMO) be a part of hockey.

    Montreal does not have a goon and Habs fans are not subjected to staged fights very often. It is not uncommon for teams who do employ a “goon” to sit them out when they play Montreal. I might be in the minority on this, but I like that about Habs games.

    • Klondike Habs Fan says:

      I am with you 100%. I dont care to see the fighting, and I love that my team does not bother to play into the fighting in hockey stereotype. Love that about the Habs. I watch every game on my PVR, and i fast forward through commercials etc… And I always fastforward through the staged lame old fights. I do of course get excited when actual game tension boils over a bit, but if that where also limited to hard hitting hockey intstead of staged fights, I would actually enjoy the game even more.

  21. Desi says:

    It’s a crying shame that it has taken the deaths of these three players for some people to realize the harm that fighting does — not just to players but to the sport. It’s high time it was banned and multi-game suspensions doled out to anyone who fights. It’s barbaric and has NOTHING to do with the real sport of hockey. Don Cherry and his acolytes be damned. Clean up the sport! Celebrate the speed and skill of the players. Anyone who misses fighting can spend the rest of their lives watching “Slapshot.”

  22. TorontoHabsFan says:

    Know who has been surprisingly, and refreshingly blunt and honest in the discussion on fighting in today’s NHL? Mike freaking Milbury!

    Yep, the guy who once climbed into the stands to beat a fan with his own shoe was on CBC last year and flatly stated (roughly) “the only reason we allow fighting to happen in the NHL is because we like it. It has nothing to do with policing the game, it’s only there because we like to watch it.” He then went on to claim that fighting was a direct cause of a significant percentage (I forget the number) of brain injuries in hockey.

    Of course then he turned around and started implying that the Sedin’s were girls during the playoffs…so….maybe he hasn’t completely changed.

    • avatar_58 says:

      They WERE girls though. If they had even a fraction of the grit of say – Tomas Plekanec they would have had their precious cup.

      Also Milbury is right- people like fighting. It draws crowds.

      I have a question – since NHL09? 10? Whichever – there’s a saying “people say theres no place for fighting but listen to the noise!”. Is this inappropriate now or what? It’s probably still in NHL12

      • TorontoHabsFan says:

        If I recall correctly, he was replying to that guy from the Calgary Sun (Eric Francis) who was making the “fighting polices the game” argument. He basically called that argument crap. Which not something I was expecting to hear from the man who bemoaned the “pansyfication” of the game just a year or two earlier.

        As for the Sedin’s. There’s probably a less ridiculous way to say they underperformed in the Finals than to question their masculinity 🙂

        I’m not sure about the NHL games, I don’t play them really…after NHL 95 on Super Nintendo (the 1st year with the one-timers!) things got too complicated for me 🙂

      • shiram says:

        Yea, I recall those, but I guess that’s on par with the mentality of those commentators.
        Gary Thorne from epsn is one of them.

        If you don’t grok it, drokk it!

    • adamkennelly says:

      Yes..only reason it is allowed is because people like it…no SH*&^%T….it is part of the game and has been for a very long time…goons will soon be gone but banning fighting will not happen for a long while….how many of you bleeding hearts had a problem when White stepped up against Boychuck? go watch College or Olympic hockey or how bout just Habs hockey – close enough to fight free…while you’re at it – watch some flag football instead of the NFL….wanna make the game safer – eliminate contact, make the charging rule 1 step, force players to wear full cages, eliminate curved composite sticks….maybe make the boards out of marshmellows….zzzzzzzzzzzzz

      • TorontoHabsFan says:

        Two shiny quarters for you for missing the point entirely.

        Good Job!

        (btw “bleeding hearts”?? Where did you come from? 1982??)

        • adamkennelly says:

          two shiny quarters – nice….is that how much people pay you an hour for your opinions? don’t try to be a smart ass when you don’t have the smart part covered there chief…I don’t miss points – I make them….learn the difference….and was 1982 – 10 or 20 years before you were born..I have forgotten more about hockey then you will ever know…stay in T.O and shut up.

  23. krob1000 says:

    I nominate David Branch for NHL commisioner.

  24. myron.selby says:

    Change of topic – EotP on P.K. Great job on this one Andrew! The only thing I would like to see PK change is to give up some of the cheap stuff. He does have a nasty habit of slew footing, exaggerating the effects of hits to try to draw penalties and other nonsense. He’s much too good a player to need this kind of junk to be effective.

    I’m hoping that Markov can sort him out on this and let him know that this isn’t the way Habs play the game. Given how quickly PK has learned every lesson thrown his way I expect him to figure this out pretty fast.

    I couldn’t believe how quickly he went from being a high risk player to being, without question, their best defensive defenseman. By the end of the year he was – along with Plekanec – their best penalty killer.

  25. Neutral says:

    we don’t need fighting we need guys with talent and know how to play the game as a sport ask MR. Jean Beliveau one of the best….all they have to do is take the guy off the puck, don’t have to fight, don’t have to try and take his knees out, don’t have to go for the head it’s all about the puck and that’s why skilled players look great and Dummies don’t. you see Sakil do that or Stevie “Y” they had skill enough said….

  26. Number31 says:

    I have no problem with fighting nor do I have any problem with banning fighting. There are examples of the QMJHL or the NCAA stance on fighting (have a fight, will be suspended). I can’t stand the two guys planning a fight thing. However when the ref turns a blind eye while your best player gets a low hit to the knee by a turdball attempting to injure him out of the game, I’m all for anyone stepping in and giving that turdball whatfor….

    Of course if players actually had respect for each other and wouldn’t do such things as low-knee hits etc, maybe a player wouldn’t need to step in for a fight. It’s all about changing this hockey culture that has, I suppose, festered for far too long…

  27. kempie says:

    Man, I think I’m going to stay out of this one.

  28. habitual says:

    As emotional and sad as these deaths are, why are people attributing fighting to their deaths? Boogaard died from mixing alcohol and drugs, and while he took medication from a fight related concussion, I’ve not read he committed suicide.

    Ripien struggled with depression. It is a mental illness, and to insinuate that he was depressed because he fought is as accurate as saying he killed himself because he played hockey. I’ve not heard the reason for Belak’s taking his own life, but he did so after hockey, had post career opportunities, and something ostensibly to look forward to.

    Debate hockey fighting on it’s own merits without trivializing depression.

    Robert, as we think about what Ryan White might be like 10 years out, should we not also wonder the same about Crosby, whose issues haven’t a thing to do with fighting?

    • SeriousFan09 says:

      Fighting inevitably leads to head trauma though. Such trauma has been linked to substance abuse, depression and other issues as it damages the brain and literally affects the way you think and percieve everything.

      There’s a long line of NHL enforcers who have/had demons when it came to pills or a bottle because of the strain of their employment or what the fighting did to their brains.

      I have concern for Crosby, but there are a lot more Ryan Whites in the situation of head trauma being basically a fact of his employment and the toll that nobody brings up, or looks after once they are gone.

      – I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.
      SF09 on Twitter

  29. Thomas Le Fan says:

    All right then. We ban fighting (which I am incidentally not entirely opposed to) and at some time in the future three young-ish hockey players die, mysteriously, in three months anyway. What then? How about the 27 Club? Ban guitars? Depression kills. Not just hockey players. How do you think 9.1% unemployment is going over in the USA. People will be lining up to be hockey enforcers in black market back alley games. All I’m questioning here is the willingness to ban and control the things people freely engage in and then thinking anything will really change. Ban human nature while we’re at it.

    • TorontoHabsFan says:

      Thing is, we ban and control all kinds of things that people freely engage in.

      And the trickle of former enforcers commenting on the mental toll their job took on them is quickly becoming a torrent. At what point do we continue to keep our heads in the sand and ignore the problem?

      Again, I agree that it’s entirely possible that these three young men’s deaths had nothing to do with their job…that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t use the opportunity to look at that job and listen to what some people who did it are saying.

      • Thomas Le Fan says:

        WE do? I don’t agree. Progressives and their representatives ban things that they don’t like often with no better reason than they don’t like them. I’m not talking about crime, by the way. Things that are against the law and have been since we’ve had laws. Including things that, oddly, progressives are inclined to allow these days. Ban free speech and allow gay marriage. Ban smoking cigarettes and hand out free needles and crack pipes. Ban fighting in hockey but allow rioting in the streets and the looting of private property. It’s the poverty and the government cutbacks not action of the rioters, ya know. The world is upside down.

        • TorontoHabsFan says:

          Oh right, I forgot…you’re the Glenn Beck fan.


