Deep thoughts VI: the do-over

Robin Brownlee
February 10 2009 03:19PM

bearsfighting

It's better that the Edmonton Oilers got it right late than never getting it right at all when it comes to putting Rob Daum back behind the bench where he belongs instead of schlepping around as a pro scout.

That's what the Oilers did today when they announced Daum would be taking over from Jeff Truitt as coach of the AHL's Springfield Falcons. It's a step toward undoing a series of events that happened last summer, and should go in the books as the first substantial move made by new GM Steve Tambellini.

It's a saga that began with the decision to promote Kelly Buchberger to the Oilers as one of Craig MacTavish's assistants, while Daum was bumped off the staff after one year.

The story, as we've all been told, was Daum was inked to a one-year deal as an assistant coach and he knew going into the gig that was the case. When his contract ended, that opened the door for Buchberger.

I'm not sure that's as much reality as spin. I'd suggest Buchberger wanting a promotion and his relationship with MacTavish is what prompted Daum to be told, "Thanks for coming."

At the very least, Daum should've been made the head coach in Springfield at that point. The problem is, Truitt had already been promised he'd get the top job on the farm if Buchberger moved to the Oilers. Daum's consolation prize was a position as a pro scout.

Bench boss

With Springfield dead-last in the entire AHL with a record of 16-27-7, there can be little debate Truitt was a failure and that Daum has his work cut out for him. While the Falcons aren't brimming with talent, Truitt had enough to work with for the team to be better.

It says here Daum, who spent two years with the Houston Aeros and compiled a record of 77-67-16 after a decade as bench boss of the Alberta Golden Bears, where he compiled a 345-79-32 record and won three CIS University Cups, has the coaching chops to turn things around.

Whether Daum's credentials meant anything at the NHL level in terms of keeping him ahead of Buchberger were a matter of great debate here and elsewhere last summer, I'm guessing there's not much question in the mind of Tambellini that Daum will do a good job.

It's also worth mentioning president of hockey operations Kevin Lowe, GM at the time Buchberger was promoted, is a staunch backer of Daum, having gained an appreciation for his knowledge of the game over the course of this season as they've worked together.

What's interesting about how this unfolded in the last several days is that Daum was actually sent to Springfield to assess the situation -- in essence, to report to Tambellini on what he saw. That had to be difficult as Daum and Truitt are friends.

In any case, Daum is behind the bench where he belongs. As far as the possibility of him showing up back on the Oilers coaching staff at some point, let me spare you much guesswork and speculation. The longer Daum coaches in the system and the closer Tambellini, the only fresh set of eyes in the organization, watches him work, the better the chances are he'll end up on the Oilers coaching staff.

Fact is, Daum should never have been removed.

Let's play patty-cake

Those braying that fighting in hockey should be banned must be applauding the latest report that backs their stance, one that'll turn the game of hockey into patty-cake if the do-gooders have their way.

From the Canadian Press: "A London anti-violence expert is applauding recommendations from a panel on concussions that call for the elimination of fighting from all levels of hockey.

Peter Jaffe said the report could be the tipping point that changes the culture of the game.

"It makes a lot of sense. It is hard to argue with physicians when they talk about the short and long-term dangers of getting punched in the head," Jaffe said. "I think there are enough parents, enough fans and enough coaches who are concerned about the impact."

Reporters, as you'd expect, were at the Oilers skate today at Millennium Place looking for reaction. Zack Stortini and Steve MacIntyre got scrummed. Words cannot describe the look on Stortini's face after the mob had moved on.

Getting punched in the head carries a risk? Really? Here's a news bulletin -- so does getting checked in the boards, dodging frozen rubber pucks and playing a game where people have sticks in their hands and blades on their feet. Let's get rid of all that, too, shall we?

This and that...

MacIntryre got several grenades tossed his way in the form of questions about facing Georges Laraque when the Montreal Canadiens come calling tomorrow.

Reporters, as you'd expect, were looking for a scintillating sound byte or an inflammatory quote, but MacIntyre played it straight and spoke his mind without saying anything stupid.

"Absolutely," said MacIntyre, asked if he's looking forward to facing Laraque and the Canadiens. "We've got to win the game, first and foremost, whether I'm playing or not playing.

"I can't go in thinking of that (fighting Laraque) necessarily. If it happens, it happens. I just have to react and do the best I can."

