You got know when to hold them, know when to throw them.


March 5, 2013; Washington, DC, USA; Boston Bruins right wing Shawn Thornton (22) fights with Washington Capitals defenseman John Erskine (4) in the first period at Verizon Center. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The NHL is the only professional sports league in North America that expects fights to break out. As proud members of Bruins Nation, we expect certain games will end up with a fight. Let’s face it, when we play the Canadiens we practically EXPECT someone to start swinging.(It’s part of our mutual history.) On the upside of this, we’ve got one of the few teams in the league where practically anyone will throw down for the ‘right reason’.  Jared Crozier, editor of SenShot, the Ottawa Senators site offered up a ‘right reason’ example using the Bruins.

“I am all for fighting in the NHL when it is a reaction to something that has happened on the ice.  A player taking liberties with one of your players, sometimes matters need to be taken into your own hands, like Zdeno Chara did to Alexei Emelin earlier this week.  Emelin cross-checked Tyler Seguin in the ribs away from the play and paid the price for his actions.”

The same thing happens when your goalie takes unnecessary fire. Back when Rask was first starting here in Boston, he got knocked down in a pre-season game, and the Bruins ‘responded’. It’s something the teams will do when they see their goalie get hit. Punch first, ask questions later.

There are also those occasional games where a hockey game breaks out in between the fighting. Some of those games just start out with a fight. On February 3rd, 2011 the Dallas Stars came to the TD Garden. That hockey game started out with thirty minutes of penalties being issued in the first four seconds. It’s one of those ‘Is this really happening moments?’

That’s what we need to take a look at. The downside of the fights. The fights that serve no meaning to a game, have no history, and are only used to validate someone’s place on a team’s fourth line. That occurred last night between Frazer McLaren of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Dave Dziurzynski of the Ottawa Senators that left Dziurzynski leaving the game with a concussion. “It’s not often that’s the intention to fight right off the bat like that, but our team has been flat the last couple of games and we’re just looking for a spark and it’s just too bad that’s the way the fight went.” said McLaren.(He required eight stitches in the face from that fight.) ““Most of the time it’s just going to be a good fight and get both teams into the game.”

A lot of us understand that fighting is part of the sport. Some of us really enjoy it. I just don’t want to see one of our players (or any other NHL player for that matter) end up losing their career or their lives over an unnecessary fight. I’m sure that neither player will be facing a Shanaban for this. It’s bad enough that NHL player safety has been woefully inconsistent in their calls so far this year. Trying to get them to enforce supplemental discipline over some of these fights would be highly unlikely. (Until someone ends up crippled or dead unfortunately.)

Perhaps Sun Tzu’s ‘The Art of War’ should be required reading for all incoming NHL players. I think the league could use a little more intelligence when it comes to knowing when to fight, and when not to fight.