        • “Ban smoking cigarettes and hand out free needles and crack pipes.”

          ban smoking in certain areas while cigarettes are still available in stores, hand out free needles and crack pipes to keep diseases from spreading amongst addicts who if caught possessing applicable drugs will get arrested and charged

          breaking down facts into simplistic soundbites doesnt do ANYBODY any favours

          • ZepFan2 says:

            “breaking down facts into simplistic soundbites doesnt do ANYBODY any favours”

            True, but you have to admit, it’s funny in a “reefer madness” sort of way. lol

            Welcome to the newer NHL: The National Headshot League.

  30. Hobie Hansen says:

    There’s a part of me that believes that once these guys and their families agree to sign on the dotted line to make millions of dollars in the NHL, They have willingly agreed to put their health and maybe life at risk.

    And really, has there even been any active players that have come out and said fighting should be taken out of the game, even after everything that has happened recently?

    Has one coach or GM mentioned that they’d like to see fighting removed?

    There may have been a couple but none have slammed their fist down on the table and made a stand about it. Probably because some of their friend’s or teammates are employed in that type of role.

    My opinion; I’d have to lean towards taking it out of the game at this point. I love the fights and I love the adrenaline rush i get when I see a player from the Habs lacing out a Bruin in a good fight.

    But the fact of the matter is that most of these guys are just massive today. Getting punched in the face by a bare-fisted trained fighter who’s 6’3″ and 235lbs is just asking for trouble.

    And the second part of it is the mental issues these enforcers are facing when leaving the game. Standing toe-to-toe with another hockey player and savagely beating on each other in front of 19,000 screaming fans for 15 years can really have an impact on someone’s day to day thought process.

    Their adrenalin is at such a high for a long period of time and it is suddenly over. That can be hard to handle. Throw in a series of concussions and that makes the mental issue even larger.

    Some of my favorite players to ever play the game are enforcers but with everything that is unfolding; I think it could be time to remove those types of players and maybe fighting from the game entirely?

  31. HabinBurlington says:

    What is kind of nice is being able to proud of the team we have that we don’t currently employ a Goon. Gainey tried that, it didn’t work, it only cost the team money.

    Unfortunately, the league seemed to penalize us last year for not having a goon.

    Oh this whole league is just frustrating!

    Drop the Freaking Puck! I miss hockey!

  32. hockey habs says:

    I am pretty sure Canada’s National Summer Sport, Lacrosse, allows fighting as well, and it is a team sport as well and with your feet planted on the ground the argument can be made that more punch can be carried then on ice with skates. For those that remember the forum used and a fair amount in attendance in the 30’s playing the likes of Toronto, a team that Lionel Conacher played for and Cornwall as well as a separate Montreal team.

    • HabinBurlington says:

      That was the first post i made today, HIO don’t recognize Lacrosse as an official sport I am guessing.

      • D Mex says:

        Lacrosse is a GREAT sport. Our sons have been playing box since the age of 6. They love it and will play next season at the bantam and midget levels.

        Many people who have not taken time to learn about lacrosse go with the notion that it is ” aggressive “. Certainly, it is a physical sport but, when played with speed & skill, it is at least as exciting to watch as hockey. It demands fitness and constant effort to move up and down the floor – there is NO coasting. When fights occur, they are very much the exception rather than the rule and, at the minor level, are met with automatic suspensions.

        Gretzky, Nieuwendyk, and Tavares are among higher profile hockey names that have played box lacrosse. I have heard that the NLL might be about to return to Montréal : if so, it will hopefully raise the profile of this tremendous sport in PQ.

        ALWAYS Habs –
        D Mex

  33. HardHabits says:

    All good points except this. If the league doesn’t enforce the rules properly or the on ice officials don’t call the game as the replays suggest, then what?

    We’ve all just witnessed a team win the Cup, that although was talented, was given a decided edge in the penalties and suspensions called against/for category.

    And here in lies the crux of the matter which is also my argument in favour of having skilled and speedy players being insulated by a corps, not one or two, but a selection of heavyweights, not just to level the playing field when push comes to shove comes to punches but also when push comes to shove comes to intense hockey battles in the corners or in front of the net. But I digress.

    IMO the padding needs to soften, especially elbows and helmets. The game also needs an off ice video referee who can call penalties. High sticks, cheap shots, dirty behind the play offences, and others can all be called. As well, biases by incompetent officials or miscues can be rectified from the side lines and the Head Office.

    AND!!!! A review of officials as we have seen in other sports.

    I am incensed. Incompetence can not be shrouded in legalese forever.

    • SeriousFan09 says:

      Who were the heavyweights of the CHI blueline during the 2010 Stanley Cup victory? No one really, they were just a strong group of players but aside from Seabrook no one was an outstanding hitter. They had the guys like Eager and Burish but at the same time it was more because they had the big bodies on the lines such as Ladd and Byfuglien that they could force the play through, or Toews just outworking anyone who tried to match him. 2009 Pens win it with Gonchar, Gill, Scuderi, Goligoski, Letang and Orpik, Orpik was their strong man but he was it really. 2008, well it was Detroit so we can skip that entirely aside from Kronwall. Three straight seasons, the blue line wasn’t loaded with hardcases but the team collected the Cup.

      In 2011-12, with Cole and Pacioretty as power forward bodies on the Top 6, Kostitsyn being a bit more than most teams can handle from a 3rd-line player and White, Moen ready to check on the 4th you have the muscle up front to force the play, provided Martin embraces that. Yemelin, Subban can make the other guys know they’ve been hit, while Markov does what he does best, takes the puck and gets the other team backing up while his own team calms down. Gill and Gorges have proven they can shut down any elite player they cross and we have a growing offensive weapon in Weber. I know we all want Tinordi to be the tower on the back end but the more skilled D group we have now can easily match against anyone when healthy.

      – I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.
      SF09 on Twitter

      • HardHabits says:

        We are moving in the right direction. Beaulieu is no slouch either. I can’t wait until he hits the big team too.

        I also think there will be a good balance between size and grit and skill and speed this up coming season.

        Healthy the Habs could win the Conference. Hurt the can still make the play-offs. Obviously it is in their best interest to stay out the infirmary.

        • SeriousFan09 says:

          Future blue line of Montreal looks great, just wish our only prospect with a high-end scoring touch could see eye to eye with Pacioretty and not Cammy.

          Hopefully the 2012 draft gets us some more offensive talent. Gallagher could be our next Gionta or Cammalleri, but I’d like to see a kid ready to step in and replace Erik Cole as well.

          – I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.
          SF09 on Twitter

    • HabinBurlington says:

      Maybe if we brought in an outsider from another league that doesn’t tolerate fighting as League Commissioner it would help. A league that hands out stiff suspensions. Perhaps there is someone at the NBA we could hire.

  34. SeriousFan09 says:

    Thinking about these guys, one has to say “what happens to Ryan White in 10 years?” We all love him, but what happens when he is in his early 30s and basically all ‘used up’ from having to be that guy for MTL over a decade?

    Also, Chris M Peters, a hockey blogger and broadcaster had this to say about calling for a ban on fighting in junior hockey

    – I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.
    SF09 on Twitter

  35. TorontoHabsFan says:

    For anyone who actually thinks the league and the PA are going to do anything about this…we should remember that they *still* can’t see their way around to grandfathering in visors for pete’s sake! The likelihood of them doing something significant before somebody dies on the ice (and somebody WILL die on the ice) is depressingly small.

    • HabinBurlington says:

      Well we all know how evil visors are, they will destroy hockey as we know it if everyone wears one. Don Cherry said so….

      • TorontoHabsFan says:

        The fact that lots of players still refuse to wear one sorta undercuts the argument that “they know what they’re getting into”.

        It’s mind-boggling to hear them justify themselves…

        I guess I shouldn’t have to wear a helmet when riding a motorcycle, because hey, I know what I’m getting myself into?

        • HabinBurlington says:

          I still find myself putting my finger into a moving fan to see if it hurts or to check if the fan is on. LOL Have yet to realize what I am getting myself into…

          • TorontoHabsFan says:

            Yep, me too! Of course I don’t then tell my girlfriend that I made that choice, and I stand by it, it’s my choice to make and while I appreciate that some people won’t stick their finger in the moving fan, I will continue to stick my finger in said moving fan. I feel more comfortable sticking my finger in the moving fan than not sticking it in there.


  36. krob1000 says:

    I applaud Chris Nilan for coming out and saying he thinks fighting should be banned…..or at least very harshly penalized. I recently changed my view over the last year or so and am glad many people are starting to agree. The only thing I have waivered on is the heat fo the moment stuff…but when you really think about it that just leaves an opening for a hot head to explode….all fights should be ejections and possible suspensions. As mentioned repeatedly in my posts the last week or so I really believe we should go back to wood sticks (or at least ban the one piece composite…I am ok with the aluminum shaft/wood blade hybrid…it is nowhere near the advantage a one piece composite is) and soft equipment as well.

