Bobby Orr. There will probably never be another blueliner like him in our lifetimes. Tomorrow night, the Bruins legend will be shown in an interview with NBC’s Bob Costas. (You know, let’s all take a minute out of primetime sports to promote my personal agenda Bob Costas.) Costas decided to ask Orr his thoughts on fighting in hockey. Personally, if you remove fighting from hockey you make players (and I use the term loosely here) like John Scott significantly more dangerous on the ice. Players like Matt Cooke suddenly become more useful, especially with the glaring inconsistency still coming out of the Department of Player Safety.
Bobby Orr summed up his opinion pretty clearly in a way that even Costas could understand. Here’s Bobby Orr putting down his opinion on fighting.
“If a player has done something that he shouldn’t be doing, or is trying to intimidate a player that doesn’t play like that, if you’re trying to take liberties with a player that doesn’t play like that, there should be a policeman there. I want to see the skill players play. I don’t want to see them looking over their shoulders. That’s what makes our game great. We’ve got a lot of skilled players in this game. I go back to Sidney [Crosby] — where do you want Sidney? Fighting? Penalty box? Injured? Or do you want to see him play?”
Fighting WILL be necessary at times.When Matt Cooke destroyed Marc Savard‘s career, Shawn Thornton stepped up to the plate and took a five minute penalty for giving Cooke a lesson in karma. While Thornton did no where near the damage to Cooke as Cooke did to Savard, a lesson was taught. When John Scott attempted to take Eriksson’s head off, Adam McQuaid didn’t even think. He made a beeline for Scott and proceeded to engage the last of the super goons in the NHL. While McQuaid didn’t regulate the level of justice he would have wanted, he sent a message to Scott and the Sabres.
There are some of you who may agree with the argument that fighting should be taken out of hockey. Please understand you are in the minority. Some of us know when the players are throwing down, it’s not just to knock someone’s head off. It’s the players’ own form of ‘supplementary discipline’, especially for those plays that we all know the refs miss. It’s a way to get something started for their teams. Granted, there are some fights (like the Ray Emery- Braden Holtby fight) that makes us scratch our heads. I just can’t see why the league will surrender a traditional part of the game on account of a few goons and morons.