  • This isn't Laraque's first trip back to Edmonton, of course. In previous times back he's done nothing in terms of bully-boy stuff against his old team that could spark a showdown. In simple terms, Laraque's been classy, even though he might have been tempted to make a point with MacTavish in games he played here before they talked things out -- when the Oilers were trying to re-sign Laraque last summer before he took Montreal's offer.
  • So, will Laraque and MacIntyre go? Maybe yes, maybe no. Maybe they have a date already. Would it surprise you if I told you Laraque and MacIntyre exchange text messages?
  • Lubomir Visnovsky out for the season because he'll need surgery on his right shoulder to repair a torn labrum? Aside from weakening the blueline corps, that puts a big kink in any plans Tambellini has between now and the trade deadline March 4. If there's any place the Oilers have -- make that had -- depth was on the back end in terms of offensive defencemen. With Sheldon Souray, Visnovsky, Tom Gilbert and Denis Grebeshkov, Tambellini had bargaining chips. Now, not so much.
  • Fernando Pisani skated with the team today and will accompany them on the next road trip. Expect him back in the line-up before the Oilers return from their four-game swing.

-- Listen to Robin Brownlee every Thursday from 4 to 6pm on Just A Game with Jason Gregor on TEAM 1260.

Aceb4a1816f5fa09879a023b07d1a9b4
A sports writer since 1983, including stints at The Edmonton Journal and The Sun 1989-2007, I happily co-host the Jason Gregor Show on TSN 1260 twice a week and write when so inclined. Have the best damn lawn on the internet. Most important, I am Sam's dad. Follow me on Twitter at Robin_Brownlee. Or don't.
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#51 Tyler
February 10 2009, 08:50PM
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However, I think Robin’s implied point is that if two grown men want to fight, they choose to take that risk, just as they choose the risk of getting injured by a body check, and so they should be allowed to do so. Thus, Robin is right that the safety of the combatants is not a valid or compelling reason to ban fighting.

I see where Robin's coming from and think he has a legit point IF these guys want to go fight in a parking lot or something. The problem is, they're not really taking the risk. They're taking the physical risk but the financial risk is borne in large part by the NHL, because at some point, someone will be badly injured in a fight and sue the NHL, the other guy, everyone... Right now, they've made the calculus that the risk is worth the reward. I kind of think that it's like netting around the ice and it'll take one incident.

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#52 APE
February 10 2009, 08:52PM
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@ Robin B: I don't really find it that surprising at all.

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#53 APE
February 10 2009, 08:54PM
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How many people get taken off the ice on a stretcher due to fighs as opposed to hitting from behind or illegal hits? Those are the things that the NHL should be trying to rid the game of.

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#54 Robin B
February 10 2009, 09:02PM
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@ APE: I don't, but I've been around the players and seen that kind of interaction first-hand. If you remember, Laraque ended Stu Grimson's career during a fight in Nashville -- Grimson had sustained several concussions and the one he got against Georges was the final straw.

Anyway, for many months after that, Georges would call Grimson regularly just to check up and see how he was doing. For Georges, carrying out the tasks involved in his job decription was never "personal." He is the eptimome of the "cliche tough guy." He makes his living with his fists, but off the ice Georges is a kind, gentle man with a big heart.

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#55 Dennis
February 10 2009, 09:09PM
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The whole text messaging deal speaks to the fraternal nature of the goon and the idea that fights are more for show than effect.

I don't want to sound anti-fighting because I love watching the scraps but no parent or spouse or kids should lose a loved one because of it.

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#56 Tencer's Brain Cell
February 10 2009, 09:12PM
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APE,

Yes, Moreau wrestling Tootoo for 10 seconds is so exciting. It's like the time the fat guy wrestled with the transsexual on Springer and actually got a couple of punches in before the refs separated them. And all this fighting sure has stopped Tootoo, Cooke, Ruutu, and Avery from playing dirty. Thank God for fighting.

And do you really think Moreau just has to fight somebody because he's been battling on the boards and he's just so emotional his fists start to fly? Battling for the puck has to result in fights? Why aren't there similar fights in football? The line is at least -if not more- physically intense than any puck battle. Moreover, why don't guys like Smyth fight as a result of puck battles? Is Smyth not playing hockey because he doesn't fight and fights are necessary in hockey?

Anyway, what you really mean is that hockey fights and fighting more generally are a part of Canadian culture, and our game should reflect that. But the idea that hockey needs fighting is stupid.

I won't pretend that there's any chance we'll enter into a serious argument about this. You won't offer an argument, you'll just repeat hackneyed responses: a lot of I played and we fought, and have you ever needed a tough guy to stand up for you, and blah, blah, blah.

But do watch some MMA. They actually fight.

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#57 APE
February 10 2009, 09:20PM
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@ Tencer's Brain Cell:

I never once said the every board battle results in a fight did I? Nor did I say that you have to fight to be an effective hockey player. What I did say was that most fights occur as result of emotion. Sounds like an argument to me. Go to hockeyfights.com and watch some. I will guarantee that most fights are by non-goons and are not premeditated.

Oh, and I do watch UFC.

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#58 APE
February 10 2009, 09:21PM
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How can you say that it has anything to do with being Canadian? I don't get that at all.

