“You wanna go?”

96

Apparently my last post on the Colton Orr/Todd Fedoruk tilt last night struck a nerve with some of you, which is fine, because some of the comments in return struck a nerve with me.

Here’s what I know: I know hockey is still about scoring more goals than the other team, and yet sometimes you need to protect the guys that score the goals. I know that the Rangers feel empowered by the presence of Colton Orr in the lineup, so even if the benefit is only psychological, there is a reason he is there.

If you want to talk about fighting’s importance in the context of the larger game, then that’s a discussion I’m willing to have. If you think the Rangers needed to show the Flyers that the likes of Fedoruk and Derian Hatcher can’t just elbow Jaromir Jagr at will, guess what? I think you’re right.

My problem is with those fans who think that even if the Rangers lost last night, the game was still a success by the fact that Fedoruk left the ice on a stretcher. My problem is with people who think that the Rangers sent a message last night, and it had nothing to do with the fact that they won 5-0 and are within a point of sixth place.

Again, we’re talking about context. There are members of the media who feel strongly about the need to do away with fighting in hockey. I’m not quite there yet. I think intimidation goes a long way in this game, and having been knocked around the ice more than few times, I don’t question how that factors into a team’s effectiveness.

But there are people who think fighting is paramount in this sport. And those are invariably the people you come across in late night men’s games, and who can’t skate worth a lick…

Meanwhile, one update:

  • Martin Straka skated today and is expected to play Saturday in Boston. It’s likely you’ll see him back with his old linemates Michael Nylander and Jaromir Jagr, thus ending the glorious reign of Brad Isbister on the first line.

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    96 Comments

    1. SaratogaRanger on

      Well said, Sam. I agree with you that fighting is part of the intimidation factor of the sport “you mess with the skill guys, you’re gonna get thumped!” Hard hitting, physical, up and down games are what makes the NHL great. Fights for fights sake, that’s just amateur boxing on skates: boring and pointless.

    2. Sam nobody is doing a Rodney Dangerfield’ I went to a boxing match, and a hockey game broke out’.

    3. Ranger revenge on

      congrats, softie. you now sound just like hockey haters Mike and Mad dog, who are on right now with non-hockey fans bashing hockey.

      you media flunky numbskulls are all alike. hockey bashers through and through.

      it is the height of cluelessness for 2 guys who actually play hockey, Weinman and Giannone, to decry fighting like little girly-men.

    4. Fighting for protection = good
      Last night was Fighting For Protection.

      Isbister should not play Saturday. If Callahan is taken out of the lineup for him, I’ll be greatly annoyed. If Orr is taken out, that may be ok, but I think Orr is playing his roll as a defensive minded 4th liner well. Coupled with the fact that teams will now be more intimidated by him than ever should help when he is out there.

    5. As we all know the season and the post season are a grind. Players get banged up so we will need depth. Health should play a big part in who should play. As much as I like Straka I think he should still sit Saturday between his shoulder and knee and the fact that they also play Sunday.

      I think there is getting to be a much better chance that we will get Pitt in the 1st rd. They are catching the Devs who are pretty banged up. TB will be hard to catch with all their home games remaining.

      Sam – you rock! (Not as much as Henrik but you still rock).
      You totally understand all aspects of the game being that you play. Yet you never come across as “I know it all”. We are very lucky to have you on this blog.

    6. Zac Nicholson on

      I agree with most of what Sam is saying here. However, I do feel that the message the Rangers sent last night had more importance in it than just saying “hey, we are knocking on the doorstep of sixth place with an impressive route of a last place team.” The message sent in the Orr fight is going to benefit Jagr immensely in my opinion. He has been the punching bag of our main opponents, Islanders and Devils mainly. It is very unfortunate that the fight ended the way it did, but I would still rather watch Fedoruk be taken off in a stretcher than Jagr because no one had shown that the rangers will retaliate when team’s cheap shot him. That Fedoruk now seems to be okay, relatively, the knock out punch might not be the best thing for hockey but it is definitely helpful for the Rangers chances in their run towards the PO.

    7. Insofar as fighting and the removal of it and several members of the media advocating its demise:

      These guys know the risks, and picked this line of work. Just like NASCAR drivers know the risks of a Dale Earnhardt crash every time they get into their cars, or football linemen know that they could end up not being able to walk because of the damage to their knees every snap, this is a possible danger of being a tough guy in the NHL. These guys gladly take the risk, get paid a solid salary and are respected by their peers and encouraged by their fans.

      Personally, if I wanted to watch no contact hockey, I would watch the women play. But, judging by the popularity of that sport, no one wants to see that.

    8. i just hope callahan isn’t gone to make room for isbister. i dont think renney would do something that dumb. the shamrock line looked great the other night.

    9. Here’s my solution:

      I’ve really been excited about the Ranger play of late. Actually it was like rooting for two different Ranger teams for the season.

      Gone are the two Ward’s, Ozolinish, Kasper and Hall. added are Avery, Girardi, Callahan, Pock and Strudwick. The changes have made the Rangers quite a different team, definitely for the better.

      Only thing I don’t like is Strudwick in place of Liffton. Liffton add a brand of toughness that is equal to Orr. If Orr would have had a third fight last night, he would have been automatically out of the game. If that happened, their one enforcer would not have been in there to look after our guys, that’s why a Liffton is important. He’s just as good as Strudwick with the added ability to handle himself. In Strudwick’s defense he was always willing to drop the gloves but lost more fights than he won.

      As far as injured players, whoever comes back first up front, Straka or Shanahan, should knock the useless Isbister out of there. Just loved Rosen’s shilling for Isbister saying he’s not scoring but his size definitely helps the line. Rosen’s credibility just keeps taking hit after hit.

