Thursday, January 10, 2008

Cheap shots

Following is my response to Joe Michelletti's comment during the Rangers' game of January 10, 2008:
Joe - While you're right that the sucker punch by Downie on Blake was the fault of the linesmen, I always thought there should be a rule, among men of honor, that once the fight is 'called,' the fighters must go to their "neutral corners," just like in boxing's "clean break."
Don't laugh - pros are, indeed, men of honor, and will, I believe, abide by this rule if set down in black and white.
On this subject, I think players must be trained to drop their sticks in every scrum. Sticks inevitable get up around faces, and this should be make illegal. I'm not talking about 'dropping the gloves' in preparation of a fight, just in these chippy confrontations in the corners, along the boards, or in front of the net.

So ends my comments to MSG, but to continue my thoughts...
This is not the time or place for me to argue whether fights belong in hockey or not. For now, let's assume they are a part of the game, and will, for at least the near future, continue as such.

So, on the subject of fights, dropping the gloves before a fight should not lead to a penalty if the opponent does not. To clarify, for those who don't know, when two skaters skate towards one another with the intention of fighting, they are expected to remove their gloves before fighting, or else there is an automatic penalty to the player for fighting with gloves on.
In my opinion, it is too easy to be goaded into a situation where one player tricks the other into, or at least takes advantage of the opportunity, to make the other guy drop the gloves, and then skate away. It doesn't happen often, but the threat is there enough for players to be concerned about it.
And lastly, I think that Chris Simon does not belong in the NHL. If he was a felon, he'd have taken his third strike already. In my opinion, he cannot control his anger. It's sheer luck that he hasn't hurt someone severely yet. It's only a matter of time before he does. Maybe he's someone you'd like to have on your team, I don't know; his teammates seem to love him, and his coaches all get behind him, but really, I believe he's a catastrophe waiting to happen.