View from a Brit…

I was doing some web searching for some other hockey related article that I am considering writing and I somewhat accidentally came across this blog post from a British sports fan talking about hockey and the Ducks-Kings games that were played in London to start the season. What is interesting is to see what a relative outsider thinks of hockey.

“…there is a hell of a lot of skill involved besides just trying to knock as many teeth out of an opponents gum as possible, even if that is the biggest crowd puller.”

He then goes on to post a video of the Philadelphia-Ottawa brawl that occurred a few years go as well as a funny Dion Phaneuf incident. To me what is interesting is how the author identifies physical play and fighting as the ‘biggest crowd puller.’ In my mind this is one of the greatest failures of the Bettman regime. It seems Bettman wants to sanitize the game of much of the intensity, physical contact and fighting while implementing a system of speed, skill and goal scoring. In my mind both aspects must be a part of a hockey game, but if given the choice I believe, as this Brit sports fan seems to concur, that physical play and intensity is as important if not more important than speed and skill. I know many hard core hockey fans believe this but it is interesting to hear this from a casual hockey fan from abroad.

This article has 2 Comments

  1. Hi, I just found your great website. I’ll return regularly. I’m a Brit who has been into hockey for about 18months now. I am engaged to a Canadian and now live in New York, so have been able to get into the game through TV, going to MSG and talking with family. It’s true that one of the first things that pulls you into hockey is the fights – I remember my first live fight at a Rangers-Devils game and it was a lot of fun. Though I also remember that the thing that stood out in my first game at MSG was the skating of Lemieux and Crosby which was just amazing to watch. Now though, being a one season veteran, the fights don’t hold any fascination for me (unless it’s Shaun Avery!) and the game is a lot more about the skill.

  2. I agree that it isn’t all about the fights, but about the intensity. A skilled game with little intensity is equally no fun to watch. Fights are to some extent (well they were anyway) a product of intensity. It’s funny because here in Ottawa everyone was raving about how exciting the Ottawa-Montreal game was last weekend. I watched most of it and it was very exciting. It was featured lots of skill, some great saves, and lots of passion, intensity, hard work and physical play. The refs weren’t calling every bump that may have been half a second too early or half a second too late or calling every marginal holding penalty int he scrums in the corner. It was about skill, hard work, and high energy. That is what makes the playoffs so great. It wasn’t about the number of goals that were scored because there weren’t many. It essentially was a 2-1 game with an empty net goal. Gary Bettman’s whole focus on increasing goal scoring is simple minded and misguided as goals don’t equal excitement particular if most of the new goals created were via the power play (which often isn’t a very exciting form of hockey).

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