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#59 OilerInPurgatory
February 10 2009, 09:25PM
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To me, the best hockey is consistently played in: the playoffs, the best international competitions (Olympics with pros, Canada Cups, sort-of World Cups), and the World Junior Championships.

What do they have in common? Fewer fights. Not because the games are less intense or because the players are less competitive. But because either the penalties for fighting are stricter (international rules) and-or the stakes are higher (both tournaments and playoffs) and you can't risk an extra penalty. The goons are usually nowhere to be found, or at least bring a debatable element of skill to their thuggery (Bertuzzi in Turn '06).

So it looks like fighting is a sidebar to the drudgery of an 82-game NHL regular season -- when you have so many crappy games, the fights gives a fan paying for 41 on a season ticket the chance to say 'that game sucked, but at least there was a fight'.

I have 2 solutions, neither of which will meet the business conditions of the NHL or the PA, but as if they're reading this anyway: (1) Reduce the regular season to 70-72 games. A shorter regular season means less fatigue, better game quality, more significance to each game (fewer chances to make up lost pts) and fewer games against Minnesota (and the need to dress a SMack as a deterrent to the Boogey-man). Neither the owners nor the revenue-sharing PA would go for this. (2) Reduce the roster size by 1 (or even 2) players. Get rid of the designated goon at the end of the bench who gets 4-5 minutes a night and never has the puck touch his stick for more than a half second. Double-shift your best player. This would reduce the pre-arranged fights between the marginal hockey talents, and return fighting to the spontaneous and-or calculated risk between more important players. Sure Iginla and Lecavalier can go at it, or Messier, or Gordie Howe, Maurice Richard, etc. Fighting isn't the reason these guys are on the ice. I can respect BG for fighting by the code all those years, but when the code includes pre-arranging fights with young and upcoming kids to give them a chance to make a name for themselves, it sickens me. Go to boxing or MMA then. Now don't misunderstand me -- I won't turn away from a fight, I enjoy it when it is a spill-over from the passion and intensity of the play, when a guy who got hacked in front of the net or elbowed in the boards drops them with his assailant. Get rid of the players whose only purpose is to fight. And I still think Laraque and McSorley could have made it with a reduced roster. There can still be a heavyweight who acts as a deterrent to assaults on your stars. But he should have some skills other than opening the gate and pummelling an opponent.

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#60 APE
February 10 2009, 09:40PM
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OilerInPurgatory wrote:

enjoy it when it is a spill-over from the passion and intensity of the play, when a guy who got hacked in front of the net or elbowed in the boards drops them with his assailant. Get rid of the players whose only purpose is to fight.

That somes up my perspective on this. Thank you.

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#61 Travis Dakin
February 11 2009, 08:43AM
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Tencer's Brain Cell wrote:

Why aren’t there similar fights in football?

That's pretty simple. Fighting is usually a slit second decision in the heat of battle. Guys in football where full face cages and would require a step back for both combatants to remove them. If there were no face cages, I guarantee you there would be some haw makers thrown.

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#62 Travis Dakin
February 11 2009, 08:47AM
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Travis Dakin wrote:

That’s pretty simple. Fighting is usually a slit second decision in the heat of battle. Guys in football where full face cages and would require a step back for both combatants to remove them. If there were no face cages, I guarantee you there would be some haw makers thrown.

Holy sh*t I need to proof read. Please replace "slit" with split, and "where" with wear, and "haw" with Hay.

stupid edit button or lack there of.

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#63 Travis Dakin
February 11 2009, 08:55AM
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APE wrote:

OilerInPurgatory wrote: enjoy it when it is a spill-over from the passion and intensity of the play, when a guy who got hacked in front of the net or elbowed in the boards drops them with his assailant. Get rid of the players whose only purpose is to fight. That somes up my perspective on this. Thank you.

FMNF- Then you open up the debate of how do you desginate who is or who is not just a fighter? (I know some are quite obvious but where is the line?)

Teams will just keep getting bigger guys to deter the guy who would be doing the hacking in front of the net in the first place. Does it sounds good to have Hemsky turning around and fighting Tootoo after he runs him? I'd rather have a guy on my team that is going to actually have Tootoo think twice about what he does.

And as for the above argument about keeping Tootoo in check... I am fully aware that the presence of a tough guy maybe hasn't stopped Hemsky from getting run in the past, but that has more to do with the lack of intensity from the Oilers and them not knowing how to stick up for each other. And that is whole different can of worms.

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#64 Rick
February 11 2009, 09:05AM
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This isn't commenting on the staged bouts by two heavies but more a comment on taking fighting out of the game all together.

Whenever this debate heats up I always end up wondering the same thing. If they ban fighting what will be the unintended consequences?

Looking back there are two shifts that I think back to that have occured in the game and speak towards my point.

