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Shake Shake Shake

Exciting game. Or so everyone was saying. I was about this psyched.

I have been trying to shorten my posts, trying to restrain myself.  In keeping with the theme of this weekend, I will throw restraint out the window and just vent.  Am I spoiling for a fight?  Don’t be ridiculous, I disapprove of fighting.  Just in case: use your words.

Everybody, get on the floor.

I wonder if this is why I stopped watching hockey last time?  After the start of this season, I had come to the conclusion that fights are not really the most disruptive disruption, since they are pretty brief and do not directly result in a man advantage.

I still thought that after the two most recent Flyers games.  In those games, much of the chaos was created by overlapping penalties.  Roughing, elbowing, high sticking and boarding still outrank fights as undesirable, even if the recipient gets a power play out of them.  Too many gum up the flow of the game.  Also, maiming= bad.

Then I watched the Sharks play the Ducks.  Compared to the Flyers games, it was pretty clean.  But compared to the Sharks and the Ducks, the Flyers and the Pens (or the Islanders) are downright chummy.  The announcers said there was a special name for a game that had a certain number of fights.  I didn’t catch it, I don’t want to hear it again.

Only 2 fights? Maybe I should count the "goalie out of crease" calls too. What else was he out there for?

Let’s dance.

Penalties can throw a game out of whack, abbreviating and stacking PPs on PKs to the point that they become useless.  But fights can break up a game too, if there are enough of them.  I think six is more than enough.

What struck me is that the Eastern fights seemed to erupt from something someone had just done, something pretty ugly.  Most of those fights started with someone lying face down on the ice.  I saw no like spontaneity in the fights between Sharks and Ducks.

Sure, I saw some discussion before Nichol dropped the gloves, but no one was face down or writhing on the ice.

To be clear, selling the fight as a spontaneous thing doesn’t make me like it more.  But failing to do so really let’s me know it could have been avoided.

Don’t fight…

Suggest a ban on fighting and excuses like “hockey is a self-regulating sport” come up right quick.  I understand this logic, assuming what we have on the ice is a pack of rabid dogs.

If a player really wants to hurt someone, he can hit him in the course of the game.  See Murray’s hit on Chipchura.  Murray did not have to do that.  He could have put Chipchura down seven times with less force.  Clearly he had a point to make.

Which was Voros’s point when he challenged Murray later. But such a delay in retaliation makes me wonder how fevered the need to fight is.  Delayed retaliation is also known as premeditation.

If you do not weigh 240 pounds, you can just hit him in the face with your stick.  Fear of losing an eye will certainly give him a start.  What’s a little penalty kill, (or a suspension) when you have a point to make?

Do I think cheap shots are a better equalizer?  No.  Cheap shots are already against the rules.  Does that prevent them?  Again, are these tormented pit bulls or professional athletes?  What do teams use to sedate these bloodthirsty maniacs during the playoffs?  Can we put some of it in the public water supply?

Mostly fights

Everyone disapproves of cheap shots because they can result in serious injury, and also it’s cheating.  You can hurt someone faster in the course of a game, but add up the fights and you still get concussions… without power plays.

…the feeling.

A slew of Sharks used the word “passion” in reference to the the team’s chemistry with the Ducks.  Passion implies spontaneity, as in “heat of passion,” a common defense to battery claims.  The opposite is premeditation.  There is a very short window for the “heat of passion” defense: just because you are still mad about it doesn’t mean you are still temporarily insane.

Give yourself a chance.

One of the announcers in the Pens-Flyers game wondered if Asham would drop the gloves with someone.  His partner said probably not, since Asham had just recovered from an upper body injury.

That must be it.  That must be why Asham did not give in to a burning desire to beat on one of his ex-team mates.  Surely he has some grudge against at least one of them: he’s a Penguin now.   But Holmgren was not on the ice.

In any given game, most teams have someone who played with someone on the opposing team.  To assume they want to hit that person in the face is to assume some pretty lousy chemistry in the locker room, all locker rooms.

You can, you can do it, very well.

I don’t buy it.  I do not believe that most hockey players play better because they just watched bare-knuckle fighting. Even if some do, it is not worth it.

I do not believe that a player who hits with intent to maim will reconsider it because someone might retaliate with a fist fight.  That player is a sociopath.  The threat of a fight does not scare him.  It just allows concussion without repercussion.

Players do not need to fight to show how tough they are.  I didn’t see any fights in the KHL games I watched.  SKA still made Carolina cry, without maiming them.  Evidently being out of practice has not turned SKA into a bunch of little girls.  But they have probably extended the functional life of their brains.

You’re the best in the world, I can tell.

If hockey fans had to choose, would they rather watch Marleau thread the needle or break his hand?  We can’t hide behind “the team wouldn’t let that happen, not to a player like him.”   If these fights are so vital for maintaining respect and order, no one is exempt.  If Datsyuk can get drawn in, Paddy can too.

Lost in the shuffle, like this goal: Wallin scores, with his foot. Perfectly Pisces.

They say people want to see hockey fights.  How many people?  I don’t know.  Fights are sort of like gas guzzlers: a lot of people still assume people want them but no one has really done the math to make sure.  History, habit, and a lot of lazy money skew the results.

Can I wish for a fuel shortage?

Oh, and the Sharks won.  Yay.  Shake your booty.  I’ll sit this one out.


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