Belak says hype over KO overblown

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:47 AM ET

Wade Belak does not understand what all the negative fuss is about.

Less than 48 hours after his highly energized bout with the New Jersey Devils' Cam Janssen had 19,000-plus people inside the Air Canada Centre chanting his name, Belak and his fellow puck pugilist now are hearing cries of protests from the anti-fighting fraternity.

Even National Hockey League director of hockey operations Colin Campbell yesterday questioned if fighting should be part of the sport after watching the Philadelphia Flyers' Todd Fedoruk get knocked out by a punch from the New York Rangers' Colton Orr during a game on Wednesday night. Orr's blow caused Fedoruk to be wheeled off the ice on a stretcher.

One day fighting is the talk of the town; the next it's the so-called plague of the sport.

It seems opinions this week concerning hockey scraps have changed quicker than one of Mike Tyson's mood swings.

"I guess all this fighting stuff is all bad now," Belak said, tongue in cheek. "Funny how fast people have altered their minds about that.

"Look, we're talking pro sports here. Injuries happen. And if you've seen enough fights in your life, you've seen this type of thing before. Fortunately, nothing major happened."

Fedoruk reportedly said yesterday he will be okay.

"The only thing you don't like seeing is a guy's helmet pop off where he might hit his head," Belak said.

Belak's tilt with Janssen made him an instant celebrity, landing him gigs on AM 640's Leafs Lunch and TSN's Off The Record.

"It was nice but it fizzled out quick," Belak said of his new-found popularity. "I guess that was my 15 minutes of fame."

Campbell, meanwhile, is understandably concerned.

"I'm not afraid about the fact we should look at fighting in hockey," Campbell told the Canadian Press.

"Guys being carried off on stretchers was never a common occurrence. It has happened too many times already this year. I think we have to ask the question: Is the risk worth it? Is this part of the game worth it?"


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