Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Fedoruk felled by Orr

Let's hope he's okay. Todd Fedoruk has had an extremely difficult season, as he had his orbital bone shattered in an earlier fight with Derek Boogaard.

It's generally when I see incidents like this that I ponder just what the value of fighting in the NHL is. Given the way public sentiment has slowly started to move that way, I wouldn't be surprised to see scraps become a 10-minute or game misconduct in the future.

Would that eliminate fights and the injuries they cause? Hardly. But it might, at the very least, give poor Fedoruk's face a rest for a while.


At 10:13 p.m., March 21, 2007, Blogger PPP said...

Moving it to a 10-minute penalty wouldn't really deter it because either way the guy's fighting go longer than 10 minutes at a time on the bench.

It's unfortunate to see Fedoruk hurt. It shows what a thin line there is in a fight between two guys skating to the box despite some decent punches (Janssen and Belak) and guys getting carted off the ice (Newbury and Fedoruk).

At 10:44 p.m., March 21, 2007, Blogger joefroh said...

To put it into historical context, Fedoruk was a bowling ball last time Philly played NY. He creamed Jagr and several other players because Orr or a tough guy did not play. The entire Philly team rode roughshed over the Rangers and it's unfortunate but there is a payback. Let's hope he is not seriously injured.

At 11:08 p.m., March 21, 2007, Blogger mike w said...

Fighting is useless. Commentators always use the "well, 10,00 fans were standing up and cheering" entertainment angle.

True, but that's still not why they came to the game, and I don't think they'd notice if the NHL banned fighting like a million other leagues in the world.

At 1:04 a.m., March 22, 2007, Blogger Art Vandelay said...

The TSN panel nailed it when they suggested someone will have to die in a fight before the NHL does something about it. How can anyone take this sport seriously?

At 2:19 a.m., March 22, 2007, Blogger Earl Sleek said...

Fighting is useless.

It's easy to knock fighting when someone gets hurt doing so, just like it's easy to knock bodychecking when someone gets hurt, but let's not get carried away and jump to the standpoint that there's no place for fighting in today's or tomorrow's NHL.

Fedoruk was a huge factor in the Ducks' hot start, and generally in the development of Getzlaf and Perry. Make me a GM and I'd have Fedoruk on my team every time.

Fighting may have tragic moments, but I don't think I can agree about its uselessness.

At 3:11 a.m., March 22, 2007, Blogger Bal said...

earl you failed to give a reason for why fighting isn't useless there. What use does it serve exactly? You might argue that it serves to 'jumpstart the team' but I don't know if that's so true. If it were, then theoretically both teams would be getting that jumpstart.

Basically, the only thing I am seeing out of fighting is injuries and that sounds pretty useless to me

At 4:11 a.m., March 22, 2007, Blogger Earl Sleek said...

Bah! Injuries! How many injuries have we seen this year that come from fighting, and how many have we seen outside of fighting?

What is the value of fighting? It's a tough question--there's definitely something special in throwing down to represent your teammates, and it is nice that there is a conventional payback that is less vicious than a dirty check or something.

I'll have to give you a better answer when I'm a bit less drinky.

At 5:27 a.m., March 22, 2007, Blogger ivrydov said...

If the NHL were to ban fighting, a new WHA would start and the fans would go there. Are they going to ban fighting in all the semi-pro and amateur leagues as well? They'd have to change the North American for the European game and it's not going to happen.

The chances of someone dying in an NHL fight are probably less than a major league sports team getting involved in a plane crash. But no one is advocating banning flying.

At 8:47 a.m., March 22, 2007, Blogger Jason said...

I hope Fedoruk is ok, but he was a willing participant. He's the guy whose face was broken earlier this season, he knows the consequences of a fight.

At 11:12 a.m., March 22, 2007, Blogger Tom L said...

... and, more importantly, the consequences of running around hitting everyone under the sun. The rise in fighting (regardless of the league-sanctioned consequences) is a result of the players being unhappy with the NHL's application of justice. So, if you want to see less of this, promote a sea-change in the way the league handles cheap-shots.

But, ultimately, at some point Fedoruk either backs off or goes back to the A. The value comes in the next game when Jagr get just a little more room and a little more respect (one hopes).

I feel bad for Fedoruk for eating that right hand. I've been hit like that (thankfully with head gear on) but... you pays your money, you takes your chances and he knew what he was getting into.

