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Saturday, May 2, 2009

Pierre McGuire and Fighting in the NHL

It happens. We sit there listening to the TV with pre-conceived notions and those thoughts mutate what is actually processed in the brain. Such is the case with many listeners to TSN and NBC as regards Pierre McGuire.

Hockey purists and fans ranging from brand new to seasoned veterans become highly charged when they see a brawl. It draws in new fans, is an accepted practice with the seasoned observer, and is revered as a piece of the very fabric that is our favorite sport. I’m not gonna lie to myself or any of you, it also sells tickets.

Over the course of several telecasts, however, a growing impression that Pierre McGuire is against fighting totally and completely has emerged.

On Goal Analysis’ Colonel put Pierre on the spot and asked him what is acceptable. His response was, “…I am against staged fights. No problem with fights that happen out of reaction…” (email message on 2 May 2009, 9:21am).

Hard to argue with that. In our analysis, and not from further expounding by Pierre himself, this man is a dedicated analyst and true advocate of all things Hockey. You know, as in terms of faceoff skill, hard skating, good passing, great shooting and spectacular saves or magic goals. Two players, both over six feet and 220 pounds, coming onto the ice merely to drop gloves and pound on each other for the simple reason they are on the payroll to chuck knuckles, wouldn’t be considered Hockey to this man. On the other hand, a player in the heat of the moment, at the edge of the crease, and down by a goal, taking liberties by whacking at a goalie who has captured and is holding onto the puck which results in a donnybrook? THAT is a result of the emotions of Hockey that say on one hand ‘WIN!’ and on the other, ‘Defend your goalie and your potential victory.’ Such a scrum is a result of the elusive chase for the bottom line we all understand – win or go home with your tail tucked between your legs, and that is an acceptable part of the game.

Is Pierre McGuire completely against Hockey and therefore a heretic run amuck in our favorite sport? NO! That is most decidedly not the case. He just believes there is a proper time and place, and removed from the circumstances of the emotions governing game performance just to ‘do it’ is neither.

1 comment:

Puck Central said...

Sorry, I don't care what Pierre "claims", listening to the man's drivel for more than 20 seconds at a time makes me sick. I've never heard him really discuss the differences b/n staged fights and fights that happen in the game (imo there's nothing wrong w/ either, they both get the fans out of their seats the same). When he argues w/ Milbury on NBC it's 'fighting' vs. 'non-fighting', not 'pro staged-fighting' vs. 'anti staged-fighting'. He may actually believe that, but when he gets up on the pulpit he certainly isn't preaching that. He fits right in w/ the ridiculous anti-fighting bias over at TSN