    As for people saying that jobs would be lost…no…they would be shuffled. I would much prefer teams to have “kid lines” or fringe/role players (shootout specialist/pk specialist,etc)on their fourth instead of tough guys. I respect the tough guy role, and enjoy having them on my team and watching them…but maybe I am getting old, maybe it is the parent in me, maybe it is watching the best player in the game (best player for the game since Wayne too)get taken out…maybe it was the horror as I thought I was watching Max Pacioretty die live on tv …maybe it is the passing of this recent group of players……but I am done with the extreme stuff.

    I don’t need to see fighting anymore…the occasional one will happen like it does in baseball or other sports. I don’t need to see the hits where people get their heads nearly taken off….I have played hockey for over 20 years and have an 11 yr old now playing bodychecking for the first time in rep this year…..aside from a handful of years none of this stuff was ever tolerated in any of my leagues……the majority of my hockey life had nothing to do with fighting or hitting….I still love the game I play. How many people out there play hockey with fighting anymore? how many even play bodychecking anymore? Here in Ontario bodychecking is now only allowed for rep teams…roster select and development teams, house league tourneys,etc can’t even do it anymore….times they are a changing and we need to do some serious examination as kids are being chased away by the cost (these one piece sticks cost more than a season of hockey did 10 years ago), they can play soccer/baseball or basketball for peanuts, the violence is sure to scare any parent once they see their child writhing in pain ……the constant and never ending reports on these concussions is downright scary. It has to be stopped…..I can’t believe I have changed my tune like this but enough is enough… is great without the hits that leave players unconscious and the fights that leave guys with concussions. There will always be cheap shots and accidents…and as harsh as this sounds….even Ulf Samuelsson who ended the career of Cam Neely…well….Cam still has his head….he still got his cup and enjoys his life……Marc Savard? he could potentially suffer for many years to come….terrible.

    The International game is more and more appealing as I get older and the violence in hockey that once made the sport unique in some strange sense….now is just holding it back IMO. UFC is alive and well if you want to watch that…..but how many would let their kids do that?…hockey is for the masses….or should be anyway….something better be done sooner than later or it won’t be.

    Why does a cheap shot need to be retaliated upon by another team? how about this off the wall idea?…..the league do it? a 4th liner takes out a teams star…the league puts together a panel and they penalize the organization as well. The suspensions accumulate and instead of goals for or head to head as a tiebreaker….clean hockey is rewarded as a tiebreaker (that may be crazy but I am just trying to think outside the box). Larger suspensions. Longer penalties….why an accidental high stick is the same penalty on the ice as a savage hit is beyond me…..make it a ten minute pp or even longer and one guy has to be in the box for the rest of the game on top of the ejection? (a dman? to make it that much more relevant?) something severe. Tell me how tolerant coaches and organizations would be if one goon act was essentially guaranteed to cost them a game and spend their players so badly that it may even affect them the next game. I don’t know…but something has to be done….I shouldn’t say “has to” but “should” be done anyway.

  37. shiram says:

    Ckac to no longer have any sports content, changed to all traffic/weather station.
    Hockey games and Alouettes games will be on 98.5fm instead.

    If you don’t grok it, drokk it!

    • Un Canadien errant says:

      Wow, spent a lot of time listening to CKAC growing up, my parents would listen to it in the morning, Michel Viens and the news, Jacques Proulx and “Les Prouesses du Matin”, Tex Lecor and his crank calls. I listened because I had to, but it became part of my mornings.

      More interesting for me was the Expos broadcasts with Jacques Doucet and Claude Raymond. Always liked the sports phone-in show as well with Pierre Trudel, although he wasn’t that knowledgeable. Serge Savard had a brief period as host on CKAC before John Ferguson dragged him to Winnipeg.

      How about it NHL? No fighting, just hockey?

  38. Old Bald Bird says:

    Fighting is a problem, but so is the culture of aggression and violence. Has it always been there? Yes and no. At one time the game wasn’t as fast, the player weren’t as big, and the padding wasn’t so destructive.

    The NHLPA will never countenance smaller rosters, but it would be quite feasible to only allow x active players per game. The rest could even dress but only be used as permanent substitutes. For example: allow 10 forwards and 5 Ds to be listed as active players for any given night. You could have 3 subs or whatever number on the bench. That way jobs would be protected but more goons would sit. Even the subs might be specialists, like a guy with suspect D but a great shot being used near the end of a game.

    If solutions are truly wanted, they’re there in plain view.

    • Chuck says:

      Nothing breeds a culture of aggression and violence better than allowing you to punch your opponent in the face.

      • Old Bald Bird says:

        I think I said that “fighting is a problem,” but in my view fighting is actually less a part of the game than it once was. Case in point: the brawls of the 60s and 70s. But I may go back farther in time than most when I make that observation, so it may not be true in everyone’s experience. To me the brutality level has increased a lot since those ancient days or at last the unfortunate results have.

        • Chuck says:

          Thy got the bench-clearing brawls out of the game by simply deciding that they weren’t going to allow it anymore, and penalized it accordingly. They could do the same for individual fights if the really wanted.

          Here’s an idea: have governments amend laws to allow for arrest and prosecution of fighters. Fans in the stand would be arrested for fighting, so why not the players?

        • HabinBurlington says:

          The part of game that really sticks in my craw is the this Bullshit finish your check crap. No, that part of the game has escalated and the violence right with it. You used to have to be fast enough to catch the puck carrier to hit him. Now you just hit him within 10 steamboats of when he last played the puck and voila, you are a good ol canadian hockey kid just finishing your check!

          • Old Bald Bird says:

            Exactly. Hate it.

          • HardHabits says:

            In rumble nobody ever got hit or tackled if they tossed the foil ball.

            I agree. No hitting players without the puck. Once it’s dished contact can only be incidental and has to show a clear intent to avoid a collision.

  39. ed lopaz says:

    saw a report on RDS about Belak. there was an interview with a doctor.

    the doctor explained that the “medication” being taken by pro athletes today is so strong, that they are essentially creating a very serious addiction.


    “Morphine is the naturally occurring opioid in the opium poppy, Papaver somniferum. It is a powerful narcotic analgesic, and its primary clinical use is in the management of moderately severe to severe pain. After heroin, morphine has the greatest potential for addiction of all narcotic analgesics.”

    the doctor continued by suggesting that “enforcers” are particularly addicted to the pain killer containing morphine because the enforcers are under a tremendous pressure to fight or they will lose their jobs.

    ever notice how many fights end up with guys punching each other in areas that sprain and bruise and break their knuckles and fingers.

    so I think it is very likely that more and more pro athletes are going to leave the game addicted to pain killers.

    it is this addiction which is contributing to their decisions to kill themselves.

    I don’t like fighting in hockey – correction – I actually like it but I know it needs to stop for the good of everyone in the game.

    But these deaths MIGHT not be ONLY about fighting – they were mental illnesses brought on or stimulated by drug addiction.

    how can we stop these addictions before they lead to more suicides??

  40. Thomas Le Fan says:

    Not to be disrespectful or non sympathetic but would the media even notice, if three depressed bus drivers died young? This may be significant or a statistical anomaly … or you know, it may mean something or nothing but there is not enough evidence to come to any conclusion whatsoever except that depression kills. Especially among celebrities of both former and present varieties. Without discrimination.

    • TorontoHabsFan says:

      To be fair, there are a lot more bus drivers in North America than NHL enforcers. When 3 out of, what, 30? die over the course of a summer it would be foolish not to take the connection seriously.

      That being said, it’s entirely possible that their jobs had nothing to do with their tragic deaths…but that doesn’t mean this isn’t a good time to start asking the difficult questions we’ve been avoiding for so long.

      If these deaths provide the impetus to re-examine what we’re doing here (and the league, the PA, the media, and the fans are ALL complicit), then I fail to see how that’s a bad thing.

    • Timo says:

      They probably wouldn’t. Just like nobody would notice or talk about in a media when a Joe Blow dies from cancer. It’s a perk that comes with a celebrity status I guess.

    • OneTimer says:

      OK, but has there shown to be direct links between the profession of bus driving and depression? Because more and more evidence is coming out about taking repeated shots to the head, the effect of retiring and being discarded to the wayside when you’re done, etc. Good try to play devil’s advocate, but I don’t think it holds water. 🙁

    • avatar_58 says:

      I don’t understand your point. If someone famous dies, it’s news. I don’t think anyone is suggesting one suicide case is more tragic than another.