Lamenting the injury is useless, as the guys involved have no problem with it... so why should you?


At 11:14 a.m., March 22, 2007, Blogger James Mirtle said...

Lamenting the injury is useless, as the guys involved have no problem with it... so why should you?

As I've discovered from candid conversations with a few 'enforcers', that's not in the least bit true. Many of them dislike the role they have.

At 11:27 a.m., March 22, 2007, Anonymous Nick said...

What's the point of fighting? Aside from standing up for yourself and your teammates, it can also be used to intimidate the other team. Anyway, the combatants are only hurting each other. Nobody forced either player to drop their gloves. While some might think a player "could have been killed by the impact of a roundhouse punch to the face", it seems a person is far more likely to die watching the game. Perhaps I missed all of the stories about players kicking it during a game.

At 12:00 p.m., March 22, 2007, Blogger Art Vandelay said...

I wasn't happy with the pace the painter was setting yesterday. Pretty soon, the floor guy was slowing down and the cabinet guy was taking long breaks. So I punched the electrician in the head. That fired everybody up and we all finished work 15 minutes ahead of schedule.
I hear that a lot more people are planning to show up on site today because "something might happen." Naturally, the electrician's apprentice has vowed to get revenge
so I expect that at some point I'll get shivved by a pair of wire cutters.
We're thinking of turning it into a PPV event.
The survivor has already been pre-booked on Off the Record.

At 12:53 p.m., March 22, 2007, Anonymous Frank said...

The NFL has much more "physical contact" than the NHL, and you rarely see fighting. The reason - the NFL won't tolerate it. It also severly penalizes "cheap shots", roughing the quarterback, "crack back" blocks, head shots etc..

If the NHL was serious about fighting it would automatically suspend participants 5 games for the first offence in a season, 10 games for the second offence, and 20 games for a third offence etc..

In addition teams would lose the roster spot during the suspension while the suspended player's salary would still count against the team's cap.

I guarantee you this would quickly end fighting. To prevent the cheap shots that fighting is supposed to police, any offence involving stick work (high sticking, spearing, slashing) automatically draws a 5 minute major. Boarding and charging also draws 5 minute majors. Also, officials would be given the discretion to increase any penalty to a 5 minute major if in their judgement there was intent to injure.

After the lock out and the cap was imposed, many teams got rid of their "goons" to save cap space believing that under the new strict rule enforcement fighting was going to be obsolete. Unfortunately, because the officials are letting the "cheap shoting" back into the game, fighting and the goons are starting to make a come back.

At 1:45 p.m., March 22, 2007, Blogger Earl Sleek said...

Count me as one who does not get excited at the notion of "less fighting, more refereeing".

Is there something wrong with me, doctor?

At 4:12 p.m., March 22, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"As I've discovered from candid conversations with a few 'enforcers', that's not in the least bit true. Many of them dislike the role they have."

Without that role many would be pumping gas instead. So even though they don't have to like it, they do have an option.

At 4:30 p.m., March 22, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I find it quite interesting that many people that love boxing cannot tolerate fighting in hockey. Boxing could easily regulate itself so that punching someone in the head would become illegal. This would to prevent injuries to the head and yet it does not. Thereis no outcry that people are dropping dead in the ring from blows to the head.

Both sports regulate what types of blows that are legal and to what extent. I can't check someone into the glass at my bra manufacturing plant either Mr. Vanederlay, but does that mean it should be illegal in hockey as well? Far more often are people hurt when checked than when fighting so this is not a safe work environment issue. Last time I checked everyone recognized the rink is a hazardous place to ply your trade.

If two men, within the context of the sport, wish to drop their gloves and punish each other, how is it any different than driving a guy as hard as possible into the boards? At least in a fight you have a choice to be engage or not(instigators are penalized more).

The purpose of fighting in hockey is to inspire teammates, entertain many fans, to intimidate opponents and to deter the opposing team from taking liberties with your star players. You may not like that it does these things but that is its purpose.

Last nights game was the perfect example. The Flyers ran all over the Rangers the last time the two met and within 21 seconds of last nights game the tone was reversed.

The fighters have a tough job, no doubt about it, but so do firefighters. Does that mean if a job is dangerous it doesn't serve a purpose?

At 6:36 p.m., March 22, 2007, Blogger Tom L said...

