The Ottawa Senators took it to the Montreal Canadiens in last night’s playoff game, eventually winning 6-1. It had been close for much of the game, but things quickly got away from the Habs in the third period. By the time it was 4-1, the Canadiens decided it was enough. In a series that had become rather testy, emotion finally took over and we were presented with a full line brawl.
Hockey “purists” tend to defend fighting as an important part of the game. Supposedly, it creates respect between players and teams, it gets your teammates fired up, and it gets the crowd fired up. The resultant cheering in the following video as long-tenured Ottawa tough guy Chris Neil throws his hands in the air shows that the final argument is, no doubt, true.
Whether you like fighting or not, the response by the colour analyst Garry Galley (a former NHLer and an eminently likable broadcast personality) is really messed up. While detailing the fights, and commending players for “standing in here”, Galley says:
I’m ok with everything but the handwaving…
You see, there’s nothing wrong with ten grown men punching each other in the head for a few minutes, but a bit of hand-waving (to fire up the crowd!) is over the line.
This is what’s wrong with the NHL.