Friday Night's Alright for Fighting. And Icepuck

Thankfully, the two have much in common.  I'm sorry to take two fanposts in a row, but I promised to put this work forward earlier, and I felt compelled to fill in part of the D.V. gap with the worst firsts post.  So there. 

Tonight brings, among others, a great matchup between two of the east's most rough and tumble teams, the Philadelphia Flyers and the Buffalo Sabres.  The Flyers have had a rep as a tough team since the Broad Street Bullies era of the 1970s, who were so hated members of my family who were borderline Birchers cheered for the Red Army's team to beat them on general principles.  Now, there may be hits, and there may be fighting.  The following is a basic description of how fighting works in the National Hockey League, put together by a friend of mine who used to work for the Flyers: Go here for 1300 word dissertation on hockey fighting


So, that's how fighting works in the abstract.  For an example of how it works in practice, watch This video, of an all-out brawl between the Sabres and Senators.  The folllowing is an explanation of why what happens happens, from the same guy:



Going step by step through this little tilt:


Context: Close game, midway through the 2nd period, so there's no “need” for a fight.


Original incident – Chris Neil, Ottawa's goon, drills Chris Drury, Buffalo's star and captain, and injures him. Appears to be late, and was definitely blindside. At the very least borderline, and a clear code violation. Drew Stafford (Buff star) bravely grabs Neil, but has no chance to beat him in a fight.


Faceoff- Ottawa is the away team so they have to put their players out first. In an apparent attempt to calm everything down, Ottawa puts out all their skill guys with no muscle. This is an idiotic failure of coaching, as clearly Buffalo was pissed off and because Neil had been dirty with a Buffalo star, Ottawa's stars were now in the crosshairs. Buffalo answers, predictably, with their goons – Peters is a heavyweight, Adam Mair is decently tough, and Patrick Kaleta is a douchebag who likes injuring people. Puck drops, and Slapshot breaks out as the Sabres all go right at Ottawa's stars. It is not a fight, it is a beating. You can even hear the announcer say during the fight “You go after one of our best players, we go after one of yours.”


I can't tell from the video which goalie came out first, but I'd bet everything in my pockets that it was Emery. Emery is a big guy, a crazy person, and a good fighter. He was probably the toughest player on the ice for Ottawa at the time. Normally goalies get involved any time there is a chaos on the ice. If a line brawl breaks out in a blowout game, the goalies usually get into it, largely to be part of the team and show their teammates they will fight for them. In this case, Emery-Biron is a huge mismatch in Emery's favor.


Peters going after Emery is probably a borderline move on his part, but Emery is tough enough to take it. Peters went over there because he knew Biron would get killed, and he wanted to protect his goalie (one minor violation – he should have had his helmet off). I think he thought his presence alone would be a deterrent, and everything would slow down. Instead, Emery laughs at him and grabs him. It is really not easy to throw a punch with all that goalie gear on, so Emery is at a severe disadvantage, but again, I don't think Peters actually thought it would happen, and once you're in a fight, you throw your best punches.


Phillips – Kaleta appears to be the secondary fight, but I can't tell exactly how it broke out. Generally Phillips wouldn't have to fight Kaleta because he's a better player, but when you're out there and a brawl breaks out, you can't be too choosy, and Phillips is tougher than anyone else on the ice for Ottawa.


Ottawa's coach is pissed because he feels Buffalo's coach was classless for putting out their goons against Ottawa's skill guys (and is probably pissed at himself for putting his stars in that situation). Buffalo's coach is pissed because his captain got injured by one of Ottawa's goons and therefore started it. You can even hear (if you listen closely) at one point Lindy Ruff yells “You don't touch our fucking captain!” He also yells Chris Neil's name, but I can't pick up the context of it.


Now, if you want a humorous take on hockey from a long suffering fanatic, head over to Down Goes Brown.  their author would likely enjoy this place if he had any clue what College Football was.


Anyway, it's puck drop time.  Now which team to support?  Buffalo has Greyshirted as a fan, but Philadelphia has that hot brunette I like.  Decisions, decisions.

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