      When the second guy comes back, I suggest rotating the following players on the 4th line, Hollweg, Ortmeyer, Betts and Orr. If the Rangers play a big hitting team like the Flyers, Ortmeyer should be out. OTOH, if it’s a speedy team like Buffalo, Orr should be out. Hollweg can center some games giving Betts a night off. The 4th line hits the most so a day off using this rotating system would be welcomed.

      On defense, first guy to come back, Ruchunek or Tyutin, should replace Strudwick, second guy replaces Pock, although I’d prefer it to be Malik. Mara and Ruchunek have played well together the limited time they have been together. Hopefully they can find that magic again.

    10. 1. Anyone who thinks hockey would lose a single fan if they eliminated fighting is dead wrong. Nobody cares if there are no fights in a given game. Whoever you lost as fans (should be watching WWF anyway), you would definitely gain alot more fans over time.

      2. A fight like last night’s becomes necessary because the referees won’t pull out their whistles when guys like Jagr get run. They replayed Fedoruk’s hit from 2/17 on Jagr over and over again. That should have been called. If the refs are going to call those and eventually suspend the offending players, then fighting is necessary.

      3. Does this sport absolutely need an element of physical intimidation that can trump skill? I’m not sure. There is in fact a certain physical element to the game. How far does that have to go? Should teams not be allowed to be like Philly was 30 years ago, where they make up for what they lack in skill through physical assault? These are good questions. Clearly the league is having problems deciding where to set limits – there are an alaming number of head injuries this year that exhibit a flagrant disregard for other players, and the news is becoming plastered with this stuff more and more. It’s not good for the sport’s image. If you want to argue that it’s a niche sport anyway, fine. But the NHL isn’t doing itself any favors by allowing the thuggery to continue like this.

      For what its worth, I completely understand what went down last night, and am on board with it. If the league won’t do anything, the players have to.

    11. Ranger revenge on

      that is why Renney was not the least bit apologetic after the game, as might be expected for a softie like him.

      because he knows that if the Rangers listen to the media crybabies, and go back to the soft euro hockey they were playing until Avery got here, that their play will start to revert to the crappy, inconsistent 10th place fan frustration garbage that was prevalent for most of the season.

      if things now go south, blame the media crybabies.

    12. I think anybody who is bashing hockey fighting is pathetic….Take it out of the game ..but somewhere down the line there will be an incident where some one may go simon / mcsorley on someone…If you dont like it then watch some other sport…God damn annoying is what it is. Give it a rest already. Fedoruk didnt start the game, John Stevens sent him out because the 4th line was out, and now bcause of that he got his ass knocked out. To bad, i swear to everything..before the game i was hoping that Orr would knock him out, and outta no where..boom hes on the ice..Fedoruk elbowed Jagr, triped prucha, roughed up ortmeyer, and was throwing dirty its all over the ice, he got what was coming to him, and if Orr played the last game then i think that game woulda been different, even renney knew he made that mistake…Im a big fan of Orr i watched him since he was in college, with the B’s and now NYr, and his game is way better with NYR ..if he is made out to be the bad guy here. then thats ridiculous cause fedoruk is one of the toughest guys in the league, so before anyone labels Orr as the bad guy then think about that..

      You cant take this out of the game, it has been going on forever and you cant just suddenly take it out. So everyone needs to stop crying about it, and shut up. If you dnot like it then stick with Lacrosse or some other sport. Because obviously this game is sure as shit not for you……

    13. SAM, …”My problem is with those fans who think that even if the Rangers lost last night, the game was still a success by the fact that Fedoruk left the ice in a stretcher. My problem is with people who think that the Rangers sent a message last night, and it had nothing to do with the fact that they won 5-0 and are within a point of sixth place. ” So yeah winning & the 2 points come 1st, but taking care of Feb 17 had importance too. And it will have an effect for awhile on this team. Respect can go along way too. How about taking on Gallo & others in the media who can’t wait to belittle hockey ,instead of some fans you disagree with? Or are you agreeing with Gallo?

    14. Ranger revenge on

      “1. Anyone who thinks hockey would lose a single fan if they eliminated fighting is dead wrong. Nobody cares if there are no fights in a given game. Whoever you lost as fans (should be watching WWF anyway), you would definitely gain alot more fans over time.”

      that is the biggest load of crap. you just watch how many fans leave. they informally surveyed the fans in Detroit, and asked them why they are not going to the games as much any more, even though the team is still a topnotch winning team, and the thing they all said was that they don’t like the soft euro style of play, the circling with no hitting, and the lack of enforcers like Kocur, McCarty, and Probert.

      and do you know who appreciates those tough guys the most? the star players, that’s who. because they know that it gives them more room to operate. Gretzky has said so. he had Dave Semenko on his line, for cripe sake. was he there beause of his great scoring ability? no, he was there to protect Gretzky and Kurri.

    15. bklynblue —

      I don’t know what Gallo wrote, but let me ask you: why would I want to belittle a sport that a) I’ve played my entire life; b) that I am now tied into professionally.

      It’s the exact reason why I hated the Simon incident, because I knew it’s the very sort of event that feeds into all the negative strereotypes surrounding the game.

      Trust me, there may be exceptions, but you don’t cover hockey because you want a fast track to superstardom. It’s a niche sport where all of us are begging our editors for more space and more coverage. I do it, and a lot of other guys do it, because we love the game.

      That shouldn’t prevent us from calling it like we see it. But that’s still the truth.

