Ever since the tragic death of minor hockey player Don Sanderson earlier this year during an in-game fight, the fighting issue has been debated around the game of hockey as much as the U.S. economic stimulus plan.
While we’ve heard the opinions of people in the NHL upper offices, NHLPA head Paul Kelly and numerous NHL “enforcers,” few of the game’s biggest stars have spoken about the topic. And when you think about it, who’s affected more by the fighting than the game’s biggest stars? Fighters make sure opponents don’t take liberties with their team’s stars. And some stars even like to stick up for themselves once in a while.
One such player who has been known to drop the gloves in defense of himself or a teammate is Boston Bruins defensemen Zdeno Chara, whose occasional fisticufs haven’t prevented him from also playing at a Norris Trophy-caliber level this season and in years past. Chara’s beatdown of Atlanta’s Boris Valabik earlier this season was almost as memorable as some of his goals, assists and key defensive plays.
When it comes to fighting, and in particular the “staged” bouts that Kelly has talked about weeding out of the game, Chara think there’s a misconception.
“I don’t think it’s ever at a point where it’s staged fighting. Even if nobody’s hitting anybody, those guys are out there doing the toughest jobs in the NHL, and they either try to make a point or try to get momentum for their teams, change momentum from the other team to their team,” Chara told TheBruinsBlog.net earlier this week. (more…)