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Video: Dryden on why hockey should ‘give up the fighting, but keep the fight’

Mar 12, 2014, 12:27 PM EDT

In an interview set to air following tonight’s Montreal-Boston Rivalry Night game on NBCSN, Bob Costas and Hockey Hall of Famer Ken Dryden discuss a myriad topics, including the hot-button issue of fighting in hockey.

Here’s a snippet:

The Costas Tonight interview, set to air on Thursday, Mar. 13 at 12:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and live online (click here), also touches on a number of other issues related to both current-day NHL news and Dryden’s storied career with the Canadiens, during which he won six Stanley Cups.

Topics include…

Dryden on ability to attend law school in the midst of his NHL career: “Imagine that you come out of Cornell, and the Montreal Canadiens are the team that has drafted you…you say to them, ‘I’m not sure, I really want to go to law school, I guess this isn’t going to work out,’ so the first year it didn’t. Then we spoke again…here was the general manager of the Montreal Canadiens saying, ‘OK, let’s work it out.’ And it was Sam Pollock that allowed that approach…because if I had to make a choice at that time, it would have been law school, and I never would have played (in the NHL)…this gave uniqueness a chance.”

Dryden on selecting the best hockey player of all time, and importance of history in sports: “The greatest player is the best player when you were 10 years old. When Bobby Orr was 10 years old [watching hockey], Gordie Howe was ‘10 feet tall.’ Gordie Howe could shoot the puck ‘1,000 miles-per-hour.’ Gordie Howe could skate ‘100 miles-an-hour.’ Bobby Orr grows up to skate faster than Gordie Howe, but in his head, Gordie’s moving 100 miles an hour. The greatest players have a sense of history…the worst is when you have a superstar in any sport who doesn’t have a sense of history, who thinks the game began with them and will end with them…it’s awful, because there is a disrespect that comes through.”

Dryden on Canada’s gold-medal game victory over Team USA in 2010 Winter Olympics: “In Vancouver, one team wanted deeply, deeply to win. The other team needed to win.”

Dryden on success of 1972 Summit Series for Canada and Soviet Union: “What did the Soviets want? They wanted to win the series. What did they need? They needed to show that hockey could be played at the highest level in a different way. What did Canadians want? We wanted to win eight straight, 10-0 every game. What did we need? To win the series. We both ended up getting what we absolutely needed out of that series.”

Related: Orr tells Costas there ‘should be a policeman’ to protect skill players

  1. imgoingtowichita - Mar 12, 2014 at 12:46 PM

    I have tons of respect for Dryden as a player – absolute winner like Billy, but HE isn’t the star player that gets slashed and hacked up and down the ice for 60 minutes . It’s harder to turn the other cheek like he suggests. The ‘energy guys’ look at a roster pre-game and know if the enforcer is in the other lineup. Simply dressing a McSorley type curbs the actions brought upon the star players by the lesser skilled. I’m not for staged fights, by all means regulate them from the game, but to ban fighting would bring blatant stick work and injuries to the forefront – in my opinion.
    I wonder if Costas had to fake a phone call to end the interview?

    • dueman - Mar 12, 2014 at 1:01 PM

      Dryden’s also a politician so he is obliged to take the politically correct stance. This is nothing more than Halford throwing out the fighting topic once again, just to grab page hits. This is not a hot topic, but a rather an old, and over done one. These guys need to just let it go already!

    • ju8686 - Mar 12, 2014 at 2:10 PM

      The dressing of the “enforcer” only serves notice to the other “enforcer” that he’ll have to fight if one of the “energy guys” does something the other team find offensive.

      Energy guys are usually average or smallish players. If the “star” can’t stick up for himself then maybe he should play baseball instead.

  2. thailer35 - Mar 12, 2014 at 12:49 PM

    Insert obligatory Joey rant here.

    • gret9 - Mar 12, 2014 at 1:38 PM

      LOL, that’s the EXACT thought that crossed my mind. :)

  3. patthehockeyfan - Mar 12, 2014 at 1:00 PM

    I love his quote about the Vancouver 2010 Olympics: “In Vancouver, one team wanted deeply, deeply to win. The other team needed to win.”

    You can tell this guy’s got more going on in his brain than only hockey.

    • ibieiniid - Mar 12, 2014 at 1:16 PM

      then again, he used that need/want narrative like 3 times just in the snippets I read. I think he just thinks weirdly.

      • patthehockeyfan - Mar 12, 2014 at 1:22 PM

        Thinking weirdly is a good thing.

      • ibieiniid - Mar 12, 2014 at 1:26 PM

        can’t argue that. most good quotes are better out of context anyway. when Gretzky said “you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take,” he was actually talking about Big Buck Hunter.

