Are hockey fans ready to call for an end to goonery?

The chippy play and after-whistle scrums have become a story unto themselves during this year’s Stanley Cup Finals. I’m getting tired of it and a lot of other people are too. I used to be all about watching the fights and dirty plays and looking for payback. I loved the violence! But it seems that love is fading… and I’m not the only one!

Over at Puck Daddy, they are hearing that back in the good ol’ days players used to break each other with respect and class which they rightly call BS on. Anyone who harkens back to a better time is fooling themselves. Either they were never there and just heard stories or they were there and want to make themselves look better. Either way, there were just as many if not more dirty players in the NHL 20-30 years ago as there are now. Stop kidding yourselves!

The Puck Daddy post points toward a great article in the Edmonton Journal that nails my current attitude about the goonery:

The 1980s’ hair rock between whistles, the cold beer and new truck advertisements, the fights, the concussions, the buffoonery of Don Cherry, everything that used to be an acceptable -even charming -distraction from the beauty of the game, is mysteriously becoming … tiresome.

I know why those distractions are getting old for me: I now play hockey and I don’t want to deal with players who are influenced by the crap they see in the NHL. I’m tired of players getting injured. I’m tired of every solid hit being scrutinized for bad intentions. I’m also a parent and I don’t feel like subjecting my kid to a sport that promotes disrespect.

More from the Edmonton Journal article:

What we want out of hockey, out of any sport, is the same simple thing we want from a Friday night movie: thrills, a good story, a hometown struggle against adversity, surprise, heroism, the triumph of the little guy, escape, change.

A three-hour highlight reel of bodychecking and spitting and slashing, interspersed with witless yet patriotic beer commercials and a little bit of skating and scoring, might make us nostalgic.

For an entertainment organization in the abstract and difficult business of making us feel something, I’m not sure that’s enough.

How do you feel about the current state of goonery in the NHL? Too much? Not enough? What should be changed?


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