You never like to see it, even though the fans cheer it in every arena. The knockout punch gets the fans out of their seats, and often should bring the trainers onto the ice, but rarely does. After taking a hard punch to the face on Saturday night, George Parros dropped to the ice, and had trouble regaining his footing. He seemed to snap out of it rather quickly, and though he needed help getting there, he went to the penalty box to serve his five minutes for fighting.
Surprisingly, and thankfully, the rational minds prevailed and Parros was taken out of the box and sent to the dressing room to be evaluated. He was held out of the rest of the game for precautionary reasons, with the Canadiens not being clear on whether or not he suffered a concussion, but don't expect him in the lineup again right away, they have to be careful, and Parros owes it to himself to be cautious.
When he went down, there was a cascade of calls on social media for Parros to consider retirement, and turning 34 in exactly two weeks, that may be an involuntary reality for him soon. But for the time being, while he has a contract, and a choice in the matter, don't expect it to happen. Parros explained to ESPN earlier this year that fighting is a choice he makes, and he knows the risks.
Fighting's place in the game
I think I have a minority opinion on fighting's place in the game, in that if it were removed I wouldn't miss it, but I also admit to being party to the fan reaction that makes it so popular. Fights like Parros' with Boulton don't interest or entertain me at all though, because they're empty. No momentum is gained or lost from a staged fight. No statement is made.
When Johnny Boychuk tries to take out P.K. Subban's knees, and Ryan White feeds him fists, I cheer like anyone would. It's a type of bloodlust that appeals to our basest instincts. Instantaneous revenge. Those kinds of fights don't police the game the way that fighting proponents would have us believe, but they do satisfy. I don't doubt that they also play extremely well in the room as well.
Is it necessary in the game? I highly doubt it. Doing away with staged fights by creating a rule where a fight right after a faceoff carries an automatic game misconduct and 10 game suspension, just like leaving the bench to fight, would likely do away with a lot of the NHL's fighting problems. Whether fighting should be eliminated entirely is much more complicated.
We all hate the word. It gets tossed around as soon as something borderline happens in a game that matters, but usually it doesn't mean anything. Sometimes though, class, or lack thereof, can define a person.
Last night after Parros went down and got hurt, former Canadiens designated fighter Georges Laraque took to twitter for no reason other than to light fires where none were needed. Saying of Parros:
Not a fighter. It's not the first time Laraque has said it, and considering how Parros views his job and his career, that sounds like the ultimate insult. To decide to say something like that right after Parros went down hurt, is the epitome of garbage. And you wonder why Laraque was embarrassingly sent home with pay midway through an NHL season?
We can argue until the cows come home whether or not enforcers have a place in the game, but the fact is that George Parros has fought 6 times in 9 games for the Canadiens this year, and won four of them. Laraque fought 13 times in a Habs jersey in 61 games played, around the same age as Parros, and won 8. By my count, that means Parros fights more often, and has won a higher percentage of his fights.
Not a fighter, Georges? Then what were you? Only the most embarrassing player to see in a Habs jersey since Ribeiro was flopping around faking injuries.