Sidney Crosby’s fight with Stars defenseman Matt Niskanen caused a lot of stir this week amongst hockey fans, raising the question of whether premier stars in this league should drop the gloves. Patrick and Michael debate…
They should keep the gloves on By Patrick Hoffman
Fighting is part of hockey. Plain and simple.
Fans love it, players use it to get their teams into a game or pump themselves up, and it’s something that will always be a part of the National Hockey League.
With that said, I think, while serving a purpose, having superstars fight is not good for the league or the team that the superstar plays on. This was especially true while watching Pittsburgh Penguins’ and face of the NHL Sidney Crosby fight Matt Niskanen of the Dallas Stars earlier this week.
While Crosby is the captain of his hockey club, there are bigger guys on his team that should be doing that instead of him. What if Crosby had broken his hand? What if he had taken a bad fall during the fight and got absolutely pounded in the face and had to miss time? Crosby is the face of the Pittsburgh Penguins and if he ended up having to miss significant time, who knows how that would have ended up impacting not only the Pittsburgh Penguins, but the NHL in general? Crosby is a household name and that more than likely would have impacted ticket sales through the league when the Pens were in town.
The same can be said for players like Alexander Ovechkin, Pavel Datsyuk, Marian Gaborik, etc. Sure, they can play a physical game if they’d like, but fighting should be out of the question, especially when considering the big picture for their team and the league.
Again, I am not against fighting. I’m just weary of having superstars risk injury or worse to fight for their hockey club. ---
Anything goes with the ‘C’ on the chest By Michael Smith
Captains are meant to lead by example; so why would Sidney Crosby be any different? Because he's the sport's top player? That excuse isn't going to fly – not with me and obviously not with Sid.
On Wednesday night, about a minute after the Pittsburgh Penguins fell behind the Dallas Stars 5-1, Crosby made a statement.
He was angry; very much so. His team was well on its way to losing its seventh game on the season -- six in regulation, one in overtime and one more than they have wins.
Crosby dropped the gloves for the fifth time in his career, this time with Stars defenseman Matt Niskanen and, for someone not known for his pugilism, threw some pretty good ones.
He wanted to wake his team up. He wanted them to share the same passion he plays with every shift. He wanted them to know that their level of play as a team just was not acceptable.
How can anyone possibly question that?
The Pittsburgh bench felt one of two things in the wake of the scrap: shame or motivation, or both. Either way, watching something like that is sure to light a fire under some pairs of hockey pants.
To the best players in the game, fighting is nothing new. Maybe it's more of a throwback to a time in hockey where toughness was in greater supply – when helmets were either optional or off the radar. A time when captains led with their fists and their meanness and no one batted an eyelash.
Gordie Howe is one of the all-time greats. The same goes for Maurice Richard. Do you think either of them would have hesitated for a second if they thought a message could be sent or a wrong righted by fighting?
Heck, Gordie might punch you in the nose today for doubting it. How about Mark Messier? Or Jarome Iginla?
Captains lead. If leading means fighting, then captains – including the most-skilled ones – fight.
Our podcast 'RLD Hockey Talk' is LIVE every Wednesday afternoon at 1:00 ET/Noon CT. Some of our notable guests in past episodes have been Dustin Brown, Doc Emrick, John Buccigross, Dave Strader, E.J. Hradek, Elliotte Friedman and Jay Grossman.