Something happened in the Sabres’ last game, against the Florida Panthers, that has not happened in the league since 2002. The same two players, Kane and Petrovic, fought each other three times in the same game. The last two players to do so(for all of you hockey buffs out there) were Jody Shelley and Bob Probert!
I have conflicting feelings about fighting in hockey. First of all, when the fights happen organically between two players with genuine hockey skills like Kane and Petrovic, it’s really exciting to watch. It’s obviously violent but it is genuinely exciting to watch. If a fight breaks out between two players that don’t have the skill to play and are only there for “protection”, then that is not exciting or interesting to me at all.
Still, it’s not lost on me that the NHL, and especially the NFL, have a major problem with concussions. So I found myself excited by the fights and of course, cheering on Evander Kane(he won all three fights) but then feeling a little guilty about it.
I have the same feelings about watching football. I love the game. It’s fast paced and exciting but can be brutally violent. Many of these men leave the game with their bodies broken and their brains scrambled. I cheer for big hits but then have to hope that the players are okay. Of course, no one is forcing them to play. They do it voluntarily and are well paid.
Back to hockey, I’m not one of those people who says fighting should be taken out of the game completely. It’s ingrained in the fabric and the history of the game. What I am saying though is that we should at least acknowledge that someone is physically paying the price for our entertainment , as we cheer on our player in the next fight.
Of course I have to play some kick-ass, Canadian music here, since I’m writing about hockey. Triumph hit it big in upstate New York a couple of years before they did in the rest of the country. I saw them four times in their heyday and loved every one of those shows.