SUN Hockey Pool

To Beat or Not to Beat

Toronto Maple Leafs enforcer Wade Belak and New Jersey Devils' Cam Janssen drop the gloves during a...

Toronto Maple Leafs enforcer Wade Belak and New Jersey Devils' Cam Janssen drop the gloves during a game last week. (Sun File/David Lucas)

CHRIS STEVENSON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:20 AM ET

"LET THEM CONCENTRATE THEIR EFFORTS ON ERADICATING HITTING FROM BEHIND."

A guy takes a punch, gets knocked out and now it's time to get rid of fighting in hockey?

Philadelphia Flyers forward Todd Fedoruk just might be the guy who puts fighting in the NHL on a stretcher and taken out the Zamboni door after he was knocked out by New York Ranger Colton Orr Wednesday night.

It won't happen next year or maybe not the year after that but you can bet the day is coming when fighting in the NHL will go the way of the mullet.

Fedoruk might turn out to be 'Patient Zero,' the guy who starts the epidemic of handwringing that will lead to the anti-fighting vaccine.

It's never good to see somebody taken off the ice on a stretcher.

People in the media see that and say, "Wow. If they don't stop fighting in the NHL, somebody is going to get killed."

Of course, you can wonder what Fedoruk was doing fighting in the first place after having the right side of his face caved in by Minnesota's Derek Boogaard in October.

You don't think he might want to reconsider fighting because, well, he's just not good at it?

Don't ban fighting, ban Todd Fedoruk.

The Fedoruk-Orr scrap can be the only catalyst for the latest outcry against fighting in the NHL because all the other recent black eyes in the league have had nothing to do with fighting.

They have been about the so-called 'energy' guys hitting good players on the other team. There's a big difference there.

The hit by Ottawa Senator Chris Neil on Buffalo Sabre Chris Drury.

New Jersey's Cam Janssen hitting Toronto's Tomas Kaberle.

That's your problem there. Not fighting. Hitting.

Should we get rid of that, too?

I'd argue without fighting, those guys would be running around with even more impunity.

It's bodychecks and balances. Belak fighting Janssen early in that game the other night settled accounts.

"Fortunately, I took care of business and everything is back to normal in Leafland," said Belak.

Exactly.

Without it, the Leafs would have had to do what Leaf forward Darcy Tucker said they'd do and that's run New Jersey's best players.

Where does it stop then?

Once Tucker or another Leaf has concussed Brian Gionta or Patrik Elias?

That's what I'm guessing.

Is that more palatable than Belak "taking care of business?"

When fighting finally gets banished, many will cheer.

"They couldn't play, anyway," commentators will say. "Better to have their spots on the roster taken by those little skilled guys the 'new' NHL has room for now."

Watch that room disappear without the policemen directing traffic.

If people think the game is getting too violent, let them concentrate their efforts on eradicating hitting from behind.

Let skill reign, though, some say and the masses in the U.S. will flock to the game, because we all know the odd fight is the only reason few in Nashville watch hockey.

Allow me to be grammatically and politically incorrect: Be careful what you wish for.


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