If you’re curious why fighting holds such importance within the game of hockey, read Joe Haggerty’s latest article for CSNNE.com.
Entitled “Lucic Brawl Wakes Sleepy Bruins,” the piece highlights the following first-period scrap between Milan Lucic and Matt Carkner in Boston’s 5-2 victory over Ottawa at Scotiabank Place:
“It’s a time in the game where they’re outshooting us 9-2 at the time and they had the jump on us,” Lucic explained afterward. “I only had one fight going into this one and he’s a good, honest hockey player. So I definitely felt like it was the right time.
“It shows the chemistry we have as a group. The guys care for each other and appreciate the fact we stick up for each other.”
The very next shift, Bruins forward Rich Peverley scored to give Boston a 1-0 lead. The very next shift. That impact wasn’t lost on Lucic, nor on head coach Claude Julien.
“We were so flat that when that happened and he responded well, we scored shortly after that,” said Julien. “We almost needed that. The ice seemed to be tilted in one direction in that first half of the first, and we seemed to pick up our game after [the Lucic fight].”
And herein lies the issue with a potential ban on fighting. When executed properly and under the right circumstances, a good ol’ hockey fight can simultaneously be 1) great entertainment, 2) an unparalleled momentum-shifter and 3) an immeasurable contribution. Statistically speaking, Lucic’s night was forgettable — 13:08 TOI, minus-1 rating, one hit, one shot on goal — but his coach and teammates will tell you his impact on the game was huge.
PS: That Lucic took on Carkner was a big deal. Carkner’s a bonafide heavyweight, easily one of the toughest and best fighters in the league. Boston got a real lift out of watching Looch hold his own. I’ll never forget the time Tanner Glass bravely took Carkner on, only for this to happen:
That fight didn’t have a Lucic-like effect on Vancouver. Ottawa scored three minutes later and went on to win 3-1.