Is the hockey goon really dying this time?

Jason Kay
Goon 2

At the beginning of the 2006-07 season, the second in the so-called “new” NHL, The Hockey News proclaimed on a cover that goons were dying.

The game had changed. There was a crackdown on obstruction and an emphasis on wide-open play. One-dimensional fighters were having a difficult time cracking lineups. Some teams didn’t even carry fight-only thugs.

And the numbers bore out the perception. The previous campaign, there were 0.38 fights per game, down from 0.64 the year prior to the lockout and the lowest level since the late 1960s.

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In honor of THN’s new Fighting Issue, check out this insane brawl from 2006

Jared Clinton
Japan/China Brawl

With THN’s Fighting Issue hitting newsstands this week, it’s a good time to look back on one of the craziest on-ice brawls you will ever see.

Who knew that when it comes to hockey, Japan and China are rivals the likes of Canada and Russia.

This video, which comes from a user on video sharing site LiveLeak, shows an all out brawl between two teams – one reportedly from China and the other from Japan. There’s bodies flying during this all-out brawl:

(WARNING: Some language is not suitable for children) Read more

Stars’ Roussel, Blackhawks’ Shaw throw down in Fight of the Year candidate

Jared Clinton
Dallas Stars v Chicago Blackhawks

Chicago Blackhawks center Andrew Shaw has fought twice in the last two seasons. Both bouts have been with Dallas Stars winger Antoine Roussel. Safe to say the two don’t like each other very much, and the pair renewed hostilities on Sunday night.

Midway through the first period, with the Stars up 2-1, Shaw came across behind Roussel, and whatever Shaw said certainly sparked something in his opponent. Roussel immediately turned, the gloves were off, and the two threw haymakers in a sure Fight of the Year candidate: Read more

Tarasenko, Weise channel inner Mr. Hockey, record Gordie Howe hat tricks

Jared Clinton
Dale Weise (Francois Lacasse/NHLI via Getty Images)

It might be time we start wondering if there’s anything Vladimir Tarasenko won’t do this season. Thursday night, when the St. Louis Blues played host to the Nashville Predators, the Blues winger registered his second hat trick of the season, only this one was of the Gordie Howe variety.

The Blues goal-scoring sensation got the assist out of the way early in the game and would add the goal late in the second period. But the highlight, of course, is the “fight”: Read more

Hockey Canada will save a spot for Connor McDavid on WJC team

Ken Campbell
Connor McDavid (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)

If Connor McDavid’s broken finger goes the distance and he’s out of action for six weeks, Hockey Canada is willing to wait and will save a spot for him on the Canadian team for the World Junior Championship.

The Erie Otters announced Wednesday night that McDavid suffered a fracture of the fifth metacarpal on his right hand – which basically means he broke his pinky finger – and is expected to be out of the lineup between five and six weeks. Six weeks from Wednesday is Dec. 24 and Canada opens its WJC schedule against Slovakia in Montreal Dec. 26.

Teams must finalize their 22-man rosters by 24 hours before their first game of the tournament, but an enormous factor working in McDavid’s favor is that teams are also allowed to keep one extra roster spot open that they can fill at any point in the tournament, and that player can play in any game provided he is added to the roster three hours before the game.

McDavid will be at camp when it opens Dec. 11 and by that time he will have been out of the lineup four weeks. Hockey Canada will monitor McDavid’s progress, but it’s clear it will keep the light on for McDavid as long as there is hope he can play at some point in the tournament. Even if he can’t participate in the final selection camp or any of the exhibition games, McDavid will be on the team if he’s healthy.

“We have a lot of good hockey players in Canada,” said Scott Salmond, vice-president of hockey operations and national teams for Hockey Canada. “But Connor is a very special player. We want a 100 per cent Connor McDavid in the lineup and we’ll do anything to make that happen.”

Hockey Canada has dealt with injury issues before, so this is not a unique situation for the World Junior team. Salmond said it’s too early to tell, but he hinted Canada would be prepared to go with McDavid even if he is not 100 percent healthy. If he misses the entire camp and the exhibition games, it means McDavid will be hitting the ground running, exposing himself to an incredibly high level of competition after sitting idle for six weeks. But that’s clearly a situation Hockey Canada is willing to endure for a player who was on a 170-point pace with the Erie Otters before he was injured.

“We’ll have to see how his stickhandling and puckhandling will look,” Salmond said, “but he’s such a special player, if he can come in and play, I can’t think of a situation where he wouldn’t be put in our lineup.”

Salmond said he was with World Junior coach Benoit Groulx and head scout Ryan Jankowski at the Subway Super Series game in Brandon Tuesday night when he learned of McDavid’s injury and called it a “double whammy” because the Western League team also lost the game. But he said after everyone processed the situation and spoke with the Otters, they feel confident McDavid will be able to play.

“I think that would be the best Christmas present for Canadian hockey fans,” Salmond said, “and for us.”

Stop the hypocrisy. Connor McDavid fighting is exactly what we want

Jason Kay
Connor McDavid (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The hypocrites have taken over the asylum.

Connor McDavid gets hurt in a fight and there’s a groundswell of finger-waving, tongue-cluckers wondering why the most talented player in junior hockey is trading knuckle sandwiches with someone he should be battling on NHL 15.

Seriously? This is exactly what we want. Minus the broken/fractured/bruised metacarpal, of course.

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Junior phenom Connor McDavid injured in a fight that’s indefensible

Adam Proteau
Connor McDavid (Terry Wilson/OHL Images)

Everyone with a cognitive apparatus in reasonable working condition should know by now that anyone who tells you nobody gets hurt in a hockey fight is not telling the truth. The latest example proving those people to be liars came Tuesday night when OHL superstar Connor McDavid suffered an apparent right hand injury in the first real fight of his burgeoning career.

McDavid’s Erie Otters were taking on the Mississauga Steelheads when, after the whistle, McDavid and Steelheads center Bryson Cianfrone decided to fight. By the end of it, McDavid was the worse for wear, leaving the ice holding his right hand gingerly in his left and subsequently heading to the hospital for x-rays. Read more

THN Analytics: The statistical argument against fighting

Benjamin Wendorf
edmontonfight

As the debate over fighting continues, it certainly appears that the anti-fighting crowd has gained the upper hand.

While the debate has often been framed around a series of defenses for fighting, including the concepts of providing a boost, deterring harm against a team, and the idea that you’ll lose fans if you phase fighting out of the game, all of these issues can be addressed by looking into statistical evidence. I also think there’s a fourth point that hasn’t really been discussed: the difference between employing a fighter that can’t play the game particularly well, and a regular 4th liner. Let’s take a look at these arguments point-by-point: Read more