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.