The pros and cons of fighting in the NHL

April 29, 2017


Should fighting be banned in the NHL? I wanted to get your attention and that sentence usually does the trick.

For the basis of this discussion, I’m using Ross Bernstein’s book, “The Code: The Unwritten Rules of Fighting and Retaliation in the NHL.” It’s available at some bookstores and everywhere on the Web.

For the casual hockey fan, it is an excellent textbook on the who, what and why of NHL fighting. For the hard core hockey fan who has a basic understanding and opinion on all aspects of the game, it is a book filled with excellent stories from the players themselves. I don’t think the book will change your opinion on fighting, but, like any book, it will stretch your brain and initiate further thought.

In my mind, the stars of the book are and .

I’ve never met McSorley, who is currently a rookie San Jose television analyst. I have spent some time with Twist, who did a few “NHL 2Night” shows with me after he retired from the NHL in 2000. After our first show together, we went out with the entire “NHL 2Night” crew at a quasi “dive” establishment that was definitely not Ruby Tuesday.

That night, I saw Tony do a shot through his nose a good starting point in describing one’s experience with Tony Twist. Twister wore a white T shirt and jeans. He looked like a wholesale jerseys
refrigerator, a tattooed refrigerator who was funny, engaging and an endless storyteller. Twister spoke an octave higher than you would expect and at a pace that resembles Martin St. Louis’ legs. I enjoyed Tony’s capsules in Bernstein’s book more than anything. Tony should write a book.

Every week, we present an NHL photo and I provide a caption. E mail me your suggestions (include your name and hometown/state) and the next week we will use the best ones and provide a new photo.

“The Kid continues to amaze NHL fans, with tonight’s final score, Headless Crosby 5, 3.”

Brendan Campbell, Waltham, Mass.

Crosby, as great as he is at finding passing lanes, cannot find where to tickle .

“It’s OK! It’s OK! Sid wanted me to show him how John Cena applies the “front face lock.”

Harold Eldridge, San Leandro, Calif.

“Ladies and gentlemen . your Sleepy Hollow !”

Reepak Gugga, Los Angeles Craig L. Roberts


Father Son Day in Tampa Bay was another smashing success. (AP Photo)

I knew a few things that night as I shoved countless mozzarella sticks into my piehole:

Tony was 6 foot 1 and around 235 pounds. I am 6 foot 3 and close to 200 pounds. That would seem like a fair fight. Rest assured, Twist could kill me in 12 seconds. He was the bodyguard, I was the prima donna;

The chance of someone starting any trouble with me was about the same as me ever abstaining from fried cheese;

If someone did try to start something, Twist, even though we had met just hours before, would have had my sinewy back. Because we were on the same team.

That is the closest television host/NHL right wing analogy I can construct in trying to determine what someone like Twist meant to someone like or any of his St. Louis teammates during the late ’90s. That is why some women not named Katie Holmes prefer to be around large, brave men. That is why boxers have bodyguards named “Tank.” They feel safe.


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