      Sam

    16. Ranger revenge on

      there is a good subject for your poll, Sam.

      ask the fans here if they want fighting COMPLETELY banned, and would they like hockey as much as they do now?

      If all they had to watch was Nylander circling and Isbister holding the puck facing the boards, I guarantee fans would go home early and often.

    17. Reading Sam’s comments – I don’t think he is bashing fighting. He is lammenting a guy getting knocked out and some people dancing on his grave if you will. Look noone here likes Fedoruk and what he did on feb 17th. He did in many ways have it coming to him. Orr stood up for his teammates in a huge way and I am glad he took down Fedoruk. It had a big role in the rest of the game and decreased significantly the amt of cheap shots that our guys were then subjected to. The most important part is we won and got the 2 points. That still does not mean that I am happy that the guy was knocked out cold.

      I don’t think you can compare Sam W’s reaction to Sam Rosen (who I’ve lost a lot of respect for since JD left) or others. Sam W deserves better treatment from some of you.

    18. Ranger revenge on

      no he doesn’t. he sounds exactly like hockey hater mad dog Russo, who is on right now saying the same things that Sam W. said last night before he edited it after some negative reaction.

    19. Ranger Revenge – well I did not get home until after 1 last night so I did not see the original writeup. But reading Sam’s blog and articles this yr he is

      1) a tremendous fan of the game who still plays it
      2) as even tempered, fair and considerate as they come.
      3) does not have the ego of clowns like Maddog Russo or his buddy Mike F.

      As John M signs off with. In my opinion of course!

    20. Sam,

      I’m going to have to STRONGLY disagree with you and gianone on this one. And you have to look no further than to ask the players you interview everyday. In fact the rangers DID send a message to the flyers and to the rest of the league last night before they ever scored that goal. of course we know the 2 points were important, however letting everyone know that the new york rangers are not going to let you take cheap shots (which fedoruk did REPEATEDLY IN THE GAME PREVIOUS) anymore. Let me tell you right now if you and the rest of the media get their way and fighting is gone you will see more and more of the simon incidents that you also cry about in the papers for days each year. Todd Fedoruk took a leaping elbow run at jagr last month without colton orr in the lineup. how often do you think you’ll see that without guys like orr and laraque around to protect guys like crosby and jagr. If you can’t step to a guy like men gloves off and throw down for your team you are going to turn this league into a haven for guys like ruutu and fedoruk and you can do nothing about their antics other than take a baseball swing at their heads. I know you play beer league hockey and a little highschool hockey great but you and the rest of the media do not know what it is like on the ice at a REAL intense level. With all due respect before you come out writing articles about how fighting is bad in hockey try and understand why it is there in the first place. AND YOU CAN BET YOUR ASS that bettman does not agree with you as much as some of you think he wants it gone he understands that his investments need to be taken care of. the day sid crosby goes down with a concussion because some meat head like cam or todd fedoruk through a high elbow from behind because they knew they could get away with it will be a bad bad day in the nhl and bettman and more importantly the OWNERS (think about dolan’s remarks about the orr/jagr/philly incident) will never allow their investments to be free game.

    21. Since Sam is 15 years younger than I am, he didn’t have to live through the Broad Street Bully days. I live in Delaware, and am surrounded by Flyer fans. I used to get beat up in school because I liked the Rangers. If what happened last night had happened to a player on any other team, I would have had some sympathy. However, the Flyers and their fans have prided themselves for over 30 years in the fact that they play a physical game, first and foremost.
      I just wish I could have seen Dave Schultz or Bob Kelly laid out cold!

    22. czechthemout!!!!! on

      i just turned off mike fat ass and the dk head.these two hockey bashers/baseball lovers never miss a chance to bash this sport.but they always fail to explain to sports fans why they constantly give a free pass to a sport where plyers exact revenge in a premeditated manner by taking what in essence is a large rock and hurl it at 95–100mph at an opposing players head becuase he just happened to have hit a home run.they say that the nhl needs to condone fighting to sell tickets.an amazing comment considering that the nhl plays @about 95plus percent capaciy and baseball attendance is at about 65percent.they say hockey ratings stink,wich to some extent is true.but considering that the anti-hockey bias that exhists in the us,hockey still does ok.can it do better?yes,with a more creative marketing campaign that should be run by pros as opposed to the league doing it.they fail to mention that in the 1990’s, cbs sports lost 3billion dollars covering baseball.in fact they bought out of their contract with mlb.it took the players using steroids/hgh with ownership’s
      wink wink to bring baseball back.and yet ratings for the sport have been droping for 20 years!!!!.when you consider the puff press the so called sport gets,that is quite amazing.

    23. Further proof that maybe I am not a very good writer since my point apparently didn’t come across:

      Exactly at what point in my post did I ever say anything about me wanting to ban fighting?

      Never. And what exactly do you take from this line?

      “If you think the Rangers needed to show the Flyers that the likes of and Derian Hatcher can’t just elbow Jaromir Jagr at will, guess what? I think you’re right.”

      Or this line:

      “There are members of the media who feel strongly about the need to do away with fighting in hockey. I’m not quite there yet.”

      Look, I don’t care if people agree with me or not. What I care about is when I try to make a point and people still don’t understand what I’m trying to say. Again, I’m the writer here, so the burden falls with me.

    24. I was at the game last night, and while fans did cheer the punch, they did applaud not once, but twice for Feroruk. There are always going to be fools, but real hockey fans know what went down with it and why, and they reacted properly. You can’t please everyone.

    25. as a hockey fan all my life I would rather keep it for those who enjoy it rather than try to mass mkt the game. One of the biggest mistakes the league made was the over expansion in the 90’s. There s/b no more than 24 teams which would lessen the need for “players” like Fedoruk. I would watch the Oilers of the 80’s over the Flyers of the 70’s any day.

