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Tailing the Komets

The fight game

OK, this ought to spark enough discussion here to last a month, and I'm telling you upfront I'm going to play the devil's advocate role. No name-calling unless it is directed at or from Hit Somebody, whom I think enjoys it. LOL. Play nice and I think we can have a lot of fun with this, but I'm guessing this discussion might get quite emotional. Here goes:

Does fighting hurt hockey as a sport in terms of legitimacy?

Why should two guys on the ice be allowed to get away with something that two fans 15 feet away in the stands would be arrested for and charged? How can a sport that officially endorses breaking the law be legitimate? If you took fighting out of the game, would you lose fans or gain fans, and if that's the only thing bringing some fans to the game, just how good is that sport? Does fighting really add to the game? (I actually know people who won't take their kids to games because of fighting.) How does hockey get away from the stereotype of fighting to the broader audience, and it must draw a broader audience?

If you say it's a physical game, well, so is football and the players control themselves. When do you start to teach players it's OK to fight? Is it OK for the kids? Why not? If no one gets hurt fighting, why doesn't everyone do it?

For years the argument is that there would be too much stickwork, but hasn't that already happened even with fighting? How often do players actually retaliate for stickwork by fighting? If fighting is gradually decreasing anyway, how much worse would it be just to eliminate it completely?

How do you explain it to friends who ask about fighting?

BTW, does anybody out there know why fighting was included in the game originally? I'm curious. OK, so have at it.

Posted in: Komets


Tony E
Mon, 05/22/2006 - 11:43am

I think as stickwork has decreased so has fighting. Fighting has gone down as more hooking and holding has been called.
Fighting is not "allowed" It is penalized.
I think fighting is a part of the game but does not add to it. I do not feel ripped off if I go to a game and do not see a fight.

Mon, 05/22/2006 - 11:56am

This is one of the toughest issues I have to try to explain to somebody.

I can't say that I get a little excited when a fight occurs, I can sertainly understand it when one player cheap shots another player and there is a need to get even somehow. I feel that fighting should be left in because I feel that the people in charge of suspensions give out very low suspensions for major offenses. Take Todd Bertuzzi. He got what 13 games for breaking a guys neck. You need to alow the players to settle things on the ice. Yes there will still be penalties assesed and there is a cose to fighting and as long as you don't go against the code things should even out.

If you want to get rid of fighting altogether then there needs to be stiffer penalties for penalties such as high sticking, roughing, kneeing, etc. the types of penalties that usually cause tempers to flare on the ice and fights to start.

There are times when I think fighting is really stuip and times when I think they are necessary, but like games themsevles they are fluid and every situation is different.

Fighting is different on ice then on a normal surface. You have to grab your opponent to steady yourself so one hand is always busy.That doesn't mean serious injuries can't still occur.

I don't know if any of this makes any sense to anybody. i think I'm just rambilling here.

Mon, 05/22/2006 - 6:25pm

Fighting sells. In a much lessor degree you see it baseball and basketball. Hell, even Nascar has a few scuffles in the garages. Coming soon....golf will have a tilt.
In all seriousness, its pretty much tradition based. The strongest survive. Always had it and probably always will. It was mainly used as a tactic to keep people in check. To make sure everyone was accountable for their actions. In the 80's some of the guys actually hated each other. Anymore, its a staged event to basically for something to charge up the fans and players alike...to motivate.
Personally I like it when it means something. I hate the staged fights.

Mon, 05/22/2006 - 6:48pm

I like football.
I like baseball.
Basketball is okay.

I freaking love hockey! Fighting is an important part of the game. Intimidation wins more often than not. If you think of some of the most intimidating athletes in their sport, you think of legends. Baseball has Roger Clemens. Golf-Tiger Woods. Nascar had Dale Earnhardt. These guys are all talented, but they also have an intimidating presence that cannot be ignored.
Can scoring intimidate? Sure. Can a great win/loss record intimidate? Yeah. But nothing intimidates more than a stiff fist to the mouth. Fighting has a place in hockey. Some players may say otherwise. But as long as there are Tyler Willis', Brad Wingfield's, Robin Big Snake's, Matt Goody's, and Ken Fels' around the tradition will live on.

I am getting so tired of people complaining about it and trying to convince us the game has passed it by. We are unfortunate that we are Komet fans and have went years without a legit fighter. No disrespect to those that have tried to take on the roll. (Holiday, Kotyluck, Worlton)Really since Parsons has left we haven't seen a legit player that could fight. Here's hoping that it will change next season!

My question is: Why is the Franke establishmet and their apologists so eager to convince us that fighting is dead? We can see the visiting team. We can read stats from the league. It is not dead.