"As I've discovered from candid conversations with a few 'enforcers', that's not in the least bit true. Many of them dislike the role they have."

Then why do they do it? I don't like paying my taxes, working for someone else or taking out the garbage, but I still do it.

If they don't like their role, then why to they fight? Intentions or stated preferences are meaningless in the calculus of behaviour and the analysis of human behaviour, only actions undertaken.

My point was they drop the gloves willingly when the decision is put to them on the ice, which is the only decision that matters. What they say between fights is irrelevant.

We express our preferences in what we do, not what we say we'd prefer to do. In economic terms, the only things that matter are the marginal decisions made. If I say I'd like to get my teeth cleaned with my extra $100 this month and then go to Books-a-Billion... what I said is meaningless, b/c I decided to spend that $100 on books and prefer to have them than clean teeth.

The fighters can lament their roles all they want between games, but when put to the decision they drop the gloves. So, they are willing combatants, know the consequences, and make their choices. Our lamentations and protestations for their health are irrelevant.

If you want it out of the game, fine. I don't really care one way or the other anymore as both sides have valid points. But, until there is a greviance-resolution system in the NHL that involves mutually-agreed settlements and restitution paid to the victims of cheap shots, fighting is the closest thing to a deterrent for sociopathic behaviour in the game. A bad means of dealing with the problem? Maybe. But, I can sure as hell tell you that the quasi-criminal 'justice' system the NHL has adopted is not working at all.

So, James, to me if they'd rather not fight... prove it by no doing so. If the NHL is serious about changing it's image how about doing the shocking thing of promoting a justice system that is orthogonal to the failed systems society has in place currently...


At 8:03 p.m., March 22, 2007, Anonymous Matt D said...

If they don't like their role, then why do they fight?... We express our preferences in what we do, not what we say we'd prefer to do

They fight because they prefer being in the NHL (with the money, fame, status, and so on that goes along with that) to not being in the NHL. And being in the NHL requires them to fight. I would guess that lots of fighters would prefer to be in the NHL without fighting, but that's not a live option for them. I think fighting has no part in the game, but I'd probably fight if it meant I got to play in the NHL.

So, yeah, they prefer fighting and making $480K (minimum) to not fighting and making much, much less than that. But so what? It certainly doesn't show that fighters don't have reservations about what they do, or that they wouldn't prefer to be first line players. What they choose is constrained by what they can do. What they most prefer (being in the NHL without fighting) is not possible, so they choose the second best (being in the NHL and fighting) over the worst (not being in the NHL). I'm sure lots of us have preferences ordered in the same way, even those of us who would prefer to see fighting banned.

And why, exactly, do we care that some people are willing to fight in order to stay in the league? How does that make fighting OK?

Matt D

At 8:43 a.m., March 23, 2007, Blogger Tom L said...

And why, exactly, do we care that some people are willing to fight in order to stay in the league? How does that make fighting OK?

OK in what sense? In an objective standard of behaviour? Ultimately, as I've argued above and you just accurately continued arguing, there isn't one. Asking that kind of question is a simple straw man that has no right answer. The fact remains that somethings happen on the ice that cause two guys to come together and trade punches, whether we like it or not.

Statements like "There's no place for fighting in the game" is opinion. Not fact. Given the facts that guys in the NHL fight means that at some level it is necessary within the context of the current makeup of the game. If it wasn't, it wouldn't happen. Again, fact.

So, if you want fighting gone from the game knowing that there are events and behaviour that eventually result in a fight breaking out, how are you going to change things such that those conditions are no longer in evidence? Banning a behaviour does not remove the conditions under which the behaviour manifsted itself... .ergo, it's not an option.

It's all well and good to sit back on our self-righteous high horses and say 'fighting is stupid, unecessary and what not' and it's quite another to say that after having been hacked behind the knee with a club, slew-footed, face-washed, trash-talked, punched, slammed face-first into the boards, etc.

Hockey and economics is not logic. It's bloody and emotional. The analysis of the events should be coldly rational, though. Do not conflate the two.

This is why I'm refusing to, ultimately, take a side in this debate, rather choosing to say it's incumbent upon us to figure out ways of improving conditions which we don't like as opposed to just laying around, drinking beer and complaining about it.


At 10:21 a.m., March 23, 2007, Blogger Earl Sleek said...

as opposed to just laying around, drinking beer and complaining about it.

Crap, Tom. That's about my entire resumé.


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