Video: Former NHL tough guy Jim Thomson wants fighting out of hockey
TORONTO – The sight of Montreal Canadiens tough guy George Parros laid out on the ice Tuesday night has rekindled the debate about where or if fighting belongs in the National Hockey League.
Parros suffered a concussion early in the third period of the Canadiens’ 4-3 home-opener loss to the rival Toronto Maple Leafs after slamming face-first into the ice during a fight with Leafs enforcer Colton Orr. He fell hard on his face while attempting to punch Orr, who was tugging at Parros’ jersey.
Orr immediately called for a trainer as the Canadiens forward laid motionless on the ice for several minutes.
“You never want to see a guy get hurt like that,” Orr told reporters after the game. “It was a scary situation. I just hope he’s all right. It happened fast. I slipped and he came on top of me. The ice isn’t going to give.”
Habs defenseman Josh Gorges said he hopes Parros’ injury doesn’t spark renewed calls to end fighting in hockey.
“I see more players get hurt from hits, collisions, from pucks, than I do from fights,” said Gorges. “I don’t think saying because a player got hurt in a fight that now we have to talk about taking fighting away. And I bet that if you ask George (Parros), he’ll be the first to agree with me on that one too.”
Off the ice, Toronto sports columnist Damien Cox said “the shame of the game continues.” He said the game was “marred by senseless violence.”
Cox wrote: “All these things — Kessel’s contract, the goals, Reimer’s play, the disappointing start for the Habs, Paul Ranger’s first NHL game in almost four years — should have been the subjects of post-game chatter and intrigue.
“Instead, it was a fight. A stupid, pointless fight and another brain injury.”
ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun, who often writes about fighting in hockey, believes a tragedy is waiting to happen.
“Everyone who reads me understands that I believe the game could survive without fighting. My belief is simply based on my fear that one day a player will die in a fight on the ice. Pure and simple,” he wrote. “I’m worried we’ll have a tragic incident one day, because today’s players are just stronger and bigger than ever.”
CBC’s Don Cherry said injuries come with the game.
“Here’s the name of the game: You fight, you get hurt,” he said. “That’s the name of the game.”
Social media users took the debate on Twitter:
–with files from The Canadian Press