The first is when the visor debate was going on. Like this fighting one, the visor issue was about safety and it's rediculous to argue that visors aren't a good idea from that standpoint. However it was forewarned and eventually came to fruition to a certain degree that the up coming players that grew up behind a visor would tend to be more wreckless with how they controlled their sticks. For the first few years particularily there was a lot of commenting by the old guard that this is exactly what happened. Eventually the league even beefed up their rules to where the penalty is stiffer if you draw blood even if it's unintentional contact. The comments have died down in more recent years but coincidentally the majority of the league is now filled with the visor generation.

The second instance is the instigator rule which speaks to fighting itself. The rule protects star players from being goaded or jumped which is great but the meatball factor has gone up significantly. Guys like Ruutu or Cooke are in my opinion worse for the game than guys like Laraque and Godard.

I am obviously not a pro player so the best I can do is pay attention to the comments of the players that are in the game in order to get a sense of how they see the game being treated by their peers. There is enough public comment out there by the players that leads me to believe that the respect level is down and that wrecklessness is up so I can't help but wonder where a ban on fighting will ultimately lead.

Right now I think it will most definatley change the game more significantly than people are suggesting it will and not likely for the better.

As for the lack of fighting in the WC, Olympics and the playoffs it's no leap in logic to see that when everything is on the line in such a compressed number of games that it doesn't afford teams to let their clowns run around as much either. The same way the goons keep themselves in check so do the so called pests...for the most part. In the middle November or January when it's not all on the line is another matter.

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#65 Travis Dakin
February 11 2009, 09:12AM
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@ Rick:

FMNF - Well put.

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#66 Colin
February 11 2009, 09:21AM
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If staged fights are what we are against, then there is an easy way without actually banning fighting.

"Any Team who has a player who averages less than 8 minutes of ice time, on it's roster at any point during a season will be fined $5 million(whatever number) against the next season's salary cap"

Bing, if you have an enforcer playing that much you're probably going to win a few less hockey games at least, with a large cap hit I imagine enforcer spots would disappear.

I also briefly thought of a goal ceiling(2/5/10/x) but obviously basing it on performance is ridiculous.

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#67 Rice
February 11 2009, 09:24AM
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@ one off: but cycling is an essential part of hockey.

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#68 Colin
February 11 2009, 09:24AM
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About Vishnovsky and "bargaining chips" this assumes the Oilers will be buyers. If they are sellers(as I would prefer) I don't see how it matters, deal Gilbert or Grebeshkov and see what returns you can get. A package with one of those two guys is the only way you have a remote shot at landing a first line guy.

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#69 Travis Dakin
February 11 2009, 09:35AM
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Colin wrote:

About Vishnovsky and “bargaining chips” this assumes the Oilers will be buyers. If they are sellers(as I would prefer) I don’t see how it matters, deal Gilbert or Grebeshkov and see what returns you can get. A package with one of those two guys is the only way you have a remote shot at landing a first line guy.

My point about bargaining chips was that if management had used them earlier in the season we could have and should have been buyers at the deadline because we would be a good team. They mismanaged and now the Oilers are NOT a good team, don't have anymore bargaining chips to become a good team and really should be sellers.

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#70 APE
February 11 2009, 09:56AM
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Moreau and Staois would be good fillers for a contending team wouldn't they? That would be a couple of chips we could move and free up some salary space along with getting rid of Cole.

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#71 Colin
February 11 2009, 10:02AM
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@ Travis Dakin:

I don't disagree if this was done in the off season we'd have fewer holes for sure, but I don't get the talk about having nothing to deal with because Vishnovsky is out. Sure if finishing 8th(and getting killed - oilers are 3-8 vs the top 4 with 2 wins early against cowtown) is your goal than maybe not, if making this team better for the future is your goal than yes, yes you do.

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#72 Travis Dakin
February 11 2009, 10:09AM
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@ Colin: I'm all about the future and this current team is not ready to make the leap. I say sell sell sell.

Goodbye Cole, Nilsson, Gilbert, Pouliot, Moreau, Staios.

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#73 APE
February 11 2009, 10:11AM
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@ Travis Dakin: And don't forget, FMNF!

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#74 Travis Dakin
February 11 2009, 10:12AM
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APE wrote:

@ Travis Dakin: And don’t forget, FMNF!

SH*T!!!! FMNF!!!!

I'm going to put a sticker on the back of my Nation shirt at the game tonight that says FMNF

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#75 APE
February 11 2009, 10:15AM
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Oilersnation should get some "FNMF!!" bumper stickers made up.

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#76 APE
February 11 2009, 10:15AM
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Shit! I meant "FMNF!!". Edit button or die.

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#77 Travis Dakin
February 11 2009, 10:19AM
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Or a new nation shirt. I'm just going to out some masking tape like a name bar on the back so if any citizens of the Nation see me, say hi.

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#78 Hoodlum
February 11 2009, 10:20AM
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The players names on their jerseys should be replaced with FMNF.

