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Midday Musings

I was flipping through the trusty old Google Reader and came across a few interesting tidbits that I thought might spur some hockey discussion. At least it's something to read before Chemmy puts the stopper in his flask and pumps out the latest edition of the Negative Nancy Notebook.

"We want our crowd to be as loud as it can be from the start of the game to the finish...we want the fans to cheer as loud as they can. We would love to have that on a nightly basis here. We get it some nights but, obviously, we would like it more nights. We have to do a better job of giving them some excitement but we hope they can bring some excitement and energy to this building as well."

- Matt Stajan

Funny. If you put a fan's name to that and made it about the players you could accurately describe our disappointment at the Leafs' performances on home ice. It's a bit of a chicken or the egg situation except the answer is clear: Good play leads to good crowds. It's not the other way around. Or is it?

Hub Hockey found this video of Tim Thomas' Superman routine last night:

Puck Daddy loved the move although he should have done a "Pass/Fail" on the idea of the Leafs sending Brad May flying into the crease to teach Tim Thomas a thing or two about attempting to injure the Leafs' best player. Or having the Leafs take a free shot at him the next time he exits the friendly confines of his crease. Should goalies be fair game if they want to play defenceman, forward, or defensive end?

And finally, the Pope had this to say about any attempts to use Don Sanderson's tragic death as a tool to curb fighting in the NHL:

"First off, it's an important part of our game historically. It's not like I came into the NHL five years ago. I see no reason to change that. That's No. 1.

To me, fighting is the mechanism that allows players to regulate the level of violence in the game ... There are already a number of players in our league who flaunt the system. Fighting brings accountability to that ... To me, there is a growing rat factor in our league right now. You know who those players are. I don't have to name them. But do you want to turn the league over to them?

- Brian Burke

Personally, I think that it makes sense to try to do things like ensure players don't take their helmets off during a fight or that dirty moves like Frankie Soup Cube's attempted body slam of Brad May are punished severely. I don't see a need to curb it and it certainly doesn't do anything to keep the rats in control because an eye for an eye is a crazy policy which never works and the rats are rats because they run away from being held accountable.

As for fighting's place in hockey, the scripted stuff is bunk but if two guys want to go at it in the heat of the moment then by all means scrap. Helmets that stay on might dissuade some guys because of the possibility of breaking their hands but there is no need to take fighting out of hockey.

The counterargument is that fighting disappears in the playoffs (really?) which isn't really true. What disappears is the stupid kind of fighting. We still saw Iginla fight Lecavalier in the 2004 Final. As for international tournaments, of course fighting goes down. It just makes sense since all of the other teams are European. If Canada played a tough country like Scotland or New Zealand you can bet your ass they'd put fighters in the lineup but against Sweden? Your thoughts?