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The "Winter Classic"


marvin

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I don't watch hockey anymore. But I frequently see clips on the news, showing fights, where the referee sits and watches while 2 players knock the crap out of each other...and they're always going for each others' heads, and there is blood etc...

I know fights will happen. But it is apparent to me that the NHL is so desperate for revenues, that it essentially promotes/allows violent fights during games. This is what bothers me.

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marv is right, the frequency of fighting has really decreased over the years. But what is happening is you are having more and more cheap shots levelled by guys, when they are in vulnerbale positions, which should be a big concern for the NHL. These type of hits were not occuring as frequently in the past. This is an attitude/psychology issue where you have players who have the attitude that they want to inflict harm. But this is no different from the Oakland Raiders secondary or NBA brawls with fans and players or the baseball brawls Marv mentions. The fact is, when winning becomes everything at the professional level, many of these athletes are taking that competetion to nasty levels. That also includes ingesting steroids. All this is a product of how our culture has developed in my opinion. People always ask, how did fighting ever develop in hockey. The fact is, in football you run a play, you get crunched, and you get a break before the next play. It is the constant, let me repeat, the CONSTANT hitting or checking in hockey that leads to frustrations and ultimately led to fights occuring in the game, which were condoned. Do I agree with it?, Not really but I find boxing, cage wrestling, and women's roller derby more repulsive and overt. Hockey is not alone in terms of the violence nor is our American society as a whole in so, so many ways.

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I am a major baseball fan, a casual football fan, but hockey is part of my DNA. Having watched (and played) hockey for over 30 years, in my opinion, there was nothing more exciting than seeing a player like Bobby Orr, Guy Lafleur, Wayne Gretzky or Mario Lemieux at their peak. In today's game, spend some time with Sidney Crosby, Jarome Iginla, Henrik Zetterberg or Vincent Lecavalier. All these incredible talents have made hockey into an art form.

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I agree. When I've watched hockey in person, it's been great. I can skate a little, and love it. I played most sports as a kid but not hockey, it wasn't big in Columbus, OH. It's one of those sports I wished I'd tried.

Hockey is very physical, and that's part of why it's great, IMHO. And fights will break out, it's natural. But it's the NHL's responsibility to eliminate/minimize fighting. But instead it promotes it...and this is over the top wrong. No other professional league does this. For this I find the league basically corrupt.

P.S. OK, I promise I'll shut-up now!!

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Marv is right, there are many talents in hockey that do things on skates that most athletes couldnt accomplish on their feet even. Sometimes I do not think it is appreciated the level to which these guys have achieved as athletic talents and part of that is probably due to the aggression issue. As long as our culture keeps asking for more violence in programming, it is unlikely the NHL will do much to abolish fighting.

Most of the people who are actually filling the seats at hockey stadiums do not want the fighting abolished totally and this is a fact. The Europeanization of the game, in terms of players and tactics, has certainly reduced the frequency of fights. Many teams do not carry the enforcers on their rosters anymore whereas in the 70s and 80s that would have been unthinkable.

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I think there is far more violence in football, than hockey, as there is hitting on every play. It seems every down you see players pushing and shoving now and the only thing that stops a fight is the oversized helmets they wear.

I just watched the Patriots/Giants game the other night and saw a New England player stick his fingers in the eye of the Giants Brandon Jacobs, during a lull in play.

As Marvin said, just watch some of the beauty of the game, especially in person, and you will be taken with it. Every team has multiple players who can dazzle you with their stickhandling and it's amazing to watch some of the goalies face shots that are 100 MPH through traffic, yet make what looks like effortless saves.

James, you and I need to make at date at the United Center this year, so I can convert you! (Let's wait until Toews gets healthy again, though! I want you to see the youngsters, Kane and Toews play together.)

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