      If anything maybe some good will come from all of this – a better awareness of depression and suicide prevention.

      I have to be honest, it’s gotten me to examine my own mental health. This stuff isn’t something to be taken lightly.

    • HabinBurlington says:

      Your point is understandable, however I think the reason I am outraged, is I am a fan that sits at hockey games and cheers, I watch TV sports and cheer. If the sport I am cheering for is causing somehow for these young men to die, shouldn’t something be changed?

      I don’t think people are lining up to buy tickets to cheer bus drivers, and especially not cheering for something to cause their death.

      The fact these young men essentially are entertainers and may be dying for entertainments sake, that is wrong, and something must be done.

  41. Chuck says:

    No one’s got the balls to do it, but eliminating fighting from the NHL would go a long way towards cleaning up the sport. Teenagers fight during games because they see their ‘heroes’ do it on the highlight packages, and because it’s seen as another tool to get another step closer to the NHL. Get rid of fighting in the NHL, and the trickle-down effect would be immediate.

    Wanna fight in the NHL? Ten games, MINIMUM. Second fight, twenty. A third fight: fifty games. And apply it to career fights; you don’t get to hit the reset button at the beginning of the season.

    I can hear it now: “BUT IF YOU GET RID OF FIGHTING THERE’LL BE MORE STICKWORK AND CHEAPSHOTS!!!” The league already has the ability to fine a suspend players for dirty play; enforce those rules with a heavy hand you’ll minimize the cheap stuff.

    I find it laughable that the league will now go out of it’s way to protect players from inanimate objects like rink glass, but won’t protect them from each other. I’ve never seen a pane of plexiglass punch someone in the face or throw an elbow.

  42. AntoineSabourin says:

    Would Winnipeg trade Zach Bogosian straight up for Yannick Webber?

    Bogosian is 6’3″ and 205 pounds. A big Defensive project. Webber is still a project developing too.

  43. rhino514 says:

    If you are a REAL GOOD enforcer, it´s not a tough life at all. How many times has anyone seen Georges Laraque get his bell rung. Or even more than a scratch? Games would go by before he got into a fight. And then it lasts maybe a minute.
    So i understand for some guys with limited skills who also aren´t great fighters but feel they have to fight often to keep a spot on the team. But i just don´t get this “oh, what a sad, terrible life” they have. Why? Because someone occasionally commits suicide? Just like people in any walk of life commit suicide.

    • TorontoHabsFan says:

      Funny you should mention Laraque. Here’s what he recently had to say on TSN radio:

      “I hated fighting. I did it because it was my job. I hated promoting violence. I hated it, I hated it, I hated it.”

  44. Viruk42 says:

    I’m sure someone has mentioned it already, but I will anyways.

    Boxing with gloves causes more deaths than boxing without gloves.

    “…”In 100 years of bare-knuckle fighting in the United States, which terminated around 1897 with a John L Sullivan heavyweight championship fight, there wasn’t a single ring fatality.” Today, there are three or four every year in the US, and around 15 per cent of professional fighters suffer some form of permanent brain damage during their career.”


    The article also says the reason boxing gloves became more popular, and it has nothing to do with bare-knuckles being “savage”.

    “The Marquess of Queensberry rules took off not because society viewed the new sport as more civilised than the old, but because fights conducted under the new guidelines attracted more spectators. Audiences wanted to see repeated blows to the head and dramatic knockouts. “

    • HabinBurlington says:

      Okay, that settles it for me, bring back bareknuckle fighting at the city square – Guaranteed by Viruk No one will ever die!

      • Viruk42 says:

        Did I guarantee anything? Did *I* claim that nobody died from bare-knuckle fights? Perhaps you should work on something called “reading comprehension” before you jump to conclusions.

        To clarify for people who fail literacy tests: I’m not suggesting bare-knuckle fighting is great, I’m merely disagreeing with Boone’s statement:

        “There’s a reason bare-knuckle boxing was banned in the earliest years of the 20th century. It was a savage “sport” that exacted a grim toll among its practitioners.”

        It was less savage than the current sport of boxing (or MMA for that matter), because it caused less death.
        It’s worth noting the reasons why people didn’t die from bare-knuckle fighting. The main thing is what was being punched. If you don’t have a boxing glove, you’re less likely to punch the face/head due to the damage it will do to your hands. Obviously hockey fights ignore this, which means it can’t really be compared to bare-knuckle fights.
        The simple facts are that a bare fist to the face causes more broken teeth and bones (both on hands and face) than with a glove, but less concussions (the boxing glove adds quite a bit of weight to the blow).

        You should also note: nowhere in my comments have I mentioned my own stance on hockey fights.

        • HabinBurlington says:

          Okay Viruk, I was kidding. But unless this study you quote compared equal number of bare knuckle fights to the amount of fights since with gloves the comparison is not fair either.

          I also suspect in the days of bare knuckle fighting you could die a few months later and the doctors weren’t exactly looking for clues as to what caused the individual to die and tie it back to bareknuckle fighting.

          • Viruk42 says:

            Most of the deaths would, I imagine, be caused by the lesser medicine of the time. Bare-knuckle blows to the chest would likely cause internal bleeding, perhaps things like ruptured kidneys or punctured lungs (I’m no doctor, so this is entirely speculation on my part). Most of that is relatively easy to fix today, but in the 1800s much less so. Especially in the sense of technology and awareness; fighters could have scans done after a fight to determine levels of internal damage. Back then they may not have been aware of the internal damage, let alone have the ability to scan for it.

            This difference also applies to the numbers (modern boxers should die less than boxers 100 years ago, just due to medicine). But if 3 or 4 die every year from modern boxing while 0 died from 1797 to 1897 in the entire US, there’d have to be less than 1000 fights in 100 years for it to really be ineligible as a statistical comparison. 3 or 4 every year may only be 0.00001%, but 0 from 100 years is still going to be less.

          • HabinBurlington says:

            I hear what you are saying, but I would not want to watch Mike Tyson in his prime bare knuckle fighting anyone. The sight would be savage. Okay maybe the other guy doesn’t get a concussion, but the plastic surgery required after would be epic.

            Again, sorry for my bad attempt at humour based on your first point. I personally think bare knuckle fighting today is savage, it is what drunk punks do after a night of drinking at a bar. Ya I have seen it, i have been part of it. I want nothing to with it. I hate fighting, it solves nothing.

            Would love to just watch hockey in its purest form, a Eutopia I will probably never get to watch.

  45. adamkennelly says:

    its a freakin game…and fighting is part of the NHL game..if you don’t like it..go watch Euro or US College…just like I don’t like watching MMA because of the ridiculous violence..I choose not to…but I don’t go around talking about how they should be using massive pillows and wear body armor…its ridiculous…Game, played for entertainment and money at the professional level…I don’t know about you but if someone offered to pay me 500K to get into the odd fight on the ice – I would take it…even knowing “all” the risks….

    • TorontoHabsFan says:

      We should probably get rid of helmets and goalie masks, return to using immovable goalposts and remove the plexiglass from the boards completely, or at most replace it with chain-link fencing.

      It’s a freaking game, no need to make it safe!

    • Un Canadien errant says:

      It’s a freaking game, but also a huge business where very few rich men get wealthier by selling the life of eager young men who love the freaking game. If these men refuse to clean up their business it may be time for us to do it for them.

      As far as choosing to not watch the NHL, I refuse to let them ‘own’ hockey. Just because these owners committed great crimes at some point in the past to amass large fortunes and bought a franchise with their ill-gotten gains doesn’t mean they can do what they want with hockey. The Canadiens are part of our patrimony, as much as the Maple Leafs and the Canucks. The NHL can have benevolent owners like the Molsons and show creativity and morality to adapt to modern times, or we will take it back.

      How about it NHL? No fighting, just hockey?

  46. kenzie420 says:

    It makes me sick that the press and some people linked to the nhl are trying to connect the 3 deaths of these players to the declining role of the tough guy in the Nhl. It has nothing to do with it. People that kill them selfs have serious mental problems and that is that. Wade Belek was let go by Nashville because he is not a good hockey player. These recent events in my opinion are
    unfortunate however they have nothing to do with fighting in the league or the lack of for that matter.

    When times get tough, just remember, at least I’m not a leafs fan!! go habs go

    • G-Man says:

      Go back. Read the articles again. It isn’t 1 or 2 fights that damage the players’ brains (although all it really takes is 1 punch) completely, it is the once or twice a week thing that does them in. When Trevor Gillies acted out on the ice this year for the Islanders, was that not reminiscent of the WWE and those clowns?
      I will repeat this ad nauseum: you want to watch fights? Watch boxing and MMA and UFC. I’d rather watch hockey.