  4. bsaures - Mar 12, 2014 at 1:22 PM

    Had he played longer probably would be considered the best goalie of all time the guy was clutch

    • dueman - Mar 12, 2014 at 3:08 PM

      A Calder, a Conn Smythe, 5 Vezina Trophies, 6 All-Star nominations, 6 Stanley Cups, inducted to the Hall of Fame, and his number retired, also there was the Summit Series……I think a good argument could be made that he already is the best goalie of all time. Modern hockey at least. Jacques Plante would be the closest argument, but it’s hard to compare them because they played in different eras, and the game changed dramatically between their careers.

      • sunderlanding - Mar 12, 2014 at 3:12 PM

        Let’s not get carried away. He’s a great goalie, but not the best of all time. He did benifit from playing on one of the three best teams the NHL has ever seen.

      • bsaures - Mar 12, 2014 at 4:14 PM

        They were the best teams because he was part of them. He was in another league compared to any goalie at the time. When you have a goalie it makes everyone in front of him better as they can take more risks knowing the goalie behind them will shut the door

    • dueman - Mar 12, 2014 at 3:11 PM

      I’m not sure who is down voting your comment, but they sure are hockey illiterate.

  5. joey4id - Mar 12, 2014 at 2:41 PM

    There is nothing more entertaining from a hockey perspective than watching the best players put on display their talent and skills as we saw in the Olympics, and SC final last year, which had only 2 fights. Fighting is not a hockey a play, whereas checking is. We cherish fights (intent to injure using fists) but despise checks that have unintended consequences (head shots) and yell “intent”.

    Most who light fighting are hypocrites because they hide behind the notion that fighting has always been part of the game and theorize that no fighting will increase cheap shots, stick work, and subsequently injuries, but of course they can’t prove it. In reality they like violence, but don’t admit it. Period!

    • thailer35 - Mar 12, 2014 at 2:52 PM

      Called it.

      Bonus points to Joey for the irony of ending his rant with the word “Period” followed by an exclamation mark.

      But back to this debate, the damage someone can do by swinging their fists is completely incomparable to what the can do throwing the weight of their whole body through their shoulder going full speed on skates, and that is a fundamental difference you absolutely refuse to see in your argument. I’d rather have someone intend to punch me in the face than intend to drive their shoulder through my jaw at 25 mph, and I’d much rather they be less willing to try to land that hit knowing it may cause a fight in which they will take some punches to the head. Checks and balances.

      • joey4id - Mar 12, 2014 at 3:06 PM

        This is not a comparison between an intended punch to the head and an intentional shoulder to the head. My post is comparing a fight (non hockey play) and a body check (a hockey) with the intent to impede the progress of the puck carrier, and cause a change of puck possession.

        The consequences of a shot to the jaw, be it from a punch or shoulder, are the same. Concussion. Period! 😉 The effect of a concussion is the same regardless what caused the concussion. CTE. It is a degenerative brain disorder. So, fist or shoulder, the consequences are the same.

      • thailer35 - Mar 12, 2014 at 3:22 PM

        Not really, as there are different levels of concussions, often depending on the force of the hit, which is exactly my point. And I don’t know for sure, but I’d guess that the effects of CTE are directly related to the force with which the brain slams against the skull. So again, if given the choice, I’d take the punch rather than a shoulder check to the head. Especially since the allowance of those punches can help disuade someone from throwing that shoulder at my head.

      • joey4id - Mar 12, 2014 at 4:57 PM

        There are different grades of concussion and each can cause CTE regardless of the force. Scientific fact.
        1) no loss of consciousness you recover in less than 20 mins
        2) no loss of consciousness your recovery time is greater than 20 mins
        3) loss of consciousness

        Then there are 2 types of concussions.
        1) simple
        2) complex

        This is science. No guesses.

    • imgoingtowichita - Mar 12, 2014 at 2:57 PM

      I like violence.

      • ibieiniid - Mar 12, 2014 at 3:10 PM

        lmao no sugar-coating here.

      • cardsandbluesforever - Mar 12, 2014 at 5:38 PM

        he’s just saying what we’re all thinking. there’s a reason the crowd goes nuts when a fight breaks out- it isn’t because they are all thinking ” my god fighting is just so wrong!”

        its part of the game, fans enjoy it a lot and as long as players don’t get too carried away is perfectly acceptable.
        for those who complain about the violence- keep in mind that a 30-40 second hockey fight is a whole lot less violent than 36 minutes of boxing during a standard 12 round bout or 15 minutes of guys REALLY beating the hell out of each other in a 3 round MMA bout. if it really bothers you that much, it doesn’t last long- change the channel or turn your head, cover your kids eyes etc. the rest of us would like to watch.