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#79 Travis Dakin
February 11 2009, 10:21AM
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Hoodlum wrote:

The players names on their jerseys should be replaced with FMNF.

and they should all come out wearing number 14... with no helmets.

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#80 Jason Gregor
February 11 2009, 10:21AM
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All of you, Tyler, Dennis, Mike..etc who use, "They don't fight in the Olympics or World Juniors" clearly don't see the difference in the caliber of hockey between those games and regular NHL games. It is the best players in the world in the Olympics, and best under 20 for WJ.

Does every NHL game have the same meaning and intensity of those games? Of course not. It is a uneducated comparison to use games involving the true elite of the world.

Also hockey is about entertainment, and for many fans a game in the middle of the dog days of the season that has a spirited scrap brought on by hard hitting is entertaining.

And sure Stu Grimson got a concussion from a fight, how many other examples can you people name without looking it up. As for concussions due to hits, Hemsky, Lindros, Kariya, Beukeboom, Stoll, Gagner and those are just a few.

Show me the prove that fighting causes more concussions than hitting. Most injuries involve broken hands, knuckles and fingers. Not nearly as severe as head injuries.

You claim that taking the fighting out of the game won't hurt it because it doesn't hurt the Olympics. Like I said earlier, you won't know the extent of it until it is gone. Also many of you state it happens less often during the playoffs. I agree, but the fact it can still happen, keeps players in line.

Fighting is slowly being taken out of the game, and if the game EVOLVES itself to were it no longer happens, then I can live with that. If the players CHOOSE they no longer want to do it, I can except that.

And Tyler, you claim I argue for the sake of filling air. How about your beauty to Robin,"I bet if you child has a 1 in 300,000 chance of getting paralyzed you will change your opinion."

What does that have to do with fighting in minor hockey? There are more injuries due to kids getting hurt by hits at that age than fighting. If a kid is fighting in minor hockey, then he and his parents need to be slapped upside the head. Most players don't fight until they are in Junior at the age of 16. Then it is their CHOICE. With the instigator rule, visors and now the rule in the OHL, it becomes a choice for the player. Gone are the days where players get jumped and have to fight all the time.

Let players make their own choices. Who are we to decide what is best for them or the game.

And please whoever said Americans don't like fighting has never been to a game in an American rink when a fight occurs. They all stand and cheer.

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#81 APE
February 11 2009, 10:28AM
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Yes Gregor!

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#82 Mike
February 11 2009, 10:31AM
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Let players make their own choices. Who are we to decide what is best for them or the game.

Helmets being made mandatory? Leagues putting in no-touch icing? Drug testing?

Actually, I think no-touch icing is a pretty good comparable. Sure, you lose the excitement of the race for the puck. But it speeds up the flow of the game and removes the risk of some poor bastard like Foster blowing his bones apart.

You could take a Don Cherry rant on no-touch icing, replace it with the word "fighting", and not miss a beat.

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#83 Tyler
February 11 2009, 10:46AM
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And Tyler, you claim I argue for the sake of filling air. How about your beauty to Robin,”I bet if you child has a 1 in 300,000 chance of getting paralyzed you will change your opinion.”

I've revised my opinion. You don't argue to fill air. You honestly don't understand what you're reading and responding to. Look at my post again - that's simply not what I'm saying. I'm saying that Robin would weigh the risk against the benefits of a given activity. 1/300,000 chance of getting paralyzed playing hockey? Fine. 1/300,000 chance of getting paralyzed shoving needles into your spine? We'll pass on that activity.

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#84 Big Deal
February 11 2009, 11:17AM
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I think it is fair to say that fighting will always be a part of hockey. However, the reasons why players feel the need to fight should change and the rules should reflect that. Players should not feel the need to come rescue their fellow teammates after every single clean hit. Just because your star player got hit doesn’t mean you need to fighter the body checker. That being said, players do feel the need to defend their teammates following hits from behind, hits to the head, overzealous stick work and the like. That’s all fine, but why doesn’t the NHL do something about those offenses? Hits from behind, hits to the head, overzealous stick work cause injuries to star players everyday and limit the time played by the best players. A lot of fans in the US will not go to see a NHL game if the best players are not on the ice. You need the best players to play. Make rules that would protect the players from getting hit from behind or head shots illegal, whether by accident or intentional. Make it a 5 minute major and have the team shorthanded for the full five minutes plus a five game suspension. A few goals against will surely effect the players from head hunting, plus the loss of few $100K should make the boys think twice about how they check. And no, it won’t take the aggressiveness out of the game, it will make the game better because the best players are on the ice more often. The NFL took head shots out the game and fines players heavily for doing so. Has it hurt the NFL, I don’t think. The NFL is a far more aggressive game the hockey and it’s doing just fine. The NHL has to grow up and do the right thing for once.