    • Un Canadien errant says:

      Kenzie you’re enjoying too much of the 420, you’re about as sharp as Brad Pitt in “True Romance”. The serious mental problems tend to affect guys who fight a lot. That’s the discussion we’re having today.

      Here, I did the research for you, it took me two seconds (from Wikipedia):

      Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is a progressive degenerative disease found in individuals who have been subjected to multiple concussions and other forms of head injury. A variant of the condition, dementia pugilistica, is primarily associated with boxing. CTE has been most commonly found in professional athletes participating in gridiron football, ice hockey, professional wrestling and other contact sports, who have experienced head trauma, resulting in characteristic degeneration of brain tissue and the accumulation of tau protein. Individuals with Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy may show symptoms of dementia such as memory loss, aggression, confusion and depression which may appear within months of the trauma or many decades later.
      How about it NHL? No fighting, just hockey?

  47. saskhab says:

    Mike, bare knuckled fighting is worse for things like skull fractures and broken fingers, and yes it is savage. And while those injuries are certainly serious (skull fractures more so than concussions) bare knuckled punches are less likely than fighting with gloves to knock the brain around and cause concussions.

    That said, everyone jumping on the NHLPA or NHL needs to ask harder questions about hockey at the grassroots level. Why are we allowing our teenage boys to do this? Why do we allow 20 year olds to fight with 16 year olds in a semi-pro circuit? If we eliminate fighting at the amateur and junior hockey levels, it will go a lot longer to solving this problem than anything else. Studies show that concussions at a younger age are far more damaging than those that occur in your 20s and 30s when your body has filled out. And it’d reduce the number of fights a player would get into in their career by a ton… there is more fighting at these levels than there is in the NHL.

    As far as this whole ‘preparing for life after hockey’ thing, I don’t know, but isn’t that what high school and college are for? Maybe taking kids away from their homes as 16 year olds and having them play 68-100 hockey games a year, and not letting the kids experience these key formative years beyond the rink, would help out. We’re churning out one-dimensional citizens, who can’t possibly have a lifelong career in this profession (though they can get exceedingly wealthy). The kids that go through the NCAA system at least seem more mature and balanced in general.

  48. TorontoHabsFan says:

    Something to lighten the mood – from Chad Ochocinco’s twitter account this morning:

    “Morning all,someone ended a tweet to me with “STFU.” I’ve no doubt they were referring to St. Fu the patron saint of long mustaches.”


  49. olegpetrov says:

    Every time I watch that video of Subban scoring the hat trick, it both excites me and infuriates me. He’s such an exciting player to watch and has so much talent. When he celebrated the overtime goal against Calgary, he was labeled a showboat and called disrespectful. This led to him not celebrating a hat trick. HIS FIRST BLOODY HAT TRICK IN THE NHL!!! Unbelievable. Ovechkin can celebrate every goal like it is his first, but Subban can’t celebrate an overtime goal or a hat trick? Is it because Subban is a Montreal Canadien? It can’t be because people think he is dirty or a chirper because Ovechkin is a really dirty player. I hope Subban tells everybody to f*#k off and plays his game and continues celebrating goals.

    Habs fan…Nuff said

    • avatar_58 says:

      Why is it not ok to showboat? If you got it – flaunt it. I’ve never understood the hate for guys like Ovechkin being happy about their goals.

      • im also confused at the ovechkin is a really dirty player comment

        • olegpetrov says:

          confused? go look at the dirty/questionable hits he’s thrown throughout the years. don’t get me wrong, i like the guy as a player, but he has thrown countless knees at people. he’s even been suspended twice for deliberate knees.

          Habs fan…Nuff said

      • shiram says:

        Showboating, could be considered delay of game of some sort…
        But I don’t mind it, as long as it’s a long and intricate display, like they have sometimes in both kinds of football.

        If you don’t grok it, drokk it!

    • Un Canadien errant says:

      I don’t mind celebrations (contrary to the NFL) as long as they are not disrespectful of the opponent. Too many times in football or basketball you see a player score a touchdown or dunk and they then flex and jaw right in their opponent’s face. That stuff is rightfully proscribed.

      How about it NHL? No fighting, just hockey?

  50. TorontoHabsFan says:

    What really blows my mind is how derelict in duty the players association has been with what plainly is a workplace safety/health and welfare issue. They seem to be going out of their way to do nothing about the health and welfare of their members.

    If they’re trying to convince the public that their only purpose is to maximize salaries, then they’re doing a bang-up job.

  51. JohnBellyful says:

    The NHL should set a threshold for PIMs, that triggers the levying of team fines and individual suspensions. If a team surpasses X number of penalty minutes for fighting, spearing, hitting from behind, hits to the head,and any other infraction that carries with it the potential for bodily harm, it should pay a price, in fines — or a reduction in cap space.
    For players, it would be suspensions, of increasing length whenever they pass the next threshold for unacceptable behaviour.
    Clearly, teams that play on the edge have little regard for the rules and should be punished for their unsportsmanlike conduct. (The same argument could apply to teams with high PIM totals that have more to do with sheer incompetence than a bellicose nature.) Some teams need to be forcefully reminded that the sport of hockey is more about skill than brute force.
    The NHL responded to growing disenchantment with the hooking and holding that was ruining the game, it should demonstrate even greater accountability at this stage by being sensitive to the mounting disgust among fans with the lack of respect players show each other.

  52. HardHabits says:

    I have a better idea. Something like in the film Death Race. Incarcerate all hockey players and make it a sport where the team that wins the Stanley Cup get’s their freedom. In the new sport however things like decapitation and head shots will not only be condoned and encouraged but will actually be part of the game.

    I mean we’re heading for a Prison Planet scenario any ways. Just ask our resident AWE. He can point you to all the links. Poor Bugs is drowning in his research at the moment (hopefully he comes up for air soon). He knows too.

    So let’s just face facts. Hockey is the last vestige of Roman gladiatorial excess. So forget about head trauma, suicide or over dose taking out lives. It’s time for the ice to be soaked in the blood of these glorious and heroic warriors.

    Either that or Starz can start a new series entitled “Blood and Ice: God’s of the Arena”.

  53. The idea that fighters “know the risks” is complete BS. None of these guys are properly educated on the long term effects of concussions. Listening to the guys on twitter lately like Matt Barnaby and Tyson Nash, none of them are prepared for retirement either. Like TorontoHabsFan said, the whole “they knew the risks” argument is what corporations used with miners, asbestos workers and all sorts of other dangerous occupations. It’s complete BS. These guys have no idea what they’re in for when they hit retirement.

    • TorontoHabsFan says:

      Another reason to take action – these guys clearly LOVE hockey, and therefore likely aren’t thinking rationally and will do whatever it takes to keep playing the game they obviously adore.

      I can weigh the pros and cons of two work environments fairly dispassionately because I don’t LOVE landscaping or waiting tables (for example). I don’t think these guys have the same luxury….I read in Bruce Arthur’s article that Todd Fedoruk is trying out with Vancouver even though his FACE is held together with a dozen titanium plates that can be caved in during a fight…and he knows that if he makes the team, his role will be to fight. He’s literally risking his face for another kick at the can. That doesn’t seem like a decision that was made after taking in all the factors…


    • Chorske says:

      And even when they know the risks, the culture and personal motivation levels are such that players will often lie to team medical staff about symptoms, and insist on playing when they should be recuperating.

      As fans, we help promote this warrior culture, don’t we? Remember how proud we all were that Lars Eller popped his disclocated shoulder back in during the playoffs- and missed, what, one or two shifts? And who was it played on a broken leg for most of the playoffs a few years back? These dudes are conditioned to play hurt, and we laud them for it. It’s kind of crazy.

    • punkster says:

      Pretty clear from some of the comments here over the past couple of days that some people do not like to face reality and do not accept change. They’ll have to find another blood sport to follow because the NHL will either change or die.

      I doubt change will be immediate because I have no faith in the present leadership and management of both the league and the PA to readily acknowledge their stupidity. There will be “studies” and “meetings” and everything will be “under consideration” with a few tweaks to the support mechanisms but no real action until the new collective bargaining agreement is on the table…if then.

      ***Subbang Baby!!!***

      • The Dude says:

        OK Punkster…. frozen vulcanized rubber disk launched at 100 mph, twelve athletes”and 3 officials” on SHARP skates going full out on ice in every direction ,shot blocking,body checking,stick play and the occasional elbow and your worried bout a punch in the puss?… really?

