I had this week’s column almost ready to print when I read something that made me sick to my stomach. I decided to change my column and write about this sad minute in the NHL.
The Boston Bruins versus the Pittsburgh Penguins games are always fantastic to watch. Fast pace with good handling of sticks and great plays. The rivalry between these teams is what makes the game so interesting and great to watch, all this changed on Saturday December 7th.
I saw with my own eyes the fight or I should say…….the one sided fight of Shawn Thornton and Brooks Orpik. What the hell happened? When Brooks fell, Shawn just kept on hitting. It was terrible to watch and I felt no pride in my favorite sport.
Just the act itself was hard to watch on TV. It was also hard to see Brooks Orpik leave the ice tied down on a stretcher. Why didn’t the ref stopped it sooner? What happened? You could say that it is the stress of the sport or that these two teams are so close in talent that it is almost a certain tie, when they play together. It could be true but……other sports have the same problems and we don’t see their players leave the buildings on stretchers?
This kind of play happens a lot more often lately. Is it cause by higher pay checks? Better and faster players or better equipment? Does it really matter? All I know is that when I was watching this act and I saw Brooks go down and Shawn still hitting him, I realized that hockey hit a low point. A place where it never went before. I was ashamed of the NHL, the teams, the players, the refs and many others.
What about tomorrow? What about the future NHL players and the kids that are watching the games today? What about the tiny kids playing in junior leagues right now. We are telling them no violence in hockey and do your best. Then they see these actions. It seems we are giving them double messages, do you agree?
Maybe, we should fire Shawn Thornton for his actions? Could it be time to clean up the NHL? I personally don’t think anything will happen but we never know. Fighting was always a part of the game, but never like this. Yesterdays players kept the fighting to a few minutes and with no personal dangers and no one left the ice on stretchers!
Hockey wasn’t invented to hurt others but it was invented to play well with others. Play to enjoy the game itself and to do your best- that is all!