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#85 Chris
February 11 2009, 12:24PM
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Jack "slacking off at work" Bauer wrote:

How is it human garbage scum like Todd Bertuzzi, Bruce Orpik, Ryan Hollweg, Randy Jones, Steve Downie and Denis Gauthier are still allowed to play in this league?? They ruin peoples lives and they get two freaking games

Would you add Doug Weight, or Kyle McLaren to that list? Slippery sloap dude. Good clean players, and good people occasionally end up dishing out a controversial, or out of character dirty hit... It's probably a difficult job to descide who is "human garbage".

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#86 kingsblade
February 11 2009, 12:57PM
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"Tencer's Brain Cell wrote:

Put a fifth guy on each rink who rarely sweeps, but who really lays down the law with the other rinks enforcers. This would be pointless, inauthentic, boring fighting.

This comparison does not apply in any possible way. You post in the most condescending possible manner, so obviously wanting to to try and prove your "superiority," yet you make comparisons so pathetic and transparent that you look equally pathetic yourself.

Americans don’t like fighting in hockey.

So that must be why every American hockey recap begins with any fights occurring that night.

And do you really think Moreau just has to fight somebody because he’s been battling on the boards and he’s just so emotional his fists start to fly? Battling for the puck has to result in fights?

Of course. Everyone has been saying all along how EVERY battle MUST result in a fight. For a person who pretends such skill at debate you have a remarkably low aptitude. If you wish to go the reductio ad absurdum route, at least try to resemble the point you're reducing.

I won’t pretend that there’s any chance we’ll enter into a serious argument about this. You won’t offer an argument, you’ll just repeat hackneyed responses:

Pot - meet kettle. I am having trouble deciding if you are really such an arrogant a@#hole or just stupid. All you have to offer is essentially - fights are boring and it will not hurt the game if they were removed. Don't sit here pretending you are smarter than everyone else and accuse them of hackneyed responses when yours are equally trite. There are a number of valid points contrary to your own which have been made on this thread, yet instead of addressing them you have chosen to take an "I'm better than you" tone.

Way to disprove the earlier notion that guys like you want fighting gone because YOU think it should be gone and clearly nobody knows as much as you. Clever AND classy.

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#87 APE
February 11 2009, 01:04PM
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@ kingsblade:

You sound like me?

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#88 APE
February 11 2009, 01:05PM
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...except smarter.

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#89 kingsblade
February 11 2009, 01:06PM
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@whoever posted the bit about assaulting a player without his consent

1: Do you mean assault or battery?

2: Players are assaulted and battered without their consent at least every other minute of every game. Where exactly would you draw the line?

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#90 kingsblade
February 11 2009, 01:08PM
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APE wrote:

@ kingsblade: You sound like me?

I guess depending on your self-esteem I'll either take that as a compliment or an insult.

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#91 kingsblade
February 11 2009, 01:18PM
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APE wrote:

How can you say that it has anything to do with being Canadian? I don’t get that at all.

He took a sociology class once.

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#92 Tencer's Brain Cell
February 11 2009, 04:56PM
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Kingsblade responds by saying I'm arrogant, and I take sociology classes. Insightful. Are you 10? He claims my analogy with curling is flawed without saying why. It's funny, because that would have been his only substantive point.

Of course, I never said that APE's position was that ALL puck battles result in fights. Nonetheless, APE seems to believe that battling for the puck and the physical nature of hockey often leads to fights, and that therefore fighting is part of the game. I think this is obviously false since many players, including many hard nosed battlers, never fight and many sports, especially football, are just as physical and they don't involve regular fights. (All sports have occasional fights, which is fine.) The idea that "fighting is part of hockey," then, has no evidence to back it up and much evidence against it: international hockey, the Olympics, etc. (Gregor's point about regular season games needing fighting to be interesting is unfounded. He points out the obvious; MAYBE eliminating fights will have a detrimental impact. Maybe it will. Of course, there is no evidence it will and some evidence that it won't. This is hardly compelling.)

Anyway, for some reason, people can't argue about this topic reasonably. I've no idea why.

Case in point: Gregor -a bright guy- responds to Tyler's reasonable thoughts, which I slightly disagree with, with a series of red herrings and straw men. My favorite of which is, "Show me the prove that fighting causes more concussions than hitting. Most injuries involve broken hands, knuckles and fingers. Not nearly as severe as head injuries." Bravo Jason. Now, who believes that fighting causes more concussions than hitting? Not Tyler, certainly.

One last thing, I'll admit I should have stated my position about the attitude of Americans towards hockey fights more clearly, especially given the tendency of ON posters to interpret others' comments uncharitably. 1.) Obviously Americans aren't opposed to violence. MMA and boxing are big down here. 2.) Obviously some U.S. fans like hockey fights. But a lot of people like Springer and the WWE too. 3.) Nonetheless, I can't tell you how many American sports fans I meet who laugh at hockey, and the regular fighting in hockey is part of what they laugh at. They equate hockey with the WWE and Springer, and I can't entirely blame them.