        • “a punch to the puss”

          hes doing it again

        • punkster says:

          Stephen, the times they are a’ changin’ and the league won’t survive without moving with the times. So would you or your workers go up on a roof without certain minimum safety precautions? Your job is risky, dangerous even. Do you do all you can to minimize those risks?

          ***Subbang Baby!!!***

          • The Dude says:

            Still taking a chance going to work everyday punkster.In your case you’ve never liked fighting in hockey and if those three athletes we’re still alive today you would be making the same statements.Which is cool…good-luck with that.

    • Frank Labarbotte says:

      How could they not know the risks? Even before recent studies on concussions came out, we knew what happened to old punched-out boxers.

      Look, I’m not trying to defend the NHL’s inaction against head hits, but to say that professional hockey enforcers/fighters don’t know the consequences is simply ridiculous. Talk to Chris Nilan and tell me that the man hasn’t taken a few too many blows to the head… it’s like that with every NHL enforcer, so let’s not pretend that it’s a revelation all of a sudden.

      Yes, I would like to see the rules changed to enhance player safety and yes, I’d like the league to take measures to prevent the Boogard/Belak type tragedies. However, what I disagree with is the notion that both Boogard and Belak didn’t know that they were causing their brains tremendous amount of damage.

      And saying that this is the only life they know so they can’t go and do another job is like saying that you can’t quit cigarettes because you’re addicted. You know you’re harming yourself, yet you keep going back to it. What’s looking cool worth if you have lung cancer? What’s an NHL salary worth if you’re not mentally there to enjoy it?

      So to sum, we as fans should try to change the rules and culture to enhance the game, but in the end it’s up to the Wade Belaks and Derek Boogards of the world to stand up and say “we’re not going to do this anymore.” Otherwise, things won’t ever change

      • HardHabits says:

        So you’re saying that law enforcement should stop arresting heroin smugglers and just leave it up to junkies to say, “No.”

        I get your point but to say the responsibility is solely up to the enforcers is putting too much trust in the individual to clean up after himself if he can just leave a mess and move on to another clean site.

        The league has to create the conditions where players like Belak, Rypien, and Boogard would have little hope of ever having NHL careers. Maybe not feeding them opiates would be a nice way of not trying to sweep the mess under the carpet as well.

        Let’s blame the victim.

  54. The Dude says:

    I say no more hockey on an ice surface….who to say this brain trauma wasn’t caused by a fall ,heck I’ve got two smashed elbows from falling on arena ice”NOTHING IS WORSE THAN FALLING ON ice ask Brashear!” and whether you have a helmet or not if you look at the whole development of a young hockey player till he becomes a senior,you can’t tell me he hasn’t cracked his yolk once! Sorry ,again way too many factors in play here ,but hey you guy’s go on figuring what ails us all……

  55. HabsFanInOttawa says:

    If anyone is planning on buying pre-season tickets tomorrow for the first 3 games (Stars, Sabres, and Sens) send me an email instead. I’m not using any of those tickets so you can have them at way less than full price.
    Just drop me an email to deimers at hotmail dot com

  56. HabFanSince72 says:

    Fighting is not the problem but it is a problem.

    THE problem is the entire culture of hockey, from top to bottom. From coaches in junior, to the players, to the league, to the commentators (esp. HNIC), the whole thing is corrupt. It’s like the Catholic Church and Bettman is their Ratzinger.

  57. adamkennelly says:

    people forget it is a GAME….and fighting is part of the NHL, AHL and Junior GAMES…and I like it there. People get hurt doing a lot of things…they are playing this game by choice for a lot of money and lets be honest – players are far more likely to be injured with a high stick or blind side hit than in a scrap. That being said – when someone gets killed on the ice in a fight – that will be the end of it…and it prolly will happen.

    Personally I don’t think the deaths of Boogard, Rypien and Belak have anything at all to do with their jobs on the ice…more to do with depression and substance abuse which are both a lot more dangerous than the odd punch in the face.

    • Chorske says:

      Jaysus. Where to begin.
      players are far more likely to be injured with a high stick or blind side hit than in a scrap.
      Which is EXACTLY why high sticking and blindside hits (e.g. boarding) are punishable offenses: to provide the players with a measure of protection from shitty harmful plays, and to to provide the audience with some reassurance that they are not watching a Running Man-esque deathmatch.

    • Un Canadien errant says:

      adam, either you’re sticking your head in the sand or up somewhere else, but you’re being willfully blind to the evidence that links brain injury to depression. You’re also oblivious to the fact that depressed people tend to feel horrible and try to self-medicate, which leads to substance abuse. So to state that the three players mentioned died because of these two factors but not because of their on-ice work is incongruous at best.

      How about it NHL? No fighting, just hockey?

  58. Jim Edson says:

    Eklund must be low on website hits!

    He’s flogging a Winnipeg – Habs trade AGAIN!!!!!

    …..My empire is crumbling, my international sponsors are deserting me, my authority is questioned, I am held in contempt wherever I go.

    Who am I: Mohamar Ghadaffi or Gary Bettman.

  59. JohnBellyful says:

    Consensus is building for the NHL to crack down on violence in hockey, but the league is not moving as quickly or as broadly as some fan quarters would like. When popular sentiment, expert opinion and ethical arguments aren’t enough, ridicule is always an option to help spur on change. And when it involves the logical consequence of a disturbing trend …

    Ding dong! His bell got rung! He bit his tongue! He’s feeling stunned!
    Ding dong! The son-of-a-%&@#$ is down!
    Get up, you dizzy head, if you stay down you’ll lose your cred!
    Get up, you son-of-a-%&@#$ right now!
    Are you really feeling woe!
    We say, Oh no! Oh no! Yo ho!
    Just shake your head, and get the cobwebs out
    Ding dong! The merry-oh, sing it high, sing it low.
    Let Bettman know
    … The son-of-a-%&@#$ IS dead!

    (I have this eerie feeling that Margaret Hamilton, the Wicked Witch, is Bettman’s grandmother, based on looks alone.)

  60. BKAK72 says:

    Enforcers, agitators, role players … these are code words for a league whose talent pool has slowly dwindled since the league expanded back in the early 1990s. The GMs have made a conscious decision to promote a game of hits/fights, as opposed to a game of sticks/slash.


    • Neutral says:

      Malreg: I disagree fighting should be included on your list, than you have it right, if you think fighting don’t hurt the Brain, you should let someone beat your head for two minutes 1-2 times a week for a hockey season and let us know what it feels like, I played hockey and I fought at times I know for sure it has to be an addition to Brain damage and concussions as well as all the things you listed.
      Punkstar: Has it right best post today

  61. Malreg says:

    Fighting is not the problem. Hits from behind, elbows, and other cheap shots are the biggest issue in the sport, and the leading cause for concussions and injuries.

    • Chorske says:

      Agree. But that’s not the point. The point is ALL of those things need to be banned.

    • Un Canadien errant says:

      Disagree. Fighting is a problem, as evidenced by the untimely death of so many enforcers. It is also a problem because it perpetuates a cycle of violence, as opposed to letting off steam as apologists would have you believe. Hits from behind and elbows thrive in this climate of violence, but would wither in a zero-tolerance league.

      How about it NHL? No fighting, just hockey?

  62. punkster says:

    I’m a fan. I watch the game because I enjoy it as I enjoyed coaching and playing when I was younger. My hockey is about skill, scoring, play making, saves and physical play. My hockey isn’t about head hits, fighting, concussions and young men dying.

    ***Subbang Baby!!!***

    • shiram says:

      That’s the way hockey should be.

      If you don’t grok it, drokk it!

      • HabFanSince72 says:

        Shiram –

        I was walking on Rachel last night and there was a long line at La Banquise. Briefly thought of going in but resisted. However I did see the kitchen and they were dishing out huge heaping plates of glistening fatty-umami goodness. I think it’s worth another try.

        • shiram says:

          My poutine eating is on hold, I’ve been having issues with my throat and respiratory system and am avoiding all spicy/salty/greasy foods for a while on the recommandations of the doc.
          Only went once to the Banquise, and it was not bad but for being billed the best poutine, it was difficult not being disapointed.
          Chez Claudette was easily better.

          If you don’t grok it, drokk it!

  63. PrimeTime says:

    It isn’t mandatory that teams have “an enforcer”….it’s not a postion. It’s a teams choice to employ and play a player of that skill set. I don’t see White as an enforcer because he has other hockey skills as well. I’m sure he would be quite pleased if he could play a forechecking style game and never having to throw or take a punch again. Good “Canadian Hockey” does not need to include fighting. If players start a fight because they’re pissed at a player then they’re gone for game or the next. Fighting doesn’t need to be banned – just discouraged and penalized like every other pro sports league. I wish people would stop thing in “extremes”.

