Tuesday, October 15, 2019
NHL

Was Alex Ovechkin’s knockout of Andrei Svechnikov just element of hockey?

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What happened?

Just in the evening halfway point of the main period in Monday night’s game between your defending Stanley Cup champions Washington Capitals additionally, the upstart Carolina Hurricanes, Washington captain Alexander Ovechkin experienced a fight.

Was anyone hurt?

Er, yes. A 19-year old Carolina Hurricanes player by the name of Andrei Svechnikov. Svechnikov and Ovechkin were skating beside one another and exchanged a couple of quick slashes using sticks. Words were then exchanged. The two dropped gloves, and Ovechkin – who’s about 40lbs on Svechnikov – landed several quick punches, one of these would be a knockout blow. Svechnikov fell to your ice, clearly concussed. Svechnikov, the youngest player in this particular year’s NHL playoffs, is already inside the league’s concussion protocol, and often will very likely miss Game 4 in the series against Washington on Wednesday night.

Hockey players fight continuously though. Why was Monday night’s fight different?

Mostly because Ovechkin was involved – he rarely fights. He’s done so only 4x since he joined the NHL inside 2005-06 season, and this also was his first since 2010 as he fought Brandon Dubinksy with the Big apple Rangers. Ovie is not any lightweight – he’s 6ft 3in and 230lbs – but makes his name as the finesse player and high-powered goal-scorer, instead of like a physical presence.

Why is fighting allowed in hockey?

The simplest response is it essentially has always been. A vintage story goes which the first indoor hockey game was played on the Victoria Skating Rink in Montreal in 1875 – and ended with a fight. Existing people the rink’s skating club aimed to kick the hockey teams off of the ice additionally, the groups found blows. In fact, head injuries connected with hockey fights go back to within the same day: “Newspaper reports frequently indicated a boy got mislead with the players within the melee and a break down head trauma and this end things,” Scott Burnside recounted within the 142nd anniversary from the game (plus the skirmish).

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Fighting in hockey has evolved while using the sport, but is almost certainly a way for teams with the idea to set a tone for the form of game they’re hoping to play, create energy over the bench when they end up lagging, or as effortless retribution. Unlike other sports where it’s strictly forbidden, covering the decades, fighting became built-in to hockey along with its officiating – regulated as opposed to banned.

Isn’t anyone wanting to stop fighting in hockey?

Yes, however it’s also stopping of the company’s own accord. Monday night’s fight was also notable the way it happened in the least. You will discover generally fewer fights through the playoffs, because the stakes are higher along with a five-minute major penalty is just too risky. But in addition ,, despite hockey’s enduring reputation being a punch-up, fighting is actually coming away from the NHL. As outlined by TSN, the regular amount of fights per NHL game is steadily falling. The velocity of fights per game just 0.2 in November, down from 0.6 introduced, along with a far cry within the 1980s, where you’d likely see at least one per game, in line with TSN.

That trend is not necessarily on account of enforcement (though that’s helped), but in addition a result of a shifting culture within hockey itself – from coaches to players – and amongst fans. Fighting’s place in hockey remains to be accepted, so when fights occur, fans will always be excited, but as individual skill and speed has increased, fighting just has not got the cache it did once.

At its most notorious – inside the latter decades in the Twentieth century – teams adopted fighting as the more obvious tactic, employing “enforcers” whose role ended up being protect higher-skilled players and, essentially, pick fights. Guys like Marty McSorley, Dave “Tiger” Williams, Bob Probert, Donald Brashear, Dave “Cementhead” Semenko, Tie Domi, Georges Laraque, and Derek Boogaard (to mention a few) all designed a track record themselves this process job.

The proven fact that everyone close by hockey is knowledgeable about the last name on that list may well be a good reason the “enforcer” role has faded away, and fights have gone about it. Boogaard’s death at 28 from an accidental overdose of oxycodone and alcohol, occurred shortly after the deaths of two other “enforcers”, Rick Rypien and Wade Belak, and it also proved a catalyst for a transfer of the conversation about concussions (Boogaard’s brain showed advanced chronic traumatic encephalopathy – as did that regarding Probert) and questions why fighting was tolerated for so long.

Though NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has pushed back against growing evidence the fact that game – specially the concussions that occur during it – may cause brain damage, players, fans and even more importantly parents enrolling their kids in youth hockey are less deaf to the science.

So, will Ovechkin go into trouble?

Technically, he did. Ovechkin was handed a five-minute major penalty following your fight. He sat within the field with the allotted time, then returned on the ice gets hotter was over. As it happens, Svechnikov was given a five-minute major penalty – he just wasn’t in the position to return of computer. It remains to be seen while he will.

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