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Friday, January 15, 2010

Why not fight instead?

As I followed the fleeting moments of the Nashville/Calgary game on Friday night, a thought occurred to me:

Instead of pulling the goaltender to get an extra attacker on the ice, why not just start a fight?

I am told by my "real hockey fan" counterparts that fighting provides some value to the game. At various times and in various combinations, I am told it provides the potential for a momentum shift in a game, it gets the crowd "into it," it inspires teammates, etc., etc., etc.

So, in Calgary v. Nashville, we have the fighting-est team in the league taking on one of the least fight-prone teams. Calgary is down by one goal, at home, and has a Captain recognized leaguewide for his leadership skill which, on more than rare occassion, includes dropping the gloves.

Well? Isn't it obvious that instead of pulling Kiprusoff with a minute left in an effort to deposit the tying goal, Jarome Iginla should have beat the shite out of someone?

Nashville's lack of fights combined with their better-than-average record is arguably an indicator that even if fighting provides some value toward the goal of winning certain hockey games, they choose not to employ that particular strategy and would therefore not get the same lift as their pugilist opponents would from some fisticuffs.


  1. Should someone believe in this (which I understand is tongue-in-cheek), they wouldn't want Iginla fighting because they'd want him on the ice. They'd rather go with Brian McGrattan.

  2. According to my sources, fighting is a means of inspiring your teammates. What is more inspiring, your Captain fighting or your goon?

    Also, I wouldn't say that this is necessarily tongue-in-cheek. It may be the start of a whole series of blogs. Instead of employing some existing strategy, "Why not fight instead?" It could yield all sorts of interesting ideas, and I might just pave the road to Philadelphia Phlyers dominance...

  3. Scott Hartnell has no soulJanuary 20, 2010 at 10:25 AM

    So then why did Max Talbot start a fight with Dan Carcillo in last year's game 6 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals between the Flyers and Pens. At the time, the Flyers (playing at home) were up 3-0 early in the 2nd period and controlling the game. Talbot sacrifices himself to Carcillo and then the Pens go on to score 2 goals in the next 2 mins, completely shift the momentum of the game and wind up winning 5-3 and closing out the series. What prompted Talbot to fight Carcillo if nothing is gained in fighting?

  4. In the first period of the game in question, Philadelphia managed to score two goal similarly close to one another on the clock - yet no fight preceded them.

    So riddle me this, Soul Glo': How are the Penguins' goals credited to a fight while the Phlyers' goals are not credited to the absence of a fight - especially when Talbot got his arse whipped, which in any logical world would seem to deflate his teammates rather than inspire them. And why, after laying the wood, did Philadelphia's players not respond with guns blazing after their player just beat his opponent silly?

  5. Scott Hartnell has no soulJanuary 21, 2010 at 8:55 AM

    Good question. I would have argued the exact same way. If anything the result of the fight should have ignited the Flyers to score 10 more goals. I distinctly remember the annoucers saying (before the fight) that if there was a fight then the momentum would shift and sure enough the second the fight ended the announcers had given the momentum to the Pens despite the lopsided fight. The reason I remember this so vividly was because I asked myself the same question you did - how could the momentum now be on the Pens side of Talbot lost the fight? Either the announcers knew the fix was in (this is the Penguins we were talking about) or they knew something about the advantage (or disadvantage) a team has from fighting. I am looking forward to your empirical analysis on this.


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