"I do wonder where our game is going," Burke said. "I know the Greenpeace folks will be happy with this, but I wonder where we're going when Brendan Shanahan's got six hearings every two days.
You see the garbage that happened in here the other night [with Steve Downie going after Dion Phaneuf] and I wonder about the accountability in our game. I wonder where we're going with it. That's the only lament I have on this. The fear that if we don't have guys looking after each other then the rats will take this game over. That's my fear.
I see guys that run around and start stuff and won't back it up and it makes me sick to my stomach."
This got me thinking, are fighters integral to the game of hockey historically? Let's have an exercise shall we. Think of a fighter, or rough and tumble team prior to the Broad Street Bullies. Go on, I'll wait. Gordie Howe you say? Only 21 fights in 5 decades. Still waiting. You can't can you? That's because before the mid-70s there was no such thing as the hockey enforcer. Now that's not to say there weren't players who fought, but those players could also, you know, play hockey. (See the aforementioned Mr. Hockey)
Fast forward to today's NHL. For every meat head like Zenon Konopka, there is a Milan Lucic. For every Matt Carkner, there is a Kevin Bieksa. Players who can play hockey and throw down the gloves when the situations calls for it. Before too long, those meatheads will be out of the NHL (because they don't possess NHL caliber hockey skills) and the NHL will return to the era of players fighting when emotions run wild, not when they just happen to be on the ice at the same time during their five minutes a night. Burke laments the "loss" of the fighter, but in reality the fighter was never here. He was just a fad lingering from the 70s and 80s like your great aunt's shag carpeting or wood paneling. One day they'll all be gone and we'll never miss them.
More links after the jump.
Danny and PPP rip apart the ridiculousness around the fan vote, some media members, and voting shenanigans
Did you know the Jets are now 0-6-0 in B2B games and have been outscored 3-26?
BCP likes the Leafs top-end talent.
Fighting for Stanley...very apt wouldn't you say?
1967ers brings you some ol' timey card goodness.
Yes they did.
11 - Did anyone notice former Leafs castoff Tim Stapleton centering the Jets' 1st line? Ooof.
Until he loses next, yes.
This is slowly becoming the worst kept secret in hockey.
How the WJC might affect draft stock, even though they shouldn't.