    • shiram says:

      Bare knuckle fighting is extreme though, and should not be tolerated in hockey.

      If you don’t grok it, drokk it!

    • HabinBurlington says:

      While I see your point PT, to have these enforcers miss 1 game due to a fight will be zero detriment. Wade Belak dressed in 15 games last season, 39, 53, 47, 65 and 55 games the previous seasons. I personally would be fine if we saw hockey fights as often as baseball bench clearing brawls. But if you don’t make the penalties extremely harsh, you are not trying to take it out of the game.

      If a player leaves the bench to join a fight immediate major suspension. That is the kind of punishment required for fighting, it got rid of bench clearing brawls.

      • Un Canadien errant says:

        An easy solution is to have the suspension increase in length for repeat offenders. So ejection and one game suspension for a fight, four games for the next, ten games for the one after that, etc… No reset from one season to the next. This will effectively eliminate fights from the NHL.

        How about it NHL? No fighting, just hockey?

    • G-Man says:

      Fighting should have a mandatory suspension of 3 games. So should stick work. We want to watch hockey, not “Killers on Ice.”

  64. HardHabits says:

    The solution is simple. Give the players that fight boxing gloves instead of hockey gloves. It’s not like they’re scoring goals, making passes or playing a regular shift of shut down hockey.

    I know some people will argue this a red herring but it is my impression that this all started with the creation of the instigator rule and has been exacerbated by the league’s impotence and denial. Unfortunately there is no going back, because that would be a tacit admission that the league is at fault and the lawyers who run the league fear lawsuits more than any thing else.

    Therefore the next step would be to institute mandatory suspensions to any player who recklessly injures another player and base that decision on the severity of the injury and the number of times the player has been reprimanded for questionable hits. Regardless of intent.

    Chara, Steckel, Moore. All those players and more would have been suspended if such a rule was implemented and enforced. Moore as a repeat offender would just have been banned from the NHL altogether.

    As for fighting, remove the instigator rule. It will at the very least eliminate the staged fights.

    • G-Man says:

      The “instigator rule” is a GIGANTIC red herring.
      Players are stronger and more dangerous these days than in the old days of “take the summer off and use training camp to get in shape.”
      Ban fighting. It has nothing to do with the game. Want to watch fighting? Watch UFC and boxing.

  65. ClaytonM says:

    “There’s a reason bare-knuckle boxing was banned in the earliest years of the 20th century.”

    So punching someone without gloves on increases head trauma, no surprise there. Wouldn’t that mean elbowing someone to the head, with the equipment in use now, would be the equivalent of boxing with brass knuckles?

    By the way, does Red Fisher weigh in on Belak, or does he go off on a tangent about Jean Beliveau? I guess not everyone can do like Lloyd Robertson and retire with people wanting more.

    Ken Dryden For NHL Commissioner

  66. caladin says:

    I really see this as an enforcement issue. Before banning fighting I think we need to prove to the players that blindside elbows to the head of players nowhere near the puck (as an example) have actual consequences.
    For anyone, even a star.
    At any time of the game or year.
    It’s starting to feel like the players were safer with no helmets, and that’s not a good sign.
    It’s on you now Mr. Shanahan, don’t let the old goon’s club push you around.

    • TorontoHabsFan says:

      Very much agree. What drove me crazy about the Chara incident was that he escaped punishment because he “has never been a dirty player”.

      Whether or not that’s actually true (I don’t think it is), he did something very clearly wrong – at the very least it was interference causing bodily harm. He should have been given a suspension. Even if he had a clean track record before, now he doesn’t. So while the punishment might not be as severe as it would for a Matt Coooke, there should still be a punishment. That way, he knows that if he crosses the line again, a more severe punishment is possible. As it stands now, he remains “a clean player” in the eyes of the disciplinary committee.

      I mean a pillar of society will still get some sort of punishment for drinking and driving, even if it’s not as severe as the guy caught drinking and driving for the 8th time.

  67. TorontoHabsFan says:

    I’m on record with not liking fighting at all. I generally find them boring and an excuse to go to the fridge for another beer. What I do find especially chilling is to go to a Major-Junior game and see a crowd of thousands of adults cheering on a couple of teenagers beating each other in the face. That’s just twisted.

    But as far as the NHL is concerned – I think the pro-fighting side needs to address the fact that the great majority of fights I see have nothing to do with policing the game. Those kinds of fights appear to be in the great minority. Instead the vast majority of fights I see are either 1) The two designated “heavyweights” on each team are gonna fight tonight…just ’cause and 2) Our team is losing, so let’s have a fight and see if that wakes our team up – when of course two very good fore-checking shifts would change the momentum more effectively.

    I see little reason why these fights cannot be eliminated very easily. Treat the penalty like a red card – out for that game, down a player for the next game too. Sure it will mean the refs will have to make judgement calls – but that’s what they’re paid for isn’t it?

    The actual, heat of the moment, Lecavalier-Iginla fights can remain, but this sideshow stuff should disappear.

  68. JoeC says:

    So I hear they want to ban head shots from boxing because a boxer does not box because he wants brain damage.

    They are banning strikes to the head in UFC, since they can cause damage.


    Im so sick and tired of these debates, players that fight KNOW they have to fight or do not have a job in the NHL. Its called a danger in the job they have to accept. Boogyman, Belak, etc had 1 roll on there teams, and only reason they where on there teams, or playing in the NHL at all. I think this debate would not be lasting this long if we had a fighter or 2 on our team, but since we have a team of wusses lead by the biggest wuss in the league, JM, we are trying to figure a way to make our team better by doing nothing, and thats getting rid of fighting.

    If they took fighting out of this league, it would be even worse since players will find other ways to punish other players, and to be honest that will be a lot more dagerous then fighting, ETC Chara on Patchs.

    • avatar_58 says:

      UFC won’t last either. It’s still very young – just wait until the vets show signs of major brain damage.

      • JoeC says:

        And boxing? they have vets that are veggies basically but it still goes on, the person chooses to box.

        • J_P says:

          I am inclined to agree with you about how NHL fighters know what they are getting themselves into. The only thing is, boxing is a sport where the victor is the guy who lays the bigger beatdown on his opponent and so is MMA. Hockey is a sport where the victor is the team who scores the most goals at the end of 60 minutes. I have no problem with Iggy and Lecavalier throwing down in the finals, that was epic, but I do have a problem with guys like Belak, Boogard, Mcgrattan, etc… A guy should get a roster spot because he can play the game. By constantly putting these types of players on team rosters, NHL GM’s are leaving these players no choice but to fight. It is, after all, the reason they were hired. Sure they know the risks associated, but we’re encouraging it, and I just don’t see how fighting fits into hockey. Fighting isn’t the sport, its a sideshow of the sport, and last time I checked, Hockey isn’t (or shouldn’t be) a circus.

        • GenerationYHabs says:

          Key difference being that fighting in both the ufc and boxing are the actual sport in it’s entirety, where both individuals are trained and conditioned accordingly. Fighting in the nhl however is not part of the game, in fact it is clearly against the rules and simply tolerated in the NHL.

          Im not arguing for or against fighting because frankly im on the fence when it comes to that subject. But arguing that athletes in combative sports are required to fight and accept the consequences, and then try to relate that to hockey is absurd.

          Also would you please explain to me how having a 4th line goon have a staged fight with a Boston 4th liner going to stop Lurch from driving Patches head into a wall? Or how not having these will cause more of this to happen?

        • avatar_58 says:

          When is the last time you heard anyone mention boxing? It’s a fringe interest now. UFC is insanely popular. As I said – just wait a few years till one of them is brain dead, shit will hit the fan and it too will become unpopular.

          • HabinBurlington says:

            But Dana White says its safe?

          • shiram says:

            I’ve followed the UFC for a while, it does showcase some truly skilled individuals, but I grew tired of it. One fighter in particular seems to examplify this, Chuck Liddell.
            He was a champion, and got all kinds of awards, but his later fights we’re terrible, he’d get knocked out easy, where before he could “take it”. I see that guy, and it’s very hard for me not to think some permanent damage as been done.

            If you don’t grok it, drokk it!

      • habsguy says:

        just wait until…LOL…check this out.

    • likehoy says:

      okay but when was the last time an ENFORCER fought someone who’s not another ENFORCER??

      Laraque is right, if they just take out the instigator rule, then people won’t throw nasty hits.

