Shaken by the stretcher

JODY VANCE -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 7:22 AM ET

In a world where opinions are often black and white, today I'd like to add a shade of grey to a column I wrote recently.

This is about fighting in the NHL.

Watching Kris Newbury get his grey matter rocked on Saturday night had big impact on this student of the game.

The late game fisticuffs between Newbury and Pittsburgh's Ronald Petrovicky shook me.

It wasn't so much the fight itself but rather the result that haunts me today. The fight ended quickly. The visual of Newbury lying on the ice bloodied and unconscious lingers.

Rewind now to Saturday morning. On "Leafs Early Edition" on Leafs TV, a show from ice level where players often stop by for an impromptu chat, Newbury joined us.

We talked about fighting.

Kris shared how players communicate a desire to scrap, "it's more of a look than anything we say -- you give the look then get that look back and you go... after the game, though, you'll grab a bite to eat and a pop together. That stuff stays on the ice."

Little did we know that the Leafs call-up would be giving and getting the look just hours later and there would be no steak at Harbour Sixty.

The genuine concern on the face of Petrovicky as he stood in the penalty box, helplessly watching Newbury being loaded onto a stretcher spoke volumes; no one intends to injure a fellow player.

So have I changed my stance on whether there is room for this element of the game? No.

Attempts at rationalizing or explaining why I find it entertaining is impossible. As much as it is my "black and white" opinion that there is room for fighting in the NHL --the grey area is this: I never want to see a stretcher.

Jody Vance is a sportscaster with Leafs TV. Her columns appear Tuesdays and Thursdays in 24 hours.


Videos

Photos