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Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Its Hockey not WWE

Well lets talk about a bit of an ugly incident from the Penguins vs. Capitals from last week. I know I'm a bit late to the party on this one, but hey I wanna chime in as well.
As everyone one (or at least all hockey fans) know the Penguins and the Capitals are 2 hockey team that don't like each other to say the least! One of the most heated rivalries in the NHL, it generally stems from both teams arguably having the 2 best players in the league; Ovechkin and Crosby. But after Ovechkin and the Capitals rolled out of Pittsburgh with a 3-2 OT victory, the game was the last thing people wanted to talk about.
In the 3rd period of the contest, Penguins tough guy Arron Asham decided to drop the mitts with Capitals Jay Beagle. Right away Beagle was way over his head, as Asham is a tough guy and has been in his fair share of fights, but instead of the fight ending with a deadly left from Asham, this fight got a little more dramatic. Asham delivered a series of 2 punches that knocked Jay Beagle out cold, then following his impressive knock-out Asham decided to go all WWE style and show the fans what happened to Beagle "going to sleep" with a couple of gestures. These gestures just added more fuel to the fire that is the Capitals vs. penguins. Reporters and NHLers everywhere chimed in and called it a classless act on behalf of Arron Asham. Alex Ovechkin said, "It's not [Beagle's] job to fight. It looked kind of unrespectful (sic). I don't know … I think it's kind of unrespectful."

Right away people started debating weather Asham would be suspended or if he had chosen a guy to just beat up instead of a real fighter. But it is immportant to note, that both Beagle and Asham AGREED to fight. Now the job of the fighter (Asham) in this case is to pump up the crowd and his respective teammates by winning the fight. Should both Asham and Beagle have gotten up to their feet right after the fight, a little arm swing by Asham would have been totally acceptable, But in hockey they "code" is if a fight knock out or injures his opponent the victor is supposed to just skate away to show a sign of respect for his opponent. Asham issue gestures meaning "its over" and "he's sleeping" so therefore Asham knew full well that Beagle was hurt and not getting back up on his own. Now due to rule 75.2 (i) an unsportsmanlike conduct monor penalty shall be assessed … [if] any identifiable player uses obscene, profane or abusive language or gestures directed at any person.” With Ashams post fight gestures, he stepped into an area of unsportsmanlike conduct and therefore should have received an extra penalty on top of his match penalty for fighting. But the right call was made to NOT suspend Asham, there was no question that Asham did deliver a shot to Beagle's head, infact he delivered 2 shots, but the shots delivered to Beagles head are deemed legal by the NHL since they came from a fight that both players had agreed to participate in. Rule 48- “Illegal Checking to the Head“.  These were shots to the head occurring in a fair, one-on-one fight, not a head shot delivered with a shoulder or elbow to an unsuspecting player. Beagle knew what the end result could have been when he dropped the gloves.

Unfortunately for Asham he just got caught up in the adrenaline of the game, and made some gestures that even he himself regrets; "It's unfortunate the way the fight ended," he said in a post-game media scrum. "I obviously want to win but I don't want to go out there and hurt anyone. My gesture after it was done - I was into the game - it was uncalled for; classless on my part. I think those guys know I'm not that kind of guy to be going off, but it was a big game, I wanted to get my bench going, and classless move on my part." The fight was a response to Beagle knocking Kris Letangs helmet off in a scrum.“It’s no different than ‘Ovie’ throwing his stick down and rubbing his hands over it,” Asham said.  “It’s a part of the game.  I didn’t want to hurt the kid but it’s just the way it happens.” If it wasn't with the way everything in the news is portraying fighters and their deaths, I don't believe this fight would have gotten so much negative attention, Asham's gestures after what was a normal fight were inappropriate yes, but not a huge deal. Afterwards Asham went to former teammate and Caps veteran Mike Knuble, to check up on Beagle and apologize for his "showboating." The good thing here is that Asham realized what he had done, and was legitimately sorry for his actions.

Hockey is becoming the topic of discussion, whether it be the fights, the concussions or the head shots, Hockey needs to somehow get out of the limelight and take a step back, to much negative attention is going on around the game we love, its making people who don't know a didlysquat about the game try to change it, dare i say this attention is ruining the game. I'm sorry but in my humble opinion fighting belongs and needs to stay in the game, its fun its entertaining and it can change the whole momentum of the game. rarely do we see these kinds of minor blemishes. Players know, you do something stupid, your going to have to step up to the plate and pay the price for what you did. Without out that fight after a cheap shot, there is a sense of accountability missing from the game. Beagle needs to accept some responsibility here, why would you choose to have your first NHL fight against someone who has been in 93 fights, as Asham, the outcome was too predictable. The sad thing is Asham didn't want to fight Beagle at all! “I was kind of telling him to settle down and stop running around or he was going to have to fight. He wanted to fight and it’s unfortunate he got hurt,” Asham said. People stop trying to ruin our game! hockey is a sport for real men, not little pussy's! Fighting was not the issue here, the issue was Asham's actions so lets stop trying to take fighting out of the game, please people, just relax!

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