      BUT the passion of the game especially during the playoffs can not be compared to any other sport. What these players play through is not to be believed. So what if only a few of us appreciate it – we are the lucky ones.

      I think also what Sam is saying is that he appreciates the game, the players that play it, and the skill they play it with. To the degree that “players” like Fedoruk take away from the game he decries that. AND to the degree that players like Orr take the effects of players like Fedoruk out of the game he applauds that (just not the fact that the guy was knocked out cold). He also does not like things that bring negative publicity to the game we all love.

    26. Ranger revenge on

      “There are members of the media who feel strongly about the need to do away with fighting in hockey. I’m not quite there yet.”

      NOT QUITE, YET.

      you are a hell of a lot closer to Mad dog Russo than the hockey fans you write for, I’ll tell you that.

    27. Doodie Machetto on

      First, a couple of quick things:

      In continuing my efforts to eliminate the continentism that frequents hockey:

      “soft euro hockey”
      Olli Jokinen.

      Second, I love how everyone is on Avery’s jock right now, but when the trade was first made, there were one, MAYBE two people who weren’t claiming it was a complete blunder and selling away the future for a 4th liner. Not one of the usual management bashers liked it, and now Avery is their favorite player. So you’ve all got some crow to eat.

      Thrd, there wouldn’t be any discussion about fighting right now if it wasn’t for the fact that Orr got a KO. If he dropped Fedoruk in the same fashion, but Fedorek didn’t go unconscious, not a single new reporter would’ve thought twice about it. If you get into a fight, you’ve got to understand the possibility of getting KO’d.

      Fourth, there was definitely a message sent by the fight to the other teams in the NHL, but that wasn’t the original purpose. The purpose was Stevens protecting his guys from what he thought would be the HBO guys paying the Flyers back for their last meeting. The message was sent to the rest of the league when Fedoruk fell like a sack of potatoes. If Fedoruk had KO’d Orr, it would’ve sent a different message: this team can be beat up. If Orr just won the fight without the KO, it wouldn’t have really sent a message to anyone except the Flyers. The message that the Rangers actually INTENDED to send, and in fact, did send, was that they are a very dangerous hockey team right now, evidenced by their 5-0 win.

      Fifth, all of you who think that Sam is attacking fighting need to learn how to read. He LIKES fighting. What he doesn’t like are the guys who think the fighting is more important than the game. I *LOVE* fighting, both in the NHL and not in the NHL(especially Boxing). But if we lost that game, I wouldn’t have given two shits if Orr KO’d half of the Flyers bench!

      Sixth, some of you sound like you’ve never played a day of ice hockey in your entire lives. For you, I say, it’s a nice day out. get your plastic Franklin stick and your Mylec foam pads and go out and play in the street while it’s still daylight.

      And Finally, fighting should NEVER be banned from the NHL.

    28. tone of the post sam again like you said you are the writer and we are just the fans you also have to consider that as part of the media you will be boxed into “the media” more often than not, but to have a problem with ranger fans leaving that game with the idea of MESSAGE SENT is frowning upon the fans that actually understand why that particular fight took place. No one wanted fedoruk to die last night but they did want him to wake up with a headache and a valuable lesson and he did. in fact i wanted you to go to your editors and have your headline for today’s article be MESSAGE SENT. due to the fight and the score. hockey is what it is.

    29. Avery Blasts Brodeur on

      These fighters know that there is a chance they can get hurt. Every time you play you can get hurt. It was a good punch that landed on the right spot. NFL guys get knocked out by hits all the time, you dont hear them wanting to abolish hitting. Hitting and fighting are a part of hockey that should never be taken away. It serves more good than bad.

      I agree with Peter about the hits refs shoudl call, bt fighting should stay.

    30. I had no problem with what took place last night in any form. Fedoruk’s not sertiously hurt? Good for him. He’s just a sympton of a diseased organization that has long made a mockery of the idea of intimidation. Live by the sword… For a franchise that prided itself on being bullies, and a fanbase that is swamp-filled with violence-obsessed minions who don’t care if the Flyers win, as long as they played tough, (I spent years hearing that crap in the 90’s on WIP), and a franchise that gave the likes of Dave Schultz and a coward like Bobby Clarke plaudits, I have NO REMORSE. For 59:39, Jaromir Jagr didn’t have to worry about a cheap elbow to the head from Todd Fedoruk. Enough said.

    31. Doodie – fair point re Avery. I was against the trade when it went down and totally appreciate Avery now. Shows I don’t know it all.

      As long as Cliche does not become a superstar it was a really good trade.

    32. Sam,

      RIght on.. You can take or leave fighting as part of the game like myself but you know it is a neccessary evil to keep the game and stars safe…

      Your point in not taking pleasure in Fedoruks demise shows empathy and class.. Do I think Fedoruk had it coming(whatever that means) probably and Orr’s right hand reminded the Flyers that the Rangers can dish it out also if required so let’s just play a clean game..

      Guys let it rest , fighting within reason is part of the game and actually reduces other injuries from occuring…

    33. They should ban fighting and allow the players to beat each other with their sticks, and slice each other with their blades.

      Hockey is unique, in that it is the only physical sport, in which you carry an item, that can effectively be used as a lethal weapon.

      Fighting can never be banned, it will still exist. Even if they “banned” it, it would still happen sometimes.

      Baseball and basketball have more bench clearing brawls in one year, than the NHL has had in the last 10.

