Fighting in hockey playoffs

There has been some fighting in the Stanley Cup playoffs, contrary to popular belief. Truth be told, it's only usually when the on-ice officials don't get in there fast enough to break it up as the players throw their gloves off and start swinging.

They barely have enough time to get set. It's a pity that the referee or linesman don't move a little quicker when sticks checking from far behind the boards, spearing or any other kind of cheap shots are involved in an altercation - just too much tolerance for "chippiness," as it is known in hockey circles.

My earliest, fondest memories of fighting in hockey is as a kid at the old Madison Square Garden in New York. The Rangers were hosting an opponent I don't recall. I remember the ice being littered with gloves after the brawl. Those were the good old days, when hockey was played with reckless abandonment (and 99 percent Canadian, as opposed to 60 percent now) - river hockey!

This has been a way of life for our cousins to the north, and not unfamiliar to those of us who grew up in either Boston, Chicago, Detroit or New York (and not exclusively for folks from Montreal or Toronto). Yes, shooting or passing the puck, blocking it, skating, goaltending, offense and defense is ever present in this grand sport - and fighting as well.

I've known so-called fans and others who support the anti-fighting lobby. Some of them even want to resort to fisticuffs to try and convince me to change my mind - really out of frustration. Ironic, isn't it? Fighting someone to believe in non-fighting.

Unless you're Jaromir Jagr of the Pittsburgh Penguins, who is a player above players, don't tell me that fighting doesn't have a place in hockey. If everyone was as great as he is, it would transform the whole game to something different altogether maybe.

I still say let them fight. So what if there is combat with fights taking place on the ice.

Writer Mike Schuman lives in Carson City


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