Tony E
Mon, 05/22/2006 - 6:59pm

Jungle nobody said fighting is dead. It has decreased. What is quickly "dying" is the "goon" who can't do anything but fight. There are enough skill players (Iginla types) who can score and drop the gloves today that the Worltons of the world are quickly becoming worthless. Frankly I am glad. I don't want a roster spot wasted on a fighter on skates.

Tony E
Mon, 05/22/2006 - 7:09pm

P.S. I don't think the Franke family owe anyone an apology let alone having anyone do it for them.
Ask the folks in Flint, Missouri, Roanoke, Richmond, or 90% of other minor league towns how much they would appreciate ownership and organization like the Komets have.

Mon, 05/22/2006 - 7:44pm

The question is, Jungle Monkey, does fighting hurt hockey's legitimacy as a sport?

Hit Somebody!!!
Mon, 05/22/2006 - 7:49pm

Blake, you really threw-up a loaded question there....Super Fan. Ok that starts the name calling.

Fighting, not the most important part of the game for sure...but it is a part of the game no less. Everyone on here should stop and think back to some of the fights they remember at Komet's games over just the past 10-15 years and think how they felt when it was going on. How did the crowd react? How did the teams react afterwards. What was the first thing you told a buddy or someone at work about when you talked about "last night's Komet's game"? Everyonw for the most part loves to see a good knock-down drag out. Me included. I can think back to some of my favorite games of all time and usually those were games that had some big tilt involved in it that helped make it memorable.

Do I think kids should be taught to fight early on? Hell no. The game's fundamentals should be taught to the kids from the first day they lace-up their skates until they get to their college days. Fighters will develop in the pro game naturally. And there is a place for it. It keeps things honest on the ice. It keeps the other team thinking about "what if I cheapshot their captain?" When you have a guy or guys that are willing to drop the mitts, I believe that the other teams respect that alot. The sport can police itself on the ice, that way guys like Dickie Brosal won't have to actually know the rules and bylaws of the league and enforce them properly. As if he does...

I'm sure I have more thoughts than this on this subject...but I have said what came to mind first. Fighting isn't everything obviously, I like the game itself much more, but you have to admit, it has a place.

Hit Somebody!!!
Mon, 05/22/2006 - 7:55pm

And no it doesn't hurt the sport's legitimacy at all, if that is the underlying question here. Is boxing a sport? Is baseball a sport? Is football a sport? They all have fighting. I realize that baseball and football don't have fighting as a major part of their tradition and rules. But how often do you see a player hit the other team with his bat. Or do you ever see a football player run the quarterback on purpose...yes you do...and you usually see 10 angry big monsters surrounded that guy too. So is hockey legitimate for allowing fighting...sure it is.

Tony E
Mon, 05/22/2006 - 9:17pm

Hit, in the words of the Judge in My Cousin Vinny...That is a lucid, intelligent, well-thought out objection.

Tue, 05/23/2006 - 5:43am

Plus hockey has gotten away from the "Slap Shot" view of hockey fighting. There are NO MORE bench clearing brawls. That's when hockey looks ugly. A scrap here or there does tend to get the crowd excited.

Tue, 05/23/2006 - 6:55am

Hockey will never be a sport that can compare in popularity to football, baseball, etc. for a few reasons and one of them being fighting. As long as there is fighting in the game, hockey could never be a top rated sport in the U.S. Do I think if they took fighting out that hockey would gain any popularity? I don't think so. Hockey is a sport that's very unique from other sports. It's something you will enjoy or you won't, there isn't much middle ground. Hockey has been built on a foundation that's very unique from other popular sports. You don't want to take away from the foundation too much in attempt to make the sport more 'legit' or hockey fans will be alienated. Hockey is what? Fifth in popular sports in the U.S.? Sure it could try to be come more popular, but why? I'm happy with what it is now.

Tue, 05/23/2006 - 7:11am

I would have to agree that fighting is still a big part of hockey. I don't always condone it, but there are times when if it was me, I'd like to beat the crap out of some of those players and it would be deserved. I don't like goons. we don't need them. We need well rounded players that can fight, if the situation warrants it, but don't do it all the time. I definitaly would not teach young children that it's ok to fight, but everyone knows that each person has his limits, and since it's always been a part of hockey, sometimes you just have to let it fly. I don't think it has hurt the sport. If you go to a hockey game intending to see figure skating stars playing a nice game then you are at the wrong place.

Tue, 05/23/2006 - 7:16am

So what do you tell the kids about fighitng? How do you explain it to them or the casual fan?

Tue, 05/23/2006 - 7:36am

i try to tell them that it is in the game, fighting IS AGAINST the rules and is punishable(spl). How do you explain boxing? Isn't that a type of fighting? How different is that from hockey?

Tue, 05/23/2006 - 7:47am

I always taught my kids that if players choose to fight, they know there is a price to pay for it, whatever the reason

Tue, 05/23/2006 - 8:08am

Great call scoops -
There is nothing wrong with a fight within the context of a hockey game, as long as is not a staged fight - five seconds left in an 8-0 game between two players that don't deserve roster spots in the first place.