    • sunderlanding - Mar 12, 2014 at 3:17 PM

      That’s such a stupid point. Fighitng is part of the NHL. It’s part of North American hockey, so it is a play. Remember the point of the game is to entertain. Not put the puck in the net, or win, or hoist the cup. It’s ENTERTAINMENT. Fighting is entertaining to 90% of hockey fans, so it makes sense to keep it in, because this is ENTERTAINMENT. If player safety is really the concern for getting rid of fighting then they have to get rid of hitting first. Way more players get hurt by hits then by fights, so if everyone is really concerned about player safety we need to eliminate body checks.

      • joey4id - Mar 12, 2014 at 3:31 PM

        sunderlanding, hahahahahahaha! Thank you for that. LMAO a legal body check will cause less damage to the head than a legal fist to the chin will. I’m sorry! That was a very lame comment.

      • sunderlanding - Mar 12, 2014 at 4:19 PM

        Not true. If I hit you unaware, and you fall and hit your head on the ice you could get a concussion. If I hit you in open ice, and you don’t see it, your head will fly back and forth, and could cause a concussion. Remember most fights don’t end in a concussion, and most fighters don’t end up with mental problems. We’re talking about a very small percentage. Less than the percentage of people injured on “legal” hits.

      • joey4id - Mar 12, 2014 at 4:26 PM

        Players are trained to be aware of their surroundings. Otherwise we would see a lot more injuries.

      • sunderlanding - Mar 12, 2014 at 4:40 PM

        …but that doesn’t mean that they don’t happen. Do some research. See how many players are injured by fights (almost none) and then check how many players get injured by legal hits (non-suspension or non-penalty). The difference is staggering. Well over half of all injurys are a result of a hit, and most don’t result in suspension.

      • ibieiniid - Mar 12, 2014 at 3:32 PM

        “Way more players get hurt by hits then by fights”

        ohhhhhh boy. as a seasoned reader of joey’s anti-fighting comments, I’ll tell you that you’ve just opened up a massive can of worms…

      • sunderlanding - Mar 12, 2014 at 4:19 PM

        It’s true.

      • ibieiniid - Mar 12, 2014 at 3:33 PM

        lmao, knew it. he replied before i even hit post.

      • joey4id - Mar 12, 2014 at 3:34 PM

        I’m still laughing. So Olympic hockey is not hockey because the always entertaining hockey known as hockey is not allowed. hahahahahaha

      • sunderlanding - Mar 12, 2014 at 4:22 PM

        I didn’t say it wasn’t hockey. Do you even read? I said NHL, and North American hockey. Furthermore I don’t like Olympic hockey. Don’t like the big rink, don’t like the lack of fights, don’t like the lower amount of checks. I prefer fast, confrontational hockey.

      • joey4id - Mar 12, 2014 at 4:28 PM

        You are so antagonistic/confrontational. I see why you like fighting.

      • sunderlanding - Mar 12, 2014 at 4:43 PM

        …and you’re such a wimp I see why you don’t. Go watch soccer. The GMs, players and fans all like fighting, and none of us like you.

      • sunderlanding - Mar 12, 2014 at 4:47 PM

        Just out of curiosity, do you think they should ban UFC and boxing as well? The head trauma they sustain is much worse than what an NHL fighter deals with. Please don’t give me the “they wear gloves” argument. There is a lot of research that suggests gloves actually make the fight worse as you can hit harder, and rattle the brain around more. After all that’s what causes concussions.

      • joey4id - Mar 12, 2014 at 11:12 PM

        At least we have some of the greatest hockey minds who are for banning fights. Bowman, Yzerman, Shero, Rutherford, and Dryden to name a few.

      • sunderlanding - Mar 12, 2014 at 11:18 PM

        There are a lot of great hockey minds who want to keep them. Bobby Orr comes to mind. Plus ninety percent of current players and GMs, and over fifty percent of fans.

      • joey4id - Mar 12, 2014 at 11:28 PM

        Right. Let the debate begin.

      • sunderlanding - Mar 12, 2014 at 11:45 PM

        Should they ban UFC and boxing as well?

      • sunderlanding - Mar 12, 2014 at 11:19 PM

        You’re still avoiding the point. Should the UFC and boxing be banned as well?

    • sunderlanding - Mar 12, 2014 at 3:25 PM

      Your argument seems to come down to this. Player saftey is not important if its a hockey play. It’s ok to body check, which causes WAY more injuries than fighting, but it’s not ok to fight because it’s not a hockey play. I’ve got news for you; They’re all hockey plays! There isn’t some cosmic law to the game. The point of the game is to entertain. If it’s entertaining and it’s in the game it’s part of the game.

      • joey4id - Mar 12, 2014 at 3:33 PM

        It’s about protecting the head. You’re terrible dude or dudette…… really! Move on.