      – Gomez is holding down the “overpaid” button

    • HabinBurlington says:

      I am sure Tom Pyatt would agree with you. Don’t recall him agreeing to have some douchebag punch him in the head with kevlar repeatedly. You can’t be half pregnant, you either join the Romans and enjoy watching people beat the F*$K out of each other or you play hockey. What part of hockey says, time to go beat the F*%K out of the other guy. Go enjoy MMA sounds like your style of game.

      And can you please answer the question of what we would have had to do as a Habs team to prevent Chara’s hit. I call complete BS on this crap about fighting preventing that crap.

      It is the leagues job to suspend/punish those offenders, that is the answer to cheapshots not fighting.

  69. neumann103 says:

    Post concussion syndrome serves as a linkage between the Savard/Crosby career threatening type situations and the Enforcer deaths.

    I don’t think there is a need for fighting, and you could reduce it significantly if you increased the penalties, but this would require several simultaneous actions on enforcement that all place more responsibility on linesmen.

    If fighting was an automatic ejection and league review for discipline it would be less common but you have to give more “outs” for good players attacked by goons as a tactical measure to not fight without being shamed as “turtling”. Since we cannot rely on ourselves collectively as fans to grow up and accept that Sidney Crosby backing out of fighting Zenon Konopka would be smart and prudent and responsible commitment to the success of his teammates instead of “cowardice” we need the linesmen to get in more aggressively than ever to stop things.

    The other linesman-centric effort should be to allow them to call penalties – or more specifically to call a broader subset of serious penalties targeting these concerns. Don’t have them add to the heaps of bogus hooking calls, just admit that when you have serious headshots or other major concerns going uncalled because there are not enough eyes on the play, use the eyes you already have on the play. For all my complaints about officiating, the NHL officials are a very competent bunch. Use them.

    But really what is needed is actual enforcement of dangerous cheap shots that would reduced the perceived need for retaliation. eg the Steckel hit on Crosby was behind the play and on the opposite side – except for the near side linesman. That , or the Moore hit on Naslund that eventually precipitated the Bertuzzi assault were the type of fast moving play where perspective might hinder the ref’s view.

    And please please please can we ban the use of the beyond meaningless phrase “it was a hockey play” as justification. It is bad enough when it is used to absolve careless but dangerous play, but beyond asinine when applied to the likes of the calculated Chara attack on MaxPac running him into the boards 40 feet away from the play on a dump in with 15 seconds in the period.

    • JoeC says:

      ” Post concussion syndrome serves as a linkage between the Savard/Crosby career threatening type situations and the Enforcer deaths.”

      And they knew the risks when they started, this isnt chess on ice, its friggin hockey.

      • TorontoHabsFan says:

        “They knew the risks when they took the job”

        They used to say the same thing about miners, and dockhands, and construction or factory workers….Just because they’re well-compensated doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t expect a safe work environment.

  70. Ian Cobb says:

    Saddam is gone, Mabarik is gone, Benladdin is gone, Gaddafi is gone, killer Bettman is next.!

    Researchers study brain of Derek Boogaard

    Jim Litke, The Associated Press

  71. V says:

    It’s going to be interesting watching the NHL deal with all of this. I suspect we see three phases: Act One – Recognition and Contrition; Act Two – Tinkering, Obstruction and Delay; Act Three – Move on Quietly With as Little Improvement as Possible.

    Within the NHL’s world, the case for fighting is as strong as ever. Outside of the NHL – in real society – the case for fighting is an aboration, a throw-back to the days of John L. Sullivan. In other words, we have not seen people who are not NHL owners make the case for bare-knuckled fighting since before the First World War. That’s right, NHL owners appear to live in that time when human life was so valued we could throw tens of thousands over a trench wall into sure and horrible death and call it military strategy.

    I love the Canadiens, but sometimes I sure wish they played in a different league.

    • HabinBurlington says:

      +1, I suspect they find a way to get to Act Three ASAP, like as soon as the season starts and they can get everyone’s attention away from these current stories. Pressure will be on Media and Fans to keep these issues current.

    • neumann103 says:


      But what is really the hallmark of the NHL is how bad they will be at even faking their way through Act One and Act Two. That is among my chief complaints about the likes of Bettman: how they cannot even understand how to mount the kabuki of concern, and seem like they are doing something. They just immediately get to defensive head in the sand “Nothing to see, move along, move along” stage.
      “Et le but!”

  72. Habsrule1 says:

    I’m on the fence with this. I was listening to Tony Marinaro yesterday and he just about convinced me that it’s time to end fighting in hockey. While I’m still leaning to that side of the fence, I’m not 100% sure that’s the fix here. People are depressed in all walks of life for all kinds of reasons. People also get concussions from all types of plays. Cutting out fighting would undoubtedly cut down on concussions but it would also cut down on about 20 jobs in the NHL. Maybe that’s a good thing and would help teach “enforcers” to work at other aspects of their game. I tend to believe that had there been no fighting in the 70’s and 80’s, Chris Nilan would have still had a job.
    I guess I’m more on the side of banning fighting than I’ve ever been. I’d love to hear arguements on both sides here though.

    Go Habs Go!!

    “Fans are great, but the quickest way to start losing is to listen to them.” – Sam Pollock

    • slamtherimtim says:

      i think the difference is they would fight for different reasons then they do today , now it’s about the show , where as it was a player finally having enough and beating the crap of that little rat on the other team , right now with the amount of teams , i believe you need the side show , some of the fourth liners on some teams shouldnt be in the NHL , get rid of a couple teams and then cut out the fighting and get rid of the border line NHL’ers , and the leauge would be in a lot better postion, to ensure of a quality product on the ice,

      • HabinBurlington says:

        Or get rid of the unskilled 4th liners and the Corey Locke and Tom Pyatt type players in the league have NHL careers with 1 way contracts.

        I am all for contraction, but that will be harder to convince the NHL than taking action against fighting.

    • HabinBurlington says:

      I don’t think anyone is saying Stop Fighting and none of the tragedies we just observed this summer stop happening.

      Rather I believe there is just a mounting pile of evidence which says we should be doing everything possible to prevent concussions and head related injuries from occurring.

      I am in complete favour of actually trying to remove fighting from hockey. I am not sure that in this sport where fighting has been allowed that it will ever be gone from the sport, but clearly the amount of it can be drastically reduced.

      The thing about Chris Nilan was he was able to play a vey effective role in hockey. He could play a regular shift with Carbo and Gainey defensively, while also answering the bell per se to the fighting which has been accepted in hockey. In fact you go through that Flyer roster and pretty much all of their heavyweights played regular shifts on their team.

      I recognize my suggestion will never be accepted, but perhaps the NHL could adopt some kind of requirement where a player dressing for games must average 8 mins. of icetime per game (and penalty mins. don’t count).

      The reality is that currently many teams in this league have 1-2 players on their roster who average 3-5 shifts per game. These shifts average 30-45 seconds and for those shifts these players are essentially instructed to hit anything that moves and fight the guy on the other team doing the same thing. What really does that player accomplish? Ryan White clearly has fighting in his repetoire, but we all know he can play 10-13 shifts per game for the Habs without fighting and be an effective player. If the NHL could at least start by removing the players whose sole attribute is fighting it would be a start. Let’s not kid ourselves, the rest of the players in the league aren’t pacifist monks unable to defend themselves in some regard. The notion of 1 teams tough guy fighting another teams tough guy, just doesn’t equate to a safer game in my humble estimation.

      • Habsrule1 says:

        I love your idea of a minimum shift number or even a minimum minutes of ice time. That would eliminate a lot of the headhunting that many of these guys are told to go out and do on their 2-3 shifts per game. It would also serve, as you mention, as a way to help some of the fighters realize that they should work on certain skills that could make them a better player. They may never be the most talented on the team, but perhaps they can find a way to become that Chris Nilan type of player, and eventually, if fighting no longer exists, they would still have a place in the NHL.

        Can anyone tell me how to get a pic on here. I haven’t really commented since they switched formats. Cheers.

        Go Habs Go!!

        “Fans are great, but the quickest way to start losing is to listen to them.” – Sam Pollock

        • HabinBurlington says:

          Go to make sure you use the email address that you use to sign in here. This picture will then make its way here magically through the powers that Al Gore harnassed/invented.

      • G-Man says:

        Eliminate the 4th line and 3 bottom of the rung players would be gone.

  73. TheAmerican says:

    It’s time to reprint Ken Dryden’s March essay in the Globe and Mail addressing head injuries. He wrote then, “It’s no longer possible not to know and not to be afraid.” He is right.

  74. HabinBurlington says:

    Last I checked Lacrosse team sport = lots of fighting. Both rooted in Canada unfortunately.

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