I would much rather see a good clean fight any day over someone taking their stick and trying to crack another player's head open or take their head off at the neck. Granted, players do get injured from fights (broken noses, jaw, hand), but how many are able to play with those injuries within a short time?

How many players are able to play with concussions, separated shoulders, broken wrists, broken legs, broken ribs or eye injuries sustained from slashes and spears?

There's my two cents

Tony E
Tue, 05/23/2006 - 9:45am

To put this all into perspective about our society today, ROLLER DERBY is making a comeback!!

Tue, 05/23/2006 - 9:59am

And the question is, is that good for our society?

Tue, 05/23/2006 - 10:00am

I'll stick to female roller derby

Tue, 05/23/2006 - 10:30am

I understand you point Blake the problem is there is no easy answer. We can tell our children that fighting is not acceptable and yet they can see some manner of it 7 days a week via sports, news, movies, TV shows. How we educate our kids to these things is most important. For those who don't like the fighting in a hockey game, don't come.

Tony E
Tue, 05/23/2006 - 10:57am

Blake there will always be a segment of human population that will gravitate towards Roller Derby, the WWF, bull fighting...the ancient Roman Gladiator fights to the death etc. I myself prefer other forms of entertainment but at the same time, will be the first off of my seat when a good scrap happens in a hockey game. I just don't feel like I have to see a fight in order to enjoy the game.

Tue, 05/23/2006 - 11:00am

Great point Tony E.
Also, I always know what I'm watching on TV, in the movies, or even sports is for entertainment purposes. Sports is real life, but we're not meant to act it out after we leave an arena. If we wnat to play hockey, let's teach our kids to play for fun and for the exercise that it gives, not to see how to get into hockey fights because that's not the purpose of the game.

Tony E
Tue, 05/23/2006 - 11:06am

I agree 100%

Tue, 05/23/2006 - 11:42am

OK, these are all good answers, but assume I'm the ultimate innocent fan. Explain to me logically why I should consider fighting to be part of a sport. Just because it always has been doesn't work (in part because that's the only way hockey has ever answered the question). The sport needs to answer this question in a logical, authoritative way.

If you are trying to teach children that fighting is not acceptable, are you giving them a double standard at games?

I think the sport itself is afraid to eliminate fighting because it is afraid it will lose a significant portion of its fan base. What does that say about the legitimacy of the sport, if it has to keep fighting to be successful?

And I truly doubt the sport can police itself on the ice with or without fighting. I think that's a bygone era mostly because the players have changed. How many times this year did we talk on this board about how you wish someone had stepped up to protect a teammate? It rarely happened.

Tue, 05/23/2006 - 11:42am

Good comments Greg. I agree also.

Tue, 05/23/2006 - 11:43am

Is it hypocritical to tell kids that, but then they see how excited we get by fights? Aren't they naturally going to want to copy that behavior?

Man, am I a good Devil's Advocate or what? LOL

Tue, 05/23/2006 - 12:03pm

Fighting is a big part of hockey. It needs to stay a part of the game for the simple reason that there will always be jerks playing who will take cheap shots all day long - and we all know the refs seldom even SEE them, let alone make the call. That's the time when I see a fight as necessary.

In a game thats just really really super intense, but that is still good hockey, you gotta let the boys play! I saw a bunch of games like that this year, and they are always the most enjoyable even if there is no actual fight. The energy is high, and the hits are hard. Sometimes, though, players may get so pumped up that somebody takes it too far: a cheapshot. A fight starts. Fine by me.

Now, I can't speak as a parent here, but I think children should be taught that there is an appropriate time for everything, which includes fighting. In junior leagues, it should be banned entirely. As was mentioned earlier, this is the time for the kids to learn the skills of the game - let the refs make sure everybody plays fair.

You folks agree?

I was going to put in 2 cents, but that may be a dollar.

Komets PA
Tue, 05/23/2006 - 12:10pm

Here's an interesting trivia question for you. When was the last bench clearing brawl in the NHL? I know the answer. Try to guess.

Anyways, if you watch enough hockey, you will see that the players of today aren't raised to fight. Watching my 15 year old nephew play, you can see already the kids that will move on due to their hitting and skating and the kids who have to play dirty to get this far.

The fighting type players of the 1990's have retired and no one has really taken their places. When's the last time you saw someone play like a Kaminski or a Bezeau? They were the last of that type of player who had some skill and were feared for their fighting. They were already weeded out thru suspensions and the like way back then. I love a good fight at a game and I know how you can get riled into being in one. I am pretty much a pacifist but when you start skating hard and you get what might be thought of as a cheap shot, you do want to fight back. It's primal and it's fun :)

Tue, 05/23/2006 - 12:25pm

If you think a 30-second hockey fight is bad, I