03 February 2011
(Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
By now I’m sure every hockey fan has seen or at least heard of the top hockey story from last night. It is almost unavoidable to glance through any sports page and not see a title or a picture that references the goalie fight between Pittsburgh Penguins backup goaltender Brent Johnson and New York Islanders starting goaltender Rick DiPietro.
The one punch extravaganza only needed a few seconds to play out but those few seconds took the world by storm.
After the game had passed, the news spread like a disease. The words Brent Johnson, Goalie Fight, and DiPetro instantly became worldwide trending topics on Twitter. Total strangers to the game of hockey most likely went to YouTube to find the evidence. Bloggers began researching goalie fights and how often they appear, which ultimately led to Houses Of the Hockey taking a look at famous goalie fights. Believe it or not, for a few hours, the NHL was the main attraction in media.
But before anyone can claim a boost in coverage, this isn’t the story you want your league to be represented by. In reality, the casual fan and general public didn’t care about the outcome of the game. Rather, their focus was on the anomaly.
Should the NHL do something about it and ban goalie fights? No. The way the game is set up, I believe that the players can police themselves in terms of fighting matchups. In the rare instance that goalies do fight, don’t stop it. But the NHL does need to monitor fights to make sure these types of fights do not break out just for the sake of fighting (see KHL). There needs to be purpose – otherwise you’re putting the sport on the same level as Ringling Brothers Circus.
From a personal standpoint, goalie fights make me cringe. I can’t stand them. There is something about these fights that immediately makes me nervous. A quick uneasy buildup of energy immediately tells me something is wrong. It is the accident you can’t stop watching.
In the end though, it was bad break for Rick DiPietro. However, when you willingly ring the bell, you have to be prepared for the person that answers the call. Johnson did just that.
News & Notes:
There are a few other pieces that are floating around the Internet that are worth taking a look at. The online hockey world always has plenty of reading material out there. While this will never be a complete list, here are some that caught my eye:
On The Forecheck: NHL Original Six Special Treatment?
Red Light: Plenty to chew on in NHLPA’s players poll
Puck Daddy: NHL, NBC, and VERSUS: Next TV deal is ‘complicated’
Puck The Media: NHL Thrilled With Buzz, Profit From All-Star Weekend