Hockey Is War

I went to a hockey game Friday night and a brawl broke out. It was ugly, but it was some of the most entertaining hockey I’ve seen first hand. There were seven players thrown out of the game, 6 of them for the same big melee with a minute left on the clock. Everybody ended up with their helments and gloves on the ice, and Scott Hartnell came out of it without his jersey.

I’m talking about game 2 of the Predators versus Sharks. Every article I read on hockey this time of year says you have to “step it up for the playoffs”, and they apparently have. The Sharks were looking for payback because in game 1 Scott Hartnell made a nasty hit on one of their star players. There were skirmishes all night, but when it came down to the last minute of the game all pretext of playing hockey was gone. The Sharks were down 5-2 and knew the game was lost so one of their players just decided to go for it. He threw down his gloves (the first thing any hockey player does in a fight) and went for it.

I can’t figure out the referees. For most of the night they were in there busting up fights as soon as they started. But this time they just watched for a long time. I guess the refs either didn’t want to catch a fist themselves, or they were waiting to see how bad it got. They waited too long. It wasn’t like those big fights you see in baseball where there’s one big pile with the occasional arm or leg visibile. These guys just paired off and started swinging as they skated in all different directions. By the time the refs stepped in there were too many separate fights going on for the three refs to break up.

The Predators aren’t really a brawny team. They tend to get by on their speed and skill rather than shove people around. Despite all the fighting, game 2 was no exception. There was a lot of hustle, and the best play of the game was a break away where two guys stole the puck and got down the ice with only one defender.

I’ve been worried about Vokoun lately. He hasn’t been back up to his old goal-tending self since last year’s health scare. But Friday night he was saving more than Ben Franklin. (Sorry, it was in my head all night so I had to let it out.)

Let’s just hope the Predators don’t get caught by the Tennessee sports curse this time.


Anonymous the librarian said...

Darn, finally a good hockey fight and I missed it . . . bummer!

5:19 AM, April 18, 2007  

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