Given that I have a son who plays hockey at a decently high level, and he is no stranger to dropping the mitts from time to time, you might think that I am a bit of a fan of fighting in hockey.
You would be wrong.
No other team sport of consequence — in fact, no team sport at all that I can think of — tolerates fighting. Just hockey. If you fight in football or rugby, you’re out. Baseball or basketball? Well, aside from the embarrassing slap fights that pass themselves off for brawls in those sports, yes. You are automatically ejected and subject to suspension.
But not hockey. Hockey has a Code which isn’t written down anywhere but is well understood by its participants. Among its foggy tenants are things like, fight guys who are roughly your size. Tough guys do not attack skill guys. Doing things like snowing a goalie or shooting a puck at the net after the whistle will be regarded as invitations to punch that person. Under the Code it’s apparently OK to fight if your team is losing badly and you want to get the crowd going or fire up your team. Or if someone on the other team violates any of the above rules.
Which brings us to the the display of utter stupidity Sunday night between the Leafs and the Sabres.
Code violations were everywhere, apparently. But how does the Code apply when a smaller player challenges a larger player and insists on fighting — as happened with marginal NHLer Corey Tropp of the Sabres challenging the larger Leafs extra Jamie Devane and getting the snot knocked out of him in the process?
Naturally the perfectly logical reaction to this incident — which had nothing to do with the Code and everything to do with a staggering lack of good judgment by Tropp — is for the Sabres to avenge their slow-witted teammate by sending out a bona fide goonish role player — look waaaaay up and say Hi to six foot eight inch, 270-pound John Scott — to attack Phil Kessel, who has never attacked anything more than a bag of cheezies that refused to open.
So, tough guy and super heavyweight attacks skill guy and middleweight — CODE VIOLATION times 2 — and all hell breaks loose.
It would be so easy to say, hey. They’re all morons. But they’re not. They’re pros. I expect all of them would be fun to share a beer with. And you don’t have to be a pro to understand that scary, stupid things happen between the boards during 60 minutes of hockey. This incident just took on massive proportions.
Fighting is a part of hockey, like it or not. On Sunday night, I didn’t like it. I don’t like it when my kid fights but sometimes a guy has to do what a guy has to do. Like it or not, it comes with being big.
Just don’t be big and stupid, as happened Sunday night. The Code is irrelevant.
PS — Kessel has some explaining to do about his stick work on Scott, but I think if John Scott was about to start punching me I’d hit him with a stick, too.
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I have a work iPhone and a personal iPad. Apple came out last week with a new operating system for both and like the lemming I am I ran off the cliff with everyone else and installed the new platform.
It looks cool. Sort of. But I am hard pressed to say anything nice about it beyond that.
It made everything slower. It made the iPad slower to charge. It makes both device use up the battery life faster. I suspect iOS7 is responsible for global warming, the break up of the Beatles, unrest in the Middle East and Toronto’s Stanley Cup drought.
I wish I hadn’t installed it. You might want to do a little research before doing the same, or at least wait to see if Apple improves it or addresses complaints, which thus far it doesn’t seem keen to do.
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The Toronto Marlies and the Hamilton Bulldogs are playing an American Hockey League exhibition game at Sixteen Mile Sports Complex on Friday night. You should go and cheer for Oakville’s own Stuart Percy, who will be with the Marlies. But you should also go to see two fine MOHA atom teams play between the first and second periods.
One of those teams is co-coached by your humble scribe, although I won’t be attending the event myself. But I can assure you that the two team — the atom teams I mean — will put on a great show and I have no doubt the kids will have a good time.
The AHL game is the kickoff for the Ontario Junior Hockey League college showcase weekend. The games involving the junior A teams start on Saturday and some good hockey will be played there, too. Again, I would encourage fans of the game to support the kids and take in a game if you can.