      Boxers get knocked out all the time like Fedoruk did, so we should ban boxing too? What about all those UFC and copy cat fighting games around? They are far more vicious than the one hockey fight you see every 5-10 games.

      Call me old fashioned, but IMO if you take fighting out of hockey, you only increase the cheap shots that give the sport a bad name.

    34. i am gonna go out on a limb and say sam probably doesn’t LOVE fighting in fact im not a huge fan of it at all. IMO i much rather have a guy like dawes or dubinsky in the lineup over orr however it is obvious that it is NEEDED in the game. without guys like orr to protect guys like jagr this game will be awful to watch.

    35. czechthemout!!!!! on

      when they eliminate the brush back pitch from baseball,i will then call for the elimimation of fighting in hockey.

    36. doodie, the great Bettman defender, the great Renney defender, the guy who resisted the kids being brought up, the guy who says Parise is a no talent.

      no one should pay any attention to you.

      ollie jokinen? hahahahahahahahaha

      joke is right.

    37. SAM I appreciate your honesty, but hockey needs defending rather than talking about what’s wrong with it or how some fans feel. It needs more respect ala Rodney. Most in the media write or show the negative.The fighting issue is not understood. … Keep up the good work. Maybe should try for yourself audio & /or video;)

    38. Kovy,

      at NO point is Sam saying it shouldn’t be in the game…that’s what i guess i’m missing?!….he’s saying the message was sent, but (and correct me if i’m wrong Sam) the message that was sent is that they won’t allow cheap shots, but that following up with a 5-0 victory is the most important thing because it set the tone that no crap would be taken….that’s it!…i don’t think at any point Sam said he hates fighting, dislikes it, or it has no part in the game….i agree with him (Sam), fighting while EXTREMELY important IMO, should not be an end all…the most important thing is that the fight was needed, but not shoud not be looked at as a victory if we were to lose 4-0…NOTHING good would have come of it other than to say Orr handed Fedoruk his butt…but now we can say, “Fedoruk got his butt handed to him for what he did to JJ, but then we went out and shoved it down their throats even more”

      AZ

    39. when 2 guys start to go, the crowd stands up, they roar, they love it. and if the linesmen step in before they can go, and prevent the fight, the fans boo and are disappointed.

      so anyone who says that they would lose no fans if fighting was banned is ignorant.

    40. win or lose the message had to be that we weren’t gonna be pushed around anymore. the flyers specifically came into our building a few weeks ago with the intent to injure. they didn’t care about penalties nothing. fedoruk and the rest of them were head hunting hitting from behind trying to hurt our players and scare us. and you know what for the most part that’s been their plan for DECADES. AND IT WORKS THEY WIN BECAUSE OF IT. no the rangers had to make sure that the flyers knew this was not gonna happen again. sure no one wanted fedoruk to die but i KNOW FOR A FACT that it sent the tone for the rest of the game. and what do you know WE HAD THE EASIEST WIN AGAINST THE FLYERS IN ALL THE YEARS IVE SEEN US PLAY THEM

    41. joe its human nature the crowd goes NUTS for a good blood bath its been that way since the romans were feeding christians to the lions in ROME. anyone who thinks that doing away with fighting in hockey would ATTRACT MORE fans has never been to a hockey game.

    42. Sam, I enjoyed your post and I’ve enjoyed reading the responses to it. I understand your points, and I’m inclined to agree with you. I especially liked the line about the late-night mens leagues =). It’s so very true.

      I don’t understand though why so many people on here feel the need to intentionally misconstrue your words and belittle you with name-calling. It’s totally puerile, borderline comical and absolutely unwarranted.

      I have been reading your blog since its inception, and I enjoy the hell out of it. You’re a talented writer and I appreciate your commitment to the Rangers and to the loyal readers of this blog. Don’t pin the “lack of understanding” on your writing skill; there are some shmucks here who are just looking for a fight, shielded by the anonymity of the internet.

      Keep up the good work Sam.

    43. czechthemout!!!!! on

      ok i have had enough of this crap converstion.we are falling into a trap all the anti hockey jerks set time and time again.lets talk instead about something that is more entertaining.and taht s who do you guys think should be the mvp of this team other than the king.my vote is for avery.

    44. kovy,

      you’re right man…it HAD to be done…and i think Sam even eluded that he thought it HAD to be done….i was at that game in Feb. and saw that crap going on and i was going NUTS!….the message was sent, and the tone was sent…and that helped us establish a good feeling in the game that we could win…no doubt….all i think Sam is saying is that while the message has gotten across, now the Rangers have to go out and back it up by winning the game…that should ALWAYS be most important…and by Orr doing what it did, it allowed them to do that because it showed the Rangers weren’t going to deal with being run at all night…that’s granted…again, what i think Sam is saying is that it should happen and the intimidation factor has to be set, BUT for it to be looked at as the end all and most important thing going on, on the ice, is wrong…it’s important, EXTREMELY important….BUT….the thing that’s most gratifying for me with that fight, was that we went out and scored 5 to prove what that fight did for us….if we had lost, the fight would have been nice, but i know that from a personal standpoint, i’d be complaining more about the fact that i’m looking at my team losing to the Phantoms and sitting 1 pt ahead of the competition in 8th place instead of in 7th and 3 points ahead of the competition…the fight MIGHT be a conselation…

      AZ

    45. Doodie Machetto on

      Joe. Obviously, you’ve never really seen Jokinen play. Hardly soft.

      Also, I don’t defend Renney. I said at the beginning of the season he should be given a chance based on his performance last season. He didn’t do a good job, and I went right along calling for his job as others. That’s right, I defend Bettman. That’s because if you understood his actual job, you would realize that he’s just a face on top of 30 others. If you’ve got a problem with something the league does, its because of the 30 guys that run it, not Bettman. He’s just their collective lawyer.

