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Briere supports fighting as rat deterrent

Dec 31, 2011, 1:54 PM EDT

NHL fight Getty Images

We’ve heard a lot from the anti-fighting crusaders lately. Now here are a few opinions from the other side, starting with some rather pointed comments by diminutive Flyers forward Danny Briere.

“For people who haven’t played, sometimes it’s tough to understand,” Briere told Fox Sports. “But most players feel fighting leaves the game cleaner.

“Guys like Sean Avery, Patrick Kaleta, Max Lapierre who run around and do dirty plays have to answer for their acts. You take fighting out, every team would have four or five of them.

“Fighting makes those guys pick their spots. And when they cross that line they have to answer the bell.”

Of course, hockey players don’t have to answer the bell like they used to – not with the instigator rule. And for Hall of Fame forward Bob Clarke, that’s a bad thing.

“The game was safest when players were allowed to defend one another,” said Clarke. “The league has taken all that out.

“Two referees were put in not to make the game better but to make sure players couldn’t get even with each other. Players who never threw a check now hit because there are no repercussions. The league has been suspending players forever and it never has stopped the goofiness.”

Fox Sports also spoke to Edmonton GM Kevin Lowe, Toronto GM Brian Burke, St. Louis president John Davidson and legendary enforcer Dave Schultz, but we won’t steal all the quotes.

None of the pro-fighting arguments are particularly ground-breaking, but they’re worth noting given they’re being made by people intimately involved in the game.

  1. canucks18 - Dec 31, 2011 at 2:24 PM

    Bobby Clarke is the last person to be calling anyone’s antics goofy! He was one of the dirtiest players hockey has seen!!!

  2. dcent87 - Dec 31, 2011 at 2:32 PM

    lol..your idiotic no he wasn’t….stick to rioting please

    • vanfoodman - Dec 31, 2011 at 3:10 PM

      No, Bobby Clarke wasn’t dirty…
      If that isn’t the dirtiest, most vicious play you’ve ever seen then you’re goofy.

      • vanfoodman - Dec 31, 2011 at 3:18 PM

        And this video isn’t him breaking Valeri Kharlamov’s ankle. This was just after the Summit Series when he Bobby Clarke attacked Frantisek Pospisil in Czechoslovakia. I think just these two incidents cement Clarke’s rep but there are many, many more to choose from.

  3. ready4jets - Dec 31, 2011 at 3:31 PM Everyone wants to remember the old days with rose coloured glasses except the video keeps telling a different story.

    • ready4jets - Dec 31, 2011 at 3:36 PM

      Here’s another one of those hits that would never happen if the instigator rule was taken out. oh wait …

  4. wardmanone - Dec 31, 2011 at 3:36 PM

    Keeping the Rats accountable is the thought process to allow fighting. Let them police there own might lesson some this bs they do while teaching few lessons or two that they are over due on. By the way the biggest issue is the concussions these players are getting now way to many need to do something about head protection I doubt we are having these head concussions from fights as much as we are have dangerous hits.

    • danphipps01 - Dec 31, 2011 at 5:31 PM

      And the problem is, fighters don’t really dissuade anyone from throwing them. Having Chara on the Bruins didn’t stop Matt Cooke from Matt Cookeing Savard. John Scott of the ‘Hawks didn’t scare Raffi Torres out of his flying elbow to Brent Seabrook last year. Fact is, there are plenty of players who just plain do not give a shit. There’s no big, tough fighter that’ll “scare ’em straight,” so to speak. They don’t care. They’ll keep cheapshotting their way right through the season regardless.

      In any event, tossing fighting seems silly, and the fact that players and GMs are actually having to defend it from know-nothing journalists looking for people to insult in their hack columns is fucking insulting. But let’s be realistic: fighting isn’t really “protecting” anyone. It’s avenging their loss after they get taken out by someone who wasn’t the least bit worried that he might have to answer for it later.

      • pastabelly - Dec 31, 2011 at 8:00 PM

        I agree with Briere. These rats are getting out of control and the NHL should do something about them. Shanahan seems to let Torres off the hook way too much. The league did shut down Cooke. But too many of these guys like Torres and Lapierre (people wonder why the Canucks were so hated by players in the league) never get suspended. As much of a Bruins fan as I am, I wish Marshand would cut the crap too. He doesn’t need to play that kind of game. He’s got too much talent for that. He probably should have been suspended for his cheap shot slew foot of Niskanen. The league has more clean up to go. The drop the gloves fighting is not the problem.

      • danphipps01 - Dec 31, 2011 at 9:07 PM

        Agreed. Fighting isn’t a significant source of injuries, Asham’s destruction of Jay Beagle aside. That said… well, neither are guys like Lapierre and Avery. When was the last time you heard about someone out on an injury caused because one of them launched a bad hit? They beak and they make the game look bad with their classlessness, but they’re not the source of concussion losses either.

        The solution, I feel, is for Shanahan to stop half-assing and ACTUALLY PUNISH PEOPLE for boarding hits and headshots. Most blatant headshots seem to be getting at most, five games. Same with boarding shots. And that’s if they get anything. The shoulder-to-jaw blow that concussed Shea Weber wasn’t even reviewed. Shanahan’s wildly inconsistent, almost invariably far too light punishments aren’t convincing anyone to stop. Torres, since you brought him up, is a great example. Sailing elbow and he gets a fine? Who the fuck cares about the loss of a couple grand? At MINIMUM NHL WAGE, they’re making half a mil a year. Fines are literally worth nothing to them. And in the case of a repeat offender like Torres, is there any doubt he’s TRYING to hurt people? Fucking freeze him ten games and see if he keeps it up. Start boarding suspensions out at five games, minimum, and add another five for each further boarding hit per years for any given player. Actually make it significant enough for them to stop and they just might, you know, stop. That’s my figuring.

        In any event, I don’t really disagree about the shitweasels like Avery and co., but what do you do with them? They’re not cheapshot artists, they’re not enforcers, they’re agitators. They talk. Aside from drowning them in unsportsmanlike conduct penalties and fines, what do you do with them?

  5. blomfeld - Jan 1, 2012 at 3:34 PM


    the only way to make vermin like Torres, Cooke and Lapierre change their ways, is by allowing for “immediate, harsh and unfettered” retribution against them … there are simply no two ways about it … so if Matt Cooke wants to smash a player’s head into the boards, then fair enough, have at it Cooky boy and do make sure you enjoy yourself ! … because whatever you do unto others, will be done right back unto you ! … only tenfold ! … and referees shouldn’t just be standing aside when this retribution is meted out … they themselves should join in the retaliatory swarming … at least to the point that justice has been adequately served … yes, you could say that’s the “law of the jungle” or whatever … but the fact is that we are animals and unfortunately that’s the only thing which vermin like Cooke and Torres truly understand …

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