I can't believe I'm agreeing with Mike Milbury. Fuck. Feels like I'm getting beat to death with my own shoe.
Here's what I'm pissed off about...
1. The lack of hitting. Hits that change the momentum of the game. I'm not talking about this weak-ass, finish your check on the boards after the guy's already gotten rid of the puck crap. I'm talking open ice, solid defensive hits. And,
2. The fights after the hits that actually do happen. When did this become in vogue? When Avery finished his internship?
If the latter is creating the former, then this shit has to stop. NOW.
Now I'm not for these guys getting their squash splattered, but let's be real, hockey is a fast-paced, emotional sport with inherent danger at every angle. I think people need to wrap their heads around that before we even start talking about rule changes. Granted, if you're going after someone's noggin, you're either real fired up over something that player did, or can do to your team if given the chance. But I'm not talking about hits to the head, I'm talking about solid bodychecks, contact from the shoulder. Everyone seems to know the difference, except for Colin Campbell.
I remember my first year in Pee-Wee I took a solid hit from the guy's shoulder right into my chest. I went down in a heap, gasping for air to return to my feeble frame. It was then that I realized how important, and valuable the bodycheck was in the game of hockey.
But now teammates, for one reason or another, are attacking guy's on the opposing side for making a clean hit on one of their guys. Perfect example, Jay McKee laying out Mark Parrish the other night, making him wish he retired as a member of the Wild. Players have been getting a little uppity, and bringing up their elbow in the full motion of the hit, that's no good. If you look closely, you can see McKee hits with his shoulder, but follows through with his arm. Legal hit. Sure he fucking blasted him, but that's the game. These guys are out there knowing that this could happen at any second. Again they make millions, or at least hundreds of thousands to acknowledge this and play at their own risk.
What I don't understand is why Sutherby goes after McKee following the hit?
Is it because he feels bad for the blind pass he just fed Parrish seconds before he was leveled? Shouldn't you be apologizing to your buddy, or at least checking to see if he's still alive, before dancing with McKee?
What happened to getting the guy's number and getting him on the next shift?
And now hitting, real hitting, has almost completely vanished from the game. You'll be lucky if you see one of these hits at a game, now its more like every 10 games you might get to go 'Oooooh.'
In a sport that's constantly trying to re-invent itself with modified rules and jack-ass reasoning since its inception, yet somehow keeping probably the most loyal fanbase, we are going to once again look at one of the most fundamental elements of the game, and try to "church" it up. Slap a big old 'Parental Advisory' sticker or do "what Em' told me homey just lose the parental discretion advised" all together. Lets put another 'gray area' decision in the hands of the referees, and let them decide the games, that's a fucking dandy idea.
And don't even get me started about these rule changes for fighting, or taking it out of the game. That'll be next time, if Gary Bettman's NHL Hour doesn't piss me off more before I even get to it.