Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Fighting Makes Players Accountable For Their Actions

This is one of the most popular reasons for fighting and it’s ironic because it’s clearly not working.  Players who foul other players get penalties and still get jumped by the designated goon when they are released from the penalty box.   Players deliver good solid hockey hits and still the other team’s fighter steps on the ice for their few minutes of playing time and decide to make that guy “accountable”.   The problem with allowing players to police the game is that they are the ones who are making up the infractions.   They aren’t using any rule book, it’s just based on what they think is right or wrong.  

Here is a refreshing article from SB Nation, written by Travis Hughes.   In it he calls the accountability argument, “bullshit”.   Read the whole thing here.

Every NHL designated tough guy drops their gloves for a reason and there are too many fights to try and understand the motivation of each and every one.   But sometimes the reason doesn’t make any sense and can help highlight why the “accountability” argument should be dismissed.  The quote below is from Brian Burke, excerpted from an NHL Insider column published in 2009.  (The full article can be found here

"When I was playing in the American (Hockey) League, I went after a guy in a game who speared me two years before that when I was playing university hockey. Anyone upstairs can say it was a staged fight - well it wasn't a staged fight," Burke said. "I was going to get this guy and I was going to get him the first time I was on the ice with him. After the incident he yelled at me and said, 'What was that all about?' I said to him, 'You got me two years ago and I didn't get a chance to get you for two years.”

So that is why we defend fighting?   So players can hold grudges for two years and dole out some payback when they get a chance.   I suspect that Burke’s target was immediately embarrassed about his spearing, once it was explained to him what the fight was all about, and that he never thought about doing it again.

The whole accountability thing doesn’t make any sense to me.   The players should focus on playing the game and let the referees handle the policing.   The referees are far less likely to penalize someone because they just laid a good hit on a star player, or because they thought someone did something “against the hockey player’s code” a couple of weeks ago.

It’s not part of the game.

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