Searching for a Discussion
Poor tired old Hockey Night in Canada.
Despite exhaustive efforts (presumably) by its production and research staff, HNIC has still not been able to turn up a single person capable of expressing the growing sentiment against fighting in the sport.
You'd think with all those taxpayer dollars behind it HNIC might be able to find a single voice in the hockey world to occasionally disagree with the program's stridently pro-fighting platform.
Instead, it's "fighting is part of the game" before the game, during the first period intermission when we see hockey's version of Ann (Anybody Who Disagrees with me is a Fag) Coulter, during the second period intermission panel discussion and after the game.
Not one voice to challenge the notion that fighting is desperately needed in the sport. It's almost as if HNIC and its chief opinion makers are frightened of actually having to defend their antiquated notions of the sport. They're so insecure, folks, they have to replay old shows to make themselves feel better.
But maybe Joel Darling and his staff just couldn't find somebody. Or maybe having a certain point-of-view is a pre-requisite to participating in that program?
Well, let's help them out, shall we?
Right there in the ACC on Saturday night, after all, was one of hockey's more reasoned, intelligent and independent thinkers, injuried Maple Leaf forward Michael Peca.
Peca has been through the wars, playing as a little man in what has become a big man's game, and playing it with an edge the entire way.
So here's what Peca had to say about fighting in an interview with The Star's Paul Hunter:
"Traditionalists will say it has a place in the game, it helps police the game. There’s a whole theory about that but, on the other hand, guys are getting hurt. I don’t think it’s just the fighting. I think it’s blows to the head in general.
"I’m sure there’ll come a day when, much like in football, you just can’t hit the head whether it’s your shoulder or anything. Then fighting becomes a little redundant because those are basically blows to the head.
"I think fighting will eventually find itself out of the game. There might be people worried that then the stick fouls and everything will increase but I think it’ll come to a point where respect for the game will kind of balance that out.
"Ninety per cent of the time it doesn’t really serve a purpose any more in the game so take it for what’s its worth."
That's just one NHLer's opinion, but while some would have you believe all NHLers think fighting is wonderful, there are lots more just like Peca out there.
Even HNIC might be able to find one.
NOTE: Given that a couple of readers have wondered if The Star isn't just as guilty as HNIC in airing both sides of the fighting debate, I figured it was worthwhile to point out that Rosie DiManno took a decidedly pro-fighting stance in her coverage of the Belak-Janssen scrap last week and Kevin McGran published a piece with both sides of the fighting debate last week as well.
More to the point, I don't think there's any shortage of availability of pro-fighting opinions out there. It's the silent majority that is far under-represented in the public debate.