'bitches can't hang with the streets'
The NHL, alongside providing me with fleeting moments of great joy, also provides me with innumerable topics to bitch about: Mario Lemieux's vaunted legacy (he was a dirty douche), any team south of D.C. with the exception of St. Louis, Gary Bettman, and anything and everything about the Versus broadcasts. One thing that drives me completely bonkers about the NHL is the lack of accountability for dirty hits. Guys like Matt Cooke flying around the ice and doucheing the careers of far better players makes me want to stab someone through the heart. That's not to say I'm not a fan of violence (have you met me?), but because I am a fan of justice, revenge, and the American Way.
MULLETS + GUITAR HERO + PISTOLS + CLIPS + AMMO + BANANA HAMMOCKS + BEARDS + SINGLE BEDS + CARPETS + NO SHIRT + NO SHOES + NO PANTS = AMERICA. FUCK AND YES.
I love all the hand wringing by dilettante American columnists who just delve into the NHL when there's a savage injury, or a bad fight, or a blindside hit (seriously, who the shit is gonna listen to someone from Oakland
when it comes to hockey? Not this close minded Northeasterner!). They all say the same shit: CRACK DOWN ON THE FIGHTING! END THE HEADHUNTING! Well boys, it's not as simple as that.
'BLAH BLAH BLAH UNEDUCATED PONTIFICATION BLAH BLAH BLAH NONSENSICAL REFERENTIAL STATS BLAH BLAH BLAH I ACTUALLY DIDN'T WATCH THE GAME LAST NIGHT BUT WHATEVER BLAH BLAH BLAH CONCUSSIONS'
The simple truth behind everything concussion related is as follows: the Goon/Enforcer has gone the way of the Dinosaur, but the Pest has multiplied exponentially since the former's extinction. If you're looking for why guys like Matt Cooke can blast 4 different players into concussioblivion in the past 18 months with the only punishment coming from No Balls Bettman, it's because they NEVER pay for it on the ice. Gone are the days of the goon, and we've now entered into the dawn of the Pest. And as far as the Pest vs. Goon argument is going on, I'll take the side of the Goon, every time.
Don't get it Twisted, son.
Back in the day, if a guy like Matt Cooke or Alex Burrows pulled the shit they do EVERY night, the opposing team coach would bide his time until the right moment, and BOOM, lower the hammer with his goon. On-Ice justice would be served. In the era of the Goon (which included the high flying 70s, for all you "it'll bring back the clutch n grab!" people), pests like Rob Ray & Tie Domi had to pay dearly for every pesty hit, tap, jaw, jab, and general annoyance they laid down. But they ate their punishment (in Ray's case, enjoyed it), and with it came the respect of all the fans. Nowadays, Matt Cooke blasts someone from behind, ends their season, and skates into the lockerroom without a SCRATCH. Can you imagine the Big Bad Bruins of the '70s allowing a guy like Matt Cooke to even WALK if he had smoked Phil Esposito for the season with a blindside? What retaliation did Cooke face last year after he put Savard out for the year? A facewash? An illegal elbow? And these are the BRUINS. We're not even talking about a softie squad like the current Sabres. The guy should have been squared up by a guy twice his size, and pulverized into oblivion until the linesmen came in to break it up.
'Hey! I'm the World's Toughest Midget! Don't call ME soft!'
The only way to solve this issue, although completely unrealistic, is to eliminate the Instigator Rule. It's stupid. Fighting was never the problem in the NHL. Fighting has always been a way for players to police themselves. The problem has always been the Pest & the Goon going after better players. Now that the former NBA Attorney with no hockey background has eliminated the Pest's natural predator, the Pest's have free reign to prey on whomever they want, whenever they want. What the NHL SHOULD do is eliminate the instigator rule, toughen the fines/suspensions on blind hits, and allow the return of actual fighting so players can have real on ice implications for taking out guys like Marc Savard, Sidney Crosby, or (gasp) Chris Drury. A balanced approach will see the return of a natural Darwinian balance to the NHL that is sorely missed.
God I love being the guy who advocates fighting....it's so.......barbaric!
Sweeping Statement: If you want this out of the game, you just don't understand hockey. Sincerely, a barbarian.