      • sunderlanding - Mar 12, 2014 at 4:20 PM

        …but if I hit you you could fall down and hurt your head. Also if you don’t see my check your head will rattle around. That causes concussions. More players get hurt from “legal” hits then they do from fights.

      • joey4id - Mar 12, 2014 at 4:27 PM

        False! There are more man games missed due to fights than there are due to body checks. 40% more. NHL’s own stats.

      • sunderlanding - Mar 12, 2014 at 4:44 PM

        That’s not true at all. Nice try though. More than half of injuries come from hits, and most don’t result in a suspension. Maybe you’re counting tough guys who get scratched?

      • joey4id - Mar 12, 2014 at 5:00 PM

        I just told you that the NHL published the stats. More games missed because of fighting.

      • sunderlanding - Mar 12, 2014 at 5:04 PM

        Send me a link to the “NHL official” stats, and it better not be some crappy little webpage that doesn’t have anything to do with the NHL. I’ve checked other sites, and read posts and blogs of top NHL columists. Your information is way off. How about UFC and boxing? Read my other post.

      • sunderlanding - Mar 12, 2014 at 5:05 PM

        Where’s the link? I need proof that the NHL published these things. Seems unlike them.

      • sunderlanding - Mar 12, 2014 at 5:08 PM

        Where’s the proof? Furthermore people still get hurt. If we take your logic all the way eventually we will ban everything that hurts, or could hurt, people. Personally I don’t want to live in that world. I’d rather a world where we a FREE to get hurt. Not one where we are RESTRICTED. If two grown men want to fight for entertainments sake let them do it. If we were forcing childred to fight you might have a case.

      • sunderlanding - Mar 12, 2014 at 5:11 PM

        I don’t know why you keep complaining about this anyway. It’s clear you soccer mom types got your wish. Fighing is on it’s way out. In twenty years hockey will be just like every other sport.

      • patthehockeyfan - Mar 12, 2014 at 5:55 PM

        Allow me to copy what I wrote in another post: Here’s the thing. You are giving joey exactly what he craves … attention. He appears to live for the back-and-forth commenting, and you’re feeding right into it. Stop feeding and maybe it will go away.

        His name-calling, etc. leads me to believe that the next thing he’ll write is, “I’m rubber. You’re glue. Everything you say bounces off of me and sticks to you.” Followed by a nyah-nyah-nyah-nyah-nyah.

      • joey4id - Mar 12, 2014 at 6:40 PM

        Ahem! Allow me to copy what I wrote in another post: Here’s the thing, guys. I couldn’t care less whether or not you respond to any of my comments. I post here because I believe hockey is the best team sport there is. I have an opinion and I post it. Whether you reply or not to my comment will not change how active I am. Matter of fact, though it is your right to use the reply button, I prefer you don’t if you’re going to post meaningless comments about me. It’s boring, and getting old. If you have nothing to offer with respect to the topic, then just move on. Resist replying to my comment.

      • joey4id - Mar 12, 2014 at 9:37 PM

        A study by the NHL’s Hockey Operations department, released April/2011, looked at concussions in the league over the past two seasons.

        Fighting is over 43 times more likely to result in a man-game lost to a concussion than a legal hit is.

        The numbers show that only 56 concussions were caused by close to 56,000 hockey hits. This means the chances of suffering head trauma from a standard hit is approximately one-tenth of one percent. Pretty good odds. There were 10 concussions from 544 hockey fights which means 1.88% of fights resulted in the specific head injury. Still sounds pretty small but statistically it means that you are almost 19 times more likely to be concussed by dropping the gloves versus simply playing the game.

      • sunderlanding - Mar 12, 2014 at 9:44 PM

        Again a link please. Also, what do you think of UFC and boxing. Should they be banned as well? Studies show that fighting with gloves leads to more concussions than fighting bare fisted, so don’t give me the padded glove argument. If you think we should ban fighing in hockey because of injuries surely you must think we should ban UFC and boxing as well.

      • sunderlanding - Mar 12, 2014 at 9:46 PM

        Furthermore, the percentage is not the issue. The main issue is that MORE players are getting hurt from hits, so if we want to cut down on the amount of concussions we need to ban hitting as well.

  6. enollatsknarf - Mar 12, 2014 at 3:51 PM

    I don’t mind if good players fight, but having no skill goons do their coordinated dance at center ice does not prevent injuries. Goons only fight each other, or they end up doing something stupid like sucker punching guys who don’t fight.

  7. nicofthenorthstar - Mar 12, 2014 at 5:27 PM

    Hey Joey and sunder, would you two just get a room already! Clearly a physical confrontation is the only way you boys will ever resolve your differences.

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