      As for Parise, you’ve got me a bit there. But I also think this is a fluke year for him. Numbers for him will not go up next season.

    46. Mike and the Rabid Dog can continue to bash hockey and fighting. It is a disgrace that they even talk about hockey as they have no clue about the game and really don’t seem to care. they say”theres no fighting allowed in any other sports, so hockey is not as good” Maybe if they watched a little hockey, they would understand the game better. They NEVER talk hockey unless something happens where they can go bashing it.

      In my opinion, fighting is necessary in hockey. This is because hockey, unlike all other sports, You have a deadly wepon in your hands at all times. Fighting nearly, with some exceptions eliminates all stick fouls similar to the Simon play. Typically if you dont like something a player does to you, you ask if they want to drop the gloves and settle it that way. If there was no fighting, I feel that there would be more Simon sticks to the head. And those plays would hurt people seriously a lot more often than the fight because knock outs like last nights are EXTREMELY rare. That is my opinion on why the fight is vital to hockey.

    47. czechthemout!!!!! on

      it really does not matter any more to me what mike fat ass and the dk head say about hockey because they are clueless about it anyway.

    48. it was the first time the Rangers have shut out the Flyers in MSG since 1981, Steve Baker, and that was a 0-0 tie.

      so, it has been more than a quarter century since the Rangers had such a great win over the Flyers in MSG, and so anyone who does not like the way it was accomplished, go play chess with your elitist comrades.

    49. let me ask you az ( i can do this because i know the guy well so no one take this as me trying to bust his balls) but if the rangers won that game 10-0 but in the second period fedoruk nailed avery with a blatant dirty hit like he threw at jagr last game and avery is done for the year with a concussion, would you think the 2 points really mattered that much in the grand scheme of things and to a lesser degree to our playoff chances? that fight was the most important part of last nights game.

    50. Doodie Machetto on

      The reason why fighting is necessary is because its the only contact sport where your star players are there in the open to be hit, in situations where they are vulnerable, without any other protection but their pads. Basketball has no contact. Baseball has no contact(unless someone hits you with a pitch, then the guy rishes the mound. Funny those baseball lovers forget those bench clearing brawls.). Football has contact, but the only vulnerable players are a QB and a kicker. You can’t hit the kicker. And the QB has 5 or 6 guys in front of him whose sole purpose is to make sure he doesn’t get hit. So even if he does get hit, there was a chance to protect him already. But in hockey, the only protection you can get for cheap shots is a fight.

    51. dude, i am NOT disagreeing that the fight was important…

      and i KNOW that the fight prevented anything like you say from actually happening…THE FIGHT HAS TO HAPPEN LAST NIGHT!…him being carried off on a stretcher, no….

      i would NEVER want that for Avery or anyone else for that matter….the fight prevents that, it has to happen and that’s that…but with Orr in the lineup, it’s not happening anyways IMO….

      so we’re going back and forth, but the TRUE big picture is that if i have any complaints it’s that last night only made me MORE pissed off that Orr wasn’t dressed in February…

      AZ

    52. czechthemout!!!!! on

      last night was flyers hockey.they play this crap year after year.finally some one beat their ass at their own game.anyone who can’t bare to watch what happend last night need only not watch hockey anymore.

    53. Nick Kypreos was knocked cold in a very similar way in a fight at MSG in a pre-season game many years ago, and he was playing for the Rangers at the time. but NOBODY was calling for any end to fighting because of that incident.

      isn’t it interesting that if the Rangers are the perpetrators for once instead of the victims, then all of a sudden the media softies come crying for “poor” Fedoruk, who got the other end of the sword he has been living by.

    54. czechthemout!!!!! on

      the flyers have called up riley cote.who is another goon.they are gearing up for 3/31/2007.why would a team with one goon already in the lineup in eager,bring up this garbage instead of a young prospect with some promise?because that is what the flyers do.they goon it up evry year.and they have been doing this for 40 years.it will be intersting to see how things go down on that date.

    55. czechthemout!!!!! on

      i want to see lifiton called up for that game.maybe even byers.they are going to be needed.i would even sit prucha in that game because he is an easy target for the goons of the flyers.sratch pock and prucha,put in byers and lifiton and let’s see if the flyes wan’t to goon it up.

    56. re mvp – sorry but it IS henrik and it would be impossible without him

      after that it is a really hard choice. Avery is not a bad choice despite him being here a short while. I would prob vote Shanny (and I know people can say how we played w/o him as a case against him). I really hope Shanny is on the team next yr.

      I’m not just worried about filling out 6 spots and saying the 3rd and 4th lines to be filled with pure grinders. I would rather have a team close to what we have now where 3 lines do their share of scoring, and the 4th line does its job as well. Injuries do happen so depth matters. Despite his 2 concussions if we add Drury to the mix next yr we can be scary good as long as we keep people like Callahan, Prucha in the mix.

    57. I actually enjoy the fighting, but disagree with those who say that it is an integral component of hockey. It’s banned at the college level as well as in all youth and amateur hockey leagues, so the game can survive being fight-free.

      The difference is that getting rid of fighting tends to increase the stickwork and such. And since the NHL refuses to crack down on that (see Hatcher’s elbow on Jagr), I’d rather see Orr and others be able to accomplish what the referees refuse to do.

