Saturday, February 17, 2007

Well It's Saturday Night

...and you know what that means.

Well, at least that's what it used to mean and we're not just talking fisticuffs at the rinks, as that clip shows. Anyways, many puck fans out there really miss it (on the ice) and think it ought to be brought back for the good of the game... me included.

Brawls deserve a fighting chance in NHL
Cam Janssen could've been somebody. He could've been a contender for the top hockey enforcer of his generation, maybe even putting his name on a list with the great fighters such as Tie Domi, Joey Kocur and, of course, the Grim Reaper himself, Stu Grimson.

Instead, his sport went all peace-love-and-happiness on him, the pansies in the league office making tough guys like him increasingly unimportant. So now Janssen, a kid with endless guts and a mean right hook, rides the Devils' bench most nights.

"You take (fighting) out of the game, it's not going to be hockey any more. It's going to be soccer with sticks!" Janssen says. He is 22. His lip is swollen from a teammate swiping him in practice. "At least now, a guy knows if he take a run at somebody, he's got to step up and pay the piper.

"The guys will go crazy if there's no fighting," he says. "The fans will go crazy, too."

I miss fighting. I think most hockey fans miss fighting. It isn't gone from the game entirely -- Janssen had a doozy on Wednesday night against Montreal's Garth Murray -- but it's down more than 40 percent from 2003, which means you have about a puncher's chance of seeing one for your $60 ticket.
Here's a clip from that Jannsen vs Murray fight...

We return you now to the article already in progress....
And this is really what makes me want to drop the gloves: The NHL thought limiting fighting will make the sport more mainstream. It would be hilarious if it weren't so sad. The nerds who run this sport figured without the brawls, some little old lady in Peoria would find Versus on her cable system and declare, "I'm going to give this beautiful sport a try!"

The result, like much of what Gary Bettman has done, is the opposite. Attendance is down in several markets, and they'll need a breakthrough in nanomathematics to compute recent TV ratings. The lack of fighting is not the main reason, but the farther this sport gets from its roots, the closer it gets to irrelevancy.
It's a fate that's staring Hockey right in the face nowdays and it's one that's worse than death... irrelevancy. Unfortunatley that's indeed where Bettman and his crew has this sport headed.

Yeah, yeah, I know I sound like a broken record about this subject by constantly posting about it, but what can I say? I grew up with and grew passionate about the sport before this element was largely stripped from it's character and I think doing that has done a great deal of damage to the game I love.

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