October 23 2012 10:52AM
Friday night, Edmonton Oilers forward Ben Eager got into an altercation with a doorman at a bar in Toronto. Details are a little slim and I don't really care what happened. Bar fights happen every night all across Canada but when they involve a NHL player, especially during a lock out, it becomes big news.
I have spent some time in bars and I was often challenged by guys in the bar. They wanted to find out how tough I was. I never got into it with any of them. I couldn't care less what they said or how they acted, there was no way I was going to engage them. Was it because I am a bluffer, or soft? No, those weren't the reasons I refused to fight.
I am too cheap to get into a bar fight.
That's right, I was never scared of the physical outcome of a bar fight. I felt the fighting wouldn't be an issue. I was scared of the long term outcome. You can't fight your way out of being charged by the police or sued in a civil court of law by a team of lawyers. Hercules himself couldn't handle all of that.
I have some friends who while playing in the NHL got into a dust up at a bar. They both had to pay. One happened in the states and one was in Canada.
The lawyers’ costs add up in a hurry! I don't know of any lawyers that work these types of cases for free. The clock is always ticking and so is the meter. I couldn't believe the lawyer bills these guys had to pay!
Opening yourself up to a civil suit is not a good idea. You can never predict the outcome and that makes it scary. When a big strong hockey player is involved in a bar fight it probably isn't too hard for a lawyer to convince the judge it is all his fault and not the doorman’s.
I hope for Ben's sake I am wrong and this doesn't cost him some focus to get playing the way he can or big bucks. He wants to have a big rebound year and contribute the way I know he can for the Oilers. I played against him many times and he is very hard to play against. This is a distraction he doesn't need.
So far So good....
Justin Schultz has gotten off to a good start in Oklahoma. Yesterday he was named the AHL player of the week. The offensive side of his play was never a question for many. It was the defensive side that needed some refining.
He scored a couple of shorthanded goals this past weekend. Obviously that is good but what I like about it is it means he is killing penalties regularly. If I were the Oiler brass I would have OKC head coach Toad Nelson play Schultz on the top penalty killing unit and against the other teams’ top lines.
Justin needs to play those tough minutes. The jump from college to professional hockey is tough for a couple of reasons. First, the most obvious, is the competition has higher skill and is bigger. As he progresses from college to the AHL to the NHL he will have to learn some defensive tricks that only come through trial and error.
The second issue is the amount of games. The college schedule is a little more than half what the pro level is at. This is an adjustment that only experience can teach. Although being in shape is important, learning how to handle the grind is something he will just need to go through.
Just so you all know: I didn't pick this name, and that shouldn't come as a surprise. Old Gregor hammers me again! This will be a very fun night and it supports the inner city children's program, a charity I have been working with for five years. Buy a ticket to support ICCP and come and say hi.