    58. I hate the Flyers and the way they play. AND they play this way even when they are way out of the race. Disgraceful.

    59. nevermind a fan poll. go right to the source, Sam.

      ask the PLAYERS if they want fighting banned. ask them if fighting protects star players. ask them why they stand up and cheer when their teammate is in a fight.

      the media does not want to confront the truth. because I dare predict that even the softie euros will say that they see the need for enforcers and that it protects them, because I believe they are too gutless to protect themselves.

    60. Also, why doesn’t “the media” focus on John Stevens for sending Fedoruk out to counter (i.e. challenge) Orr? Stevens is the one who put his player in that situation.

    61. Sam,

      Stop feeling the need to defend yourself. It’s your Blog, and your statement was entirely clear. If some idiots want to put words into your mouth and lump you in with the rest of “the media,” nothing you say will change their minds. It takes at least two people with double-digit IQs to have a legitimate discussion about something, and I think you’re the only one satisfying that requirement when you’re responding to some of the idiotic posts on this Blog.

    62. Joe –

      Of course the players don’t want fighting banned, because it’s their only recourse when the NHL doesn’t protect the skilled players.

      Instead, the NHL lauds guys like Scott Stevens for his hard hits that were really just well disguised elbows to the head. That’s why fighting needs to stay.

    63. Doodie Machetto on

      “the softie euros”

      Bobby Holik(I may have said him already. In that case, Jiri Slegr)

    64. F*** the Flyers! Once a goon organization, always a goon organization. The old mentality still exists within that franchise, but at least they havn’e won a Cup since 1975. The old Broad Street Bullies were a disgrace to the game, and prompted significant rule changes. With the dominance of the greatest skill team ever, the 1980’s Oilers, we were able to see how hockey could be played. Did Philadelphia changes it’s philosphy? No! They have always attempted to win by intimidation instead of skill, and I guess they always will. At least now they can’t empty their bench and attack the best players to the degree they were able to in the 1970’s. Seeing that stinking team at the bottom of the league standings is the best part about this season, except for the Ranger’s drive to the playoffs!

    65. Sam,

      After reading all of these posts and rereading your original post, I can say that I understand your opinion on the subject (which I share). I also have to say that I’m surprised by the level of misplaced machismo expressed by some participants who have completely missed the point you were making. I also suspect that some of these same people share the mindset of “certain” players that we both seem to have encountered in our late night “beer” league games. I’ve played hockey and been a Ranger fan virtually my entire life. I’ve even been in a few dust-ups on the ice. The problem for me is that while I accept the “necessity” of allowing fighting in the NHL, I can’t come up with a straight-forward easily understood explanation as to why. I’m the parent of young children and I’m trying to share my love of hockey and the Rangers with them. While watching Ranger games, they’ve asked why the players are fighting and why the fans are cheering. To date, all I’ve been able to do is stammer and change the station. Does anyone have advice on a response that won’t give them license to go out on the playground and punch out their playmates?

    66. let’s not forget who really was behind last night’s fighting. Junior Dolan. he made it very clear in a shouting match at Renney and Sather after the game a month ago where the Rangers got run out of the building and gooned by the Flyers while Renney did not even dress Orr.

      Dolan made it clear to renney that his job was in jeopardy if he did not fight back. so softie Renney had to change as a CYA for his job.

    67. Make that triple-digit (I’ll give some of you credit for having at least double-digit IQs).

    68. screw you, DVF, you elitist snob.

      that is usually the last refuge of a scoundrel, acting like you are better than those peasants you disagree with.

      yes, massah, you know best. it’s your plantation.

    69. Its amazing, I was hoping Mike and the mad Dog would open up the show complementing on the Rangers great game, Shannahan’s return, the defense, Avery. They focused on the stupid fight!

    70. Big Hockey Fan!!! on

      ha! I love how it all comes back to the “Euros”.

      The issue is this. The NHL on some level sells violence or at least the possibility of it. Whether it be a fight or a hit or whatever. So, is there a point too many guys are getting concussed or taken off the ice on stretchers etc.? Where there’s no choice to have rules changes because too many guys are going for brain scans? I don’t know. It hasn’t happened yet. For example the league essentially sanctions head shots and late hits probably because they fear less hitting and potentially a loss of fans. I don’t think anyone can really say a big fat shoulder pad to the head is a good thing, even NHL office morons. But somehow they remain in the game despite all the injuries and what common sense tells you.

      Same for fighting. Some people like it, or at least the prospect of a good fight. So, it’s there for them, even if most fights suck and serve little to no purpose except for making me miss my train home. 2 guys dropping their gloves off a draw for no reason should get game misconducts, for wasting every ones time if nothing else.

      There’s also the reality the NHL is probably destined to be on the fringe anyhow, so why make major changes that would possibly alienate some current fans to appeal to others that probably don’t exist anyway.

    71. czechthemout!!!!! on

      Big Hockey Fan!!!
      when you generate more than 2.4billion in revenue you are anything but a fringe sport.thats only about 400million less than the nba.they have a great tv contract.without that te nba does less buisness than the nhl.

    72. Just what I want to say:

      Fedoruk got what he deserved and worked hard for, bumping Jagr in previous game, Orr did a great job and nobody wanted to see Fedoruk on the stretcher. That happens. You cannot blame nobody for that incident, it’s a hockey game – remember that.

      Now, if Renney sits Callahan or Orr that would be big mistake and we probably start losing again. With Orr in the lineup they feel stronger and believe me or not – for me Colton is a better player than Isbister. And with current form Straka in no better than Callahan, so please do not dismantle machine that works well.

    73. Mike and the Mad Dog have spoken.

      FIGHTING MUST BE BANNED

      when hockey experts like Stanley and Ollie say so, all fans must fall into line.

      the only award that means anything now is the Lady Byng trophy.

      will the last fan please turn out the lights.

