Drop the Gloves Son!...Even if it Costs you the Game

Ben DoverContributor IDecember 21, 2008

After last nights Maple Leafs win, the long winded and gibbering Don Cherry came out blasting young Andre Deveaux for not fighting Pittsburgh's Goddard. The score at the time was 4-1 to the Leafs. The Pens were down, looking for a spark. They tapped the enforcer Goddard on the shoulder and ask him to goon it up, knock down Devereux, his opposite number, get the crowd going and have the Pens try and turn it around. Deveaux looks to the bench, lowers his head and plays a rag doll, no fight, no penalty. More importantly no emotional resurgence from the Pens and they were routed 7-2.

During the melee commentators were acknowledging the "smart" play of Deveaux for not throwing back, for keeping a level head, keeping six guys on the ice and keep the momentum on the Leafs side. Don Cherry on the other hand was as mad as a cut snake. Taking his last CBC sanctioned five minutes to literally call the Leafs a "disgrace", his venom spitting on the camera lens.

Here in lies the absolute farce that is the fighting laws in hockey, the unwritten laws and 'code' that runs the sport. Putting a player in two minds as to fight? If he fights, he gets two minutes in the box, but keeps his reputation. If he does not fight, he keeps a man advantage, a possible power play goal, but loses his respect.

It is a tough dilemma especially as reports come in that Wilson told Devereux not to fight. Deveaux plays regularly for the AHL, he is trying desperately to make a good impression on his hard master Wilson to earn a regular spot. Who does he obey—150 years of hockey code or his coach?

The answer here is quite simple. Players are allowed to fight, no penalties. This would be a social nightmare for the NHL, but in reality, how many players actually get hurt fighting? Trying to hit a guys head with the padding on it virtually impossible. It is tough enough to keep balance and skate, more so fighting on ice.