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Monday, March 19, 2012

Rangers and Devils Brawl

Monday night’s game at Madison Square Garden began with a three-fight brawl right at the opening face-off. Rangers Stu Bickel dropped the gloves with Ryan Carter of the Devils, while Mike Rupp of the Rangers took on Eric Boulton, and Brandon Prust scrapped Cam Janssen of the Devils. 

Rangers coach John Tortorella had started his tough guys on December 20, 2011 when they visited New Jersey so Devils coach Peter DeBoer decided to do the same in his return visits tonight and also back on February 7. In the December 20th game in New Jersey Mike Rupp and Cam Janssen fought right at the opening face-off, and in the February 7 game Rupp, Janssen, Prust and Boulton all fought at the opening face-off. When the Devils visited the Rangers on February 27 the game did not start with a fight, and in the following game between the teams on March 6 in New Jersey the game did not begin with a fight, although one occurred between Carter and Dubinsky at 3:03 of the first period.  

Tortorella is ultimately the guy responsible for all of the nonsense during the games between the two teams this year because he should never have started his tough guys in New Jersey on December 20—and he knows that damn well. This is hockey and not boxing so you always start your better players. The NHL should have fined Tortorella for purposely starting the game with intentions of having at least one of his players fight and that would have prevented all of the other fights at the start of the subsequent games. DeBoer is also guilty because he should have let things rest and not started his fighters in Monday’s game. He had already retaliated and he should not have done so again.  

This is the type of garbage that should be eliminated from the game despite fans enjoying it so much. Fighting due to a dirty hit is another thing altogether. And, if the NHL wants to remove fighting from the game the only way to do it is to call penalties according to the rule book—always, and in the regular season and the playoffs—and to also give much more severe suspensions and fines. Making offenders pay a heavier price would be effective. Additionally, more changes need to be made in minor hockey so that players are not trained to play dirty.

You can watch Monday night’s brawl at the following link.

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TJ Stanley