That is, the problem isn't that hockey fights are violent, it's that hockey fights are silly, pointless, unnecessary violence.

So, if you want to watch the WWE, Springer, Laraque-Boogaard, or Moreau-Tootoo that's fine. But it's not part of hockey. It's not interesting to many fans and it's very likely preventing the game from being respected by serious sports fans in the U.S.

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#93 Tencer's Brain Cell
February 11 2009, 05:38PM
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@ kingsblade:

Players implicitly consent to being body checked the moment they step on the ice. They do not, however, consent to be punched repeatedly in the face, until they drop their gloves. Players implicitly consent to being high sticked, but not "Bertuzzi'd"

In general, the line you mention just is the NHL rule book. I believe there actually is a good deal of case law that draws this line using what is in bounds within a normal game, and this case law explains why Bertuzzi's hit on Moore was investigated by the authorities, while other hits aren't.

Nonetheless, I didn't mean to use "assailant" or whatever to mean criminal assault. I thought that was obvious.

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#94 Jason Gregor
February 11 2009, 06:08PM
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Tyler wrote:

I’ve revised my opinion. You don’t argue to fill air. You honestly don’t understand what you’re reading and responding to. Look at my post again - that’s simply not what I’m saying. I’m saying that Robin would weigh the risk against the benefits of a given activity. 1/300,000 chance of getting paralyzed playing hockey? Fine. 1/300,000 chance of getting paralyzed shoving needles into your spine? We’ll pass on that activity.

Far from it. I went back and re-read it and you said,

"I guess what I’m saying is that the relative frequency of concussions from fighting to concussions from other hockey related causes isn’t the issue."

So what is your issue??? Nothing. So YOU, not I, went around in circles. I can read fine thank you, just try to make a point.

My point of you using 1/300,000 was that it was just as much filling air as you accused me of.

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#95 kingsblade
February 12 2009, 12:21AM
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Tencer's Brain Cell wrote:

He claims my analogy with curling is flawed without saying why.

I can't believe Mr. Edumacation cannot understand the bloated flaws in such an analogy. Your comparison didn't even make enough sense to bother, or do you really think that comparing fighting in a contact sport to fighting in curling could apply? Using nearly any other sport would make more sense than curling.

It’s funny, because that would have been his only substantive point.

Really? Is that why you spend the rest of you post addressing my comments. However, funny enough I never really bothered to make a point, I was simply pointing out the inadequacies of your own.

Of course, I never said that APE’s position was that ALL puck battles result in fights.

You say this now, but earlier you said:

Battling for the puck has to result in fights?

I love how you point out the strawmen of others but what would you call that?

Players implicitly consent to being body checked the moment they step on the ice.

Actually I was referring to the fact that nearly every scrum near the net results in somebody getting punched in the face. Clearly nobody consented to that? Furthermore you stated that players implicitly consent to high-sticking, but an argument could easily be made that this is not the case due to the fact that the action of high sticking is an infraction.

I believe there actually is a good deal of case law that draws this line using what is in bounds within a normal game, and this case law explains why Bertuzzi’s hit on Moore was investigated by the authorities, while other hits aren’t.

Perhaps you are not aware of this, but case law does not apply in a criminal case since you cannot be charged with a common law crime, so I cannot see how it could have any bearing on the authorities choosing to investigate. In fact, it is the distinct lack of case law which makes the civil case so interesting.

What do I know though. I'm only 10.

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#96 Tencer's Brain Cell
February 12 2009, 09:02AM
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@ kingsblade:

Regarding your nitpicking

There is a clear difference between:

a.) All puck battles necessarily result in fights

and

b.) Some puck battles necessarily result in fights.

I believe APE believes b.) When saying "Battling for the puck has to result in fights?" I clearly meant b.) also even though I used "has to."

Indeed, the idea that "fighting is part of hockey" has to mean fights are necessary in hockey or necessary in good, intense, physical hockey. Doesn't APE think good, intense, entertaining hockey "has to" have fighting? Not every game mind you, but many regular season games? Isn't that the position?

I have no idea if you're right about case law. But there certainly is a law between what's acceptable on the ice and off that's drawn by the standard of what's acceptable in the normal course of a game.

The rest of what you say isn't really worth replying to. Nonetheless, I'm still not sure why you have such a bee up your butt. I said that people go nuts and start insulting each other, and stop arguing reasonably and fairly, whenever this topic comes up. (You seem to be confirming that.) I said ON posters don't interpret comments charitably. Not a big deal, really.

You still haven't responded very substantively to anyone's actual arguments either.

Anyway, this is all getting tedious.

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#97 kingsblade
February 12 2009, 11:03AM
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@ Tencer's Brain Cell: It isn't the topic of discussion that's abrasive, it's you and your air of superiority. I actually very much enjoy discussing this particular topic.

