So the man who helped implement the philosophy that gave birth to the “Big, Bad Bruins” now would like to see fighting taken out of the NHL game.
This summer’s tragic events involving the deaths of Rick Rypien, Derek Boogaard and Wade Belak has people from all corners of the sport, and even outside of it, calling for ways to better prevent such occurrences. Many are pointing the blame finger at the role of fighting in pro hockey.
In an interview with Eric Duhatschek of The Globe & Mail, Sinden, who coached the 1969-70 Bruins to the Stanley Cup title and then was general manager and president of the Bruins for decades-worth of teams that relied on toughness to succeed, had this to say:
“If the wise men of today sat down and started a brand new hockey league, they wouldn’t include fighting. They wouldn’t start off by saying, ‘Let’s let everybody fight and just give them a five-minute major.’ It wouldn’t fit today. How you ever get it out entirely, I don’t know, but they have opportunities to adjust things so these goons – and people who are only in the game to fight – could be limited and slowed down. That they could do.”
It’s interesting to see how the opinions of a Hall-of-Fame builder who has been in the league so long can change over the course of time. Of course, the entire league will never evolve to the point where fighting gets eliminated.
Personally, I could take it or leave it — particularly when it’s a staged bout between two guys who aren’t going to skate more than two minutes apiece in the game. But by and large, a majority of players seem to think fighting still plays an important role as part of the game. Maybe they don’t want to offend some of their teammates that play the fighter’s role, or have some fear that the rarer the fight the more chance they’ll have to partake in one, but typically players don’t want fighting eliminate. To me, that speaks to it being part of the game more than what people sitting at keyboards or in boardrooms have to say.