I guess I’m supposed to throw myself into the ring.

I guess I’m supposed to throw myself into the ring.
Last week, Todd Bertuzzi hit Steve Moore. We all know this. We’ve all seen the pictures, the tape, heard the commentary, seen all the major networks going in depth.
It took me half-an-hour to digest what I had seen and actually get some sleep.
Still, I probably won’t be the first to say it: Enough.
The league has handed down its punishment, about what I’d expected (the rest of the season and the playoffs) while Steve Moore is doing as well as he can be expected (he was moved to a hospital in Denver over the weekend).
Suddenly everything is about the crisis of violence in hockey—the same way there was a crisis in hockey when Canada didn’t win gold in Nagano. When it comes to hockey, Canadians always have been able to overact.
I’m not saying I think what Bertuzzi did was in any way right, and it certainly wasn’t smart. All I’m saying its almost impossible to play a team sport without anybody ever getting hurt.
The passion behind the sport—the same passion that has caused all of us to react in such a huge way—causes those incidents on the ice.
Even if the NHL did decide to implement some sort of major penalty for fighting, something more than just five minutes, the fights still would happen—and sometimes things still would go too far.
And some of us would miss it.
I am included in that group. I like the fights. It’s the more aggressive side of my personality. The fights were one of the reasons my grandmother loved the game; one of the reasons a lot of people do.
Their tough guy against our tough guy.
It’s almost like therapy. They fight, you cheer them on, stress resolved.
So here we are on one end of the extreme, you cut out the fighting, give them game misconducts at the first punch thrown. Is that going to stop it? The Bertuzzi hit was, in fact, the first punch.
Where we are now (five minutes for fighting), how can you tell them they’re about to go too far?
We all know Todd Bertuzzi had no intention of so brutally injuring another player. We all saw the tears at the press conference and heard the apologies not just to Moore and his family, but to the Avalanche and Canucks organizations and hockey fans everywhere.
Still, some fans and sports commentators alike are saying that maybe when the lock-out starts next season, we should just put the NHL to the back of our minds and let it die a slow death.
An interesting debate topic, but the problem does not stem from the NHL. Anyone in Fort Frances can see as much hockey violence as they could ever want in the SIJHL. The East Coast Hockey League is famous for it, as is the British Superleague.
A good hockey fight is yet another part of Canadian tradition—we will always remember Wayne Gretzky’s scoring touch and Gordie Howe’s elbows.

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