Hockey is violent — Deal with it!

It seems to me that these idealists leading the charge against hockey violence in the wake of the...

It seems to me that these idealists leading the charge against hockey violence in the wake of the unfortunate Zdeno Chara-Max Pacioretty incident are individuals who don’t really like or appreciate NHL hockey. (REUTERS)

STEVE BUFFERY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:15 AM ET

TORONTO - I’m thinking that Bruce Boudreau is an extremely righteous dude right now, on top of the fact that he has one of those perfect, round, bald heads.

Yes, I salute the Washington Capitals head coach for the brief but very succinct message he sent to the group of “concerned fans” protesting on-ice violence outside the Bell Centre prior to the Montreal Canadiens-Capitals game on Tuesday night.

“You don’t like it, don’t come to the games,” he said.

“I think the players realize that they can get hurt. But unless you’ve played and see what goes on at the speed of the game, you’re not going to be able to argue with it.”

Amen to the Boudreau for putting these hypocritical “fans” in their place.

And, he’s right, serious injuries are going to happen in the NHL no matter what.

Yes, by all means bring in rules banning head shots and hitting from behind — which the league has done, or is the process of doing.

But Boudreau is correct when he suggests that the players understand the risks and realize that, no matter what new safety measures the NHL implements — short of turning the game into basketball or soccer — serious injuries will sometimes occur — often the result of perfectly clean hits.

But here’s the thing that gets me. It seems to me that these idealists leading the charge against hockey violence in the wake of the unfortunate Zdeno Chara-Max Pacioretty incident are individuals who don’t really like or appreciate NHL hockey.

I firmly believe that.

Were talking about so-called fans and journalists sitting on their high horses who can’t wait to dive into the “NHL is evil” and “the NHL doesn’t care about their players” debate without offering any real solutions — other than the league should throw the book at anybody who causes another player a serious injury, even if the injury was the result of a clean hit.

They don’t like the sport, they don’t appreciate the sport, but they’re all fired up when someone gets hurt or when there’s a sudden rash of fighting, and then they can’t wait to jump on the bandwagon and wag their fingers and point out all the ways the league is bad and the sport is barbaric.

They want to turn ice hockey into field hockey, or hoops.

Don’t get me wrong, both of those are great games — okay, basketball is a great game — but basketball is not a violent game and hockey is.

That’s it. That’s the way it is.

And, as Mr. Boudreau says — and Brian Burke for that matter — if you don’t like it, don’t watch.

Just don’t pretend to care about the game when all you really want to do is kick it when it’s down.

And I’m certainly not just pointing fingers locally.

I’m also talking about those American sports broadcasters who only mention the NHL when they accidentally witness a hockey fight and their sensibilities are horribly accosted.

They live in one of the most violent societies in the world, but God forbid a couple of guys drop their glove on the ice.

As for those hypocrites parading outside the Bell Centre, Boudreau is right — again — when he says that if it was Montreal’s Hal Gill hitting Boston’s David Krejci, there wouldn’t be a protest outside the Bell Centre.

Amen to that brother.

Further to that, where were these “concerned fans” in Montreal when Tom Kostopoulos of the same Montreal Canadiens ramrodded Maple Leafs defenceman Mike Van Ryn into the boards from behind at the Air Canada Centre in 2008, effectively ending Van Ryn’s career?

Yes, that’s old news, but it’s apt. Apt!

I don’t remember any Habs fans parading outside the Bell Centre after that.

And I don’t remember VIA Rail or Air Canada — Montreal-based both — sending letters to the NHL when Van Ryn was carried, broken and beaten, off the ice.

Spare us the hypocrisy, please.


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