Felger & Mazz: Fighting In Hockey Must Be Among Willing Combatants
BOSTON (CBS) – Taking a “Patriots breather” midway through the show on Monday, Michael Felger and Tony Massarotti shifted gears to talk about the Shawn Thornton 15-game suspension.
Thornton has been dishing out punishment in the NHL for 11 years, but on Saturday, the league came down hard on the Bruins forward.
After an in-person hearing with the league on Friday, the NHL decided on a 15 game suspension for Thornton over his actions in last Saturday’s 3-2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins. The suspension was first reported by TSN’s Darren Dreger.
During a stoppage in play, Thornton skated nearly the length of the rink and pulled Penguins defenseman Bruce Orpik down to the ice from behind, throwing two punches at his face before being restrained. Orpik was taken off the ice on a stretcher and taken to a Boston hospital.
Felger has already made his thoughts on the incident quite clear, saying there’s no place in hockey for that sort of thing, and even lambasted Bruins fans for defending the fourth line enforcer.
Felger reiterated those same sentiments on Monday after word came out of Thornton’s suspension over the weekend, and clarified his stance even further:
“I think 15 game is heavy, certainly that’s a harsh penalty, but you sort of ask for it when you’re that blatant and do something that predatory. I don’t think 15 games is that outrageous,” said Felger.
“I think the key to keeping fighting in hockey is that you make it among willing combatants. You cannot force a guy to fight who doesn’t want to fight. If he’s a cheap shot artist and he runs people [like Orpik] you’ve got to find a different way.”
“The only way fighting is going to exist and survive the P.C. police is if you make it among willing combatants. You just can’t jump on someone and pound the lights out of them. It’s not going to work, they’re going to take fighting away if that’s what we’re doing,” concluded Felger.
Mazz shared his thoughts as well, and feels like 15 games sounds like a high number, but added,”If you’re not going to give a guy 15 games for doing that, then when are you ever going to do it?”
Thornton’s 15-gamer was the most discipline ever given out by NHL Director of Player Safety Brendan Shanahan.
Listen below for the full discussion:
MORE SPORTS FROM CBS BOSTON