    74. czechthemout!!!!! on

      Marc
      they would rather focus on how many times arod srathec his b—-ls before he teps up to the plate to hit.or horse racing!!!!who cares what those fools say.they don’t know anything about football either.their expertise is focused on baseball and the 150 or so fans who call them regularly to talk about over anfd over again.

    75. so the nhl promotes violence shame on them. they are nothing like the NFL who um PROMOTES VIOLENCE. MORE GUYS GET WHEELED OFF ON STRETCHERS AND KARTS IN THE NFL IN ONE WEEK THEN IN AN ENTIRE NHL SEASON. ITS PART OF THE GAME IN FOOTBALL AND ITS PART OF THE GAME IN HOCKEY WHY CAN”T SOME OF YOU SEE THAT

    76. yeah, Joe Theismann with his broken leg bone sticking out, Darryl Stingley paralyzed for life as thug Jack Tatum stands menacingly taunting him, and the NFL crowd roars their approval of a “punishing hit”

    77. The only way you get fighting out of the game is first to get rid of the guys who are only there to punch, like Bradshear, and then throwing guys out of the game who fight. Instead of a 5-minute, they get the game. Only then will teams stay away from the goons and players will think twice before they commit to fighting.

      But is this the direction for the game? Can we live with watching Olympic style hockey?

    78. Big Hockey Fan!!! on

      Who said shame on them? That’s your hockey fan inferiority complex bud. I wasn’t even really taking a side you capitalizer you.

    79. If anyone interested in Hartford situation, here is summary from today’s paper up north:

      Still Reasons For Pack To Stay

      March 22, 2007
      By BRUCE BERLET, Courant Staff Writer ROCKY HILL — The future Civic Center operator and the AHL want to keep the Wolf Pack in Hartford, but Madison Square Garden’s intentions were uncertain Wednesday.

      The Connecticut Development Authority’s decision to have a partnership of Lawrence R. Gottesdiener’s Northland Investment Corp. and AEG Worldwide assume the lease of the building from the city through its expiration in 2013 put the immediate future of pro hockey in Hartford in question.

      Sims Hinds, senior vice president of business development for AEG Facilities, said having the Rangers affiliate stay in Hartford is a priority. MSG Connecticut, which has run the Civic Center for 10 years, issued a statement saying it would evaluate the CDA’s recommendation and comment at the appropriate time. But MSG has often said its intention was to remain in Hartford.

      Goettesdiener’s comments to the CDA board during his presentation in February [was] that he didn’t have an interest in being affiliated with an NHL team in New York or Boston. The only NHL team not currently in a solo AHL affiliation is the Florida Panthers.

      AEG owns the Manchester Monarchs, one of the most successful AHL franchises on and off the ice in their six-year history in New Hampshire. AHL rules prohibit someone from owning more than one team, so to keep the status quo, AEG would operate the Civic Center with MSG owning the team.

      MSG and the Wolf Pack have territorial rights to Hartford, so if they don’t agree to that arrangement, they would have to make an affiliation swap or replace it with a team in the ECHL, which is at a lower level. The ECHL has a team in Reading, Pa., that is owned by AEG, but multi-team ownership is allowed in that league.

      If Goettesdiener wants to own an AHL team in Hartford, AEG would have to sell the Monarchs. His long-term goal is to get another NHL team in Hartford. AEG will operate the new Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., which will be the home of the New Jersey Devils starting next season.

    80. they put in the rule that instigated fights in the last 5 min. of a game results in a $10,000 fine for the coach. and now you don’t see fights at the end of lopsided games.

      there is no fighting in Europe, and they don’t draw flies to games.

      the WJC tournament, a great showcase for the prospects, and great hockey, draws sellout crowds in Canada and the USA. but this year in Sweden, it did not draw flies except when the host team was playing.

    81. Fat Mike and Maddog don’t know crap about hockey. Anybody paying attention to them, I got a bridge to sell you.

    82. I am completely against the elimination of fighting in hockey. However, to me anybody who calls themselves a fan of the game, but wouldn’t watch it without fighting, is no fan at all. I would be no less fanatical about the Rangers if fighting were removed. I am here for the hockey and the fighting is just another part of it.

    83. Anthony (Abev) on

      Sam,

      I think we are mostly on the same side of the fighting in hockey stuff. Me, I can take it or leave it. I think it has it’s place occasionally, but not mostly.

      BUT (here it comes), when it comes to a guy like Fedoruk who in this clip said he “needed to re-establish what Flyer hockey is all about”, which includes punching Joni Pitkanen in practice (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jmRttq5TT4I), I could care less what happens to him. Especially taking in to account what he did to Jagr and others last time.

      Fedoruk isn’t a victim here. He knew what he was attempting to do and everything was a even playing field. He just failed miserably.

    84. Anthony (Abev) on

      WWE- the $10K fine is not automatic. It is the discretion of Colin Campbell. See: Caps @ Rangers Dec 30 2006.

    85. Hmm… So because some liberal sports writers want to PC this game into oblivion and some of us who have been watching/playing hockey since the early 70s should respect that opinion. I don’t.Its a sad day when you read that a New York journalist writes nonsense that belongs in the San Francisco Chronicle. And to think that some people USED to think that New Yorkers were tough. Somebody ought to do a study on the New Yorkers psyche after 911. A guy dropped his gloves and got knocked out. Get over it.

    86. “But there are people who think fighting is paramount in this sport. And those are invariably the people you come across in late night men’s games, and who can’t skate worth a lick…”

      We refer to these people as tripods. :)

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