Volume 94, Issue 18
Hockey's changing face
It's all fun and games till someone receives a third degree concussion at the hands of a tough guy armed with an aluminum Easton.
Marty McSorley moved from the ice surface of the National Hockey League to the even shakier grounds of a Canadian court house as he tried to plead his innocence to a provincial judge this past Wednesday.
The trial revolves around a blow delivered by the Boston Bruin defenceman to Vancouver Canuck winger Donald Brashear. McSorley's 'accidental' slash found Brashear's head during the closing seconds of a game played last February 21st in Vancouver.
The two are known around the NHL, more for their time spent in the penalty box than for their on-ice heroics and have both made a very good living at beating the hell out of people.
This trial is poised to set a new precedent concerning the legality of violence in sports, but there is one question that remains. How much violence should be allowed in the overall game itself?
There was a time many of us remember when there would be at least one tussle during the span of three periods of play. It was not only expected, but looked forward to by any Canadian drinking hoser.
Then somewhere along the line fighting, hitting, and any other sort of violence in general, became a hockey faux pas. NHL commissioner Gary Betteman and the boys from the U.S.A. began their crusade to turn the NHL game into an ice ballet.
What those damn Yankees didn't expect was the repercussion of going cold turkey with fighting meant other forms of violence would become more persistent. Poking, slashing and hacking have reared their hideous heads within the game of the Great White North.
So while McSorley's display late in the third period of his team's 5-2 loss will never be justified and could result in the veteran serving more than just five minutes in the 'box', the fact that remains is the NHL needs to take a hard look at their newly implemented policy and evaluate what it is doing to the game.
Something needs to be done to save the game of hockey before it becomes a sticky mess of spearing, hooking and slashing.
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