Good Ol’ Fashion Hockey

Weaver Fight

The Anaheim Ducks rolled through last year’s Stanley Cup playoffs, losing five games through four series and physically dominated just about every opponent.

Another thing the Ducks led the league in, aside from being the best team in the NHL when the dust settled in mid-June, was fighting majors.  Last season, the Ducks dropped the gloves 71 times.  The team with the second highest amount of fighting majors last year was the Phoenix Coyotes who had a whopping 47 when the regular season ended.

Last year’s rendition of the Anaheim Ducks was a great example that hard-nosed, old school hockey can still win – in fact can be downright dominating – in an era of the NHL, which is known more its speed and unwavering skill without toughness.

Now, this year, the Ducks still lead the NHL in fighting majors with 54 as of yesterday.  But this year is different.  The teams closest to the Ducks in terms of the amount of fighting majors are already surpassing the 50-fight plateau, including the Vancouver Canucks and Calgary Flames.

Vancouver’s total number of fights skyrocketed after Saturday night’s fight-filled affair against the Northwest Division rival Edmonton Oilers in a 4-2 victory on home ice.  The final 40 seconds of the game took almost half an hour to play because there was one post-whistle scuffle and two line brawls, and guess what?

The crowd loved every second of it.

Two teams, desperate for points and not willing to back down at any point in the game clashed in one of the more entertaining hockey games of this year’s NHL schedule.

Anaheim Fight

Seems to be the way of the game right now.  The playoff race is so incredibly close, with maybe only two or three teams that can be unofficially counted out, and with such a close race to get into the post season, no team is willing to back down one little bit.  That’s the way it should be.

A lot of people have been skeptical of the ‘New NHL’ because of the high number of phantom or weak calls on the smallest of infractions and are quick to suggest that the powers that be in New York and Toronto are trying to take the rough stuff, the battles and the scraps that give hockey its edge right out of the game.

Skepticism aside, right now, the edge of hockey has seemingly returned.  There is just too much at stake and players are learning that they better be willing to do just about anything to give their team the competitive edge on the ice.

Take Dion Phaneuf and Shane Doan for example.  Two big boys, former members of the WHL and two former Team Canada World Juniors had a spirited scrap in last night’s Flames 4-1 victory over Phoenix.  You want to get your team fired up?  Getting into a 30 or 40 second bout of fisticuffs with a willing combatant seems to be the way right now and it is adding quite the thrill to a game, which seems to need a punch in the face every now and again to get people’s interest.

If you don’t like fighting in hockey, if you think hockey should be a faster version of golf, then perhaps you might want to change your channel when hockey comes on The way things are so close in both conferences and with the high intensity and high competitive level that every player has, this trend of ‘Fistianna’ is going to keep going strong right through to the final game of the playoffs.

Good.

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