I'm not nitpicking, you were. This is essentially how the conversation went between the two of you, whether by direct statement or implication.

You said: Fights are staged like WWE. He said: No, most fights result from player battles. You said: So you're saying that if player battles happen then fights have to happen?

You really can't see what's annoying about a guy who complains about straw men, wanting so desperately to prove his superiority, yet his primary method of debate is the straw man?

Of course there's laws that determine what's acceptable. It just isn't case law. Once again you were trying to prove your superiority and WERE COMPLETELY WRONG. You had no idea what you were talking about. This is what bothers me.

I also would love to know how I am not being "reasonable and fair." I have addressed your comments using strict logic. You on the other hand, are the guy who accuses anyone who disagrees with you of irrationality and lack of substance. Have you still not yet noticed that at no point have I expressed my own opinion on the subject? I have only pointed out the flaws of some of your statements in order to show that you are not the epitome of brilliance that you believe yourself to be.

I actually have not even decided yet which side of the fence I am on in this discussion. I see the strengths and weaknesses of both sides, and would never dream to think that I am have the definitive answer. I'm not debating the issue of fighting with you. I'm asking you not to be such a prick while YOU are debating the issue of fighting. Maybe then people would take your points more seriously.

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#98 Tencer's Brain Cell
February 12 2009, 12:03PM
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I don't think I'm superior, kingsblade, though the fact that you keep saying it makes me think you have some kind of problem. You're obviously annoyed, which is fine by me.

I clearly didn't give a straw man argument against APE. I merely pointed out the obvious, which is that puck battles and intense physical hockey can happen without fights. Therefore, fights are not a necessary part of hockey; they're an unnecessary -I would say boring- addition.

If APE's position was only, as you seem to suggest, that given the current rules, puck battles sometimes cause players to fight, then he had no reason to disagree with my assertion that fighting could be eliminated from hockey without loss. I'm sure that if football or basketball allowed fighting, intense physical battles would result in fights there, too. My point is that if you change the rules to bar fighting, the same puck battles wouldn't result in fights but they;d be just as intense and entertaining. Again, this is all obvious, given that the discussion at hand is whether to get rid of fighting.

My point was not that hockey fights are "staged," only that most hockey fights are inauthentic. Surely you at least agree this is true of designated goon fights?

And finally, I merely said that there is a line drawn between acceptable and unacceptable conduct on the ice drawn by the NHL rule book, which players implicitly agree to. Illegal actions will be those that go well beyond what the rules allow. I'm quite sure this is correct, but I never pretended to have any legal expertise. (I even added the caveat "I think")

(BTW, I'm surprised your still coming at me like this. It's interesting.)

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#99 Robin B
February 12 2009, 01:15PM
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@ Tencer's Brain Cell: Here's a thought, agree to disagree and leave it at that. This gets laughable. This is the comment area for one item on a hockey website yet it turns into who's-got-the-bigger-dick? contest time after time and you contribute to that as much or more than anybody. Surprised he's coming at you like this? Mercy, I don't even care which side of the debate you or kingsblade is on, but he's damn sure right about one thing: the tone of what you write screams "Look how smart I am."

It's hockey. Can we stop with the strawman references and crap about Plato (from another item)? Plato? What position did he play? We get it. A lot of people have an education.

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#100 Tencer's Brain Cell
February 12 2009, 05:48PM
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Ugh.

1. Yes, this has degenerated.

2. Let me put this in caps to get my point across: I REALLY NO THINK I IS SMARTER THAN U ALL. Seriously, I do think that arguments about fighting in hockey never go anywhere and that the debates here won't ever be done constructively. (These debates degenerate, just like this is.) For example, no one has really addressed Tyler's point with a long thoughtful response. Nor has anyone really said anything about the comparison with the Olympics, other physical sports, etc. In retrospect, there was no need to say these debates always go nowhere, I could've just sat back and watched as the debate went nowhere. Oh well.

I didn't mean to talk down to anyone, though I have been called an idiot, pretentious, and a smarty pants. Really, who's talking down to who here?

3. I didn't bring Plato up in that thread, which is where RB threatened to fight Dennis, someone else did. I just responded, because I thought it was fun to write a bit on Plato and because it was relevant to RB's defense. And "Straw man" is not fancy pants talk; it's been used here before and should be used again.

5. I'll try to sound less pretentious in the future, if you answer my serious question from the "Going eye to eye with Dennis" comments, which was "What information, specifically, do you know that makes your analysis of hockey matters, e.g. prospect evaluation, what trades should be made, where the team is headed, is the coaching a problem- better than a blogger like JW or Lowetide or Dennis, etc? I really think you might have a good answer to this question, and I don't mean to sound facetious or sarcastic when I ask it. Maybe you could give some examples.

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