NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 2, 2013.

Leafs & Habs defend fighting in wake of George Parros’ injury, Blackhawks down Capitals in season-opener, Lightning name Martin St. Louis their new captain, Sabres name Thomas Vanek and Steve Ott co-captains, and much more from the opening day of the NHL’s 2013-14 season.

George Parros' injury sparks more criticism of fighting in hockey.

George Parros’ injury sparks more criticism of fighting in hockey.

THE GLOBE & MAIL/NATIONAL POST: In the wake of George Parros’ freak injury during a scrap with Colton Orr, players from the Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens defended fighting in the game of hockey.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Parros wasn’t injured by a punch from Orr,but rather from an awkward tumble to the ice during the fight, striking the ice with his chin. He was stretchered from the game and spent the night in hospital,where it was revealed he suffered a concussion. He also likely required some stitch work to close the gash on his chin.

No surprise players on both teams defended fighting, since it’s long-ingrained in the culture of the sport. Unless an overwhelming number of fans and pundits loudly call for its elimination, the league isn’t motivated to eliminate it. Like the players, most NHL fans have no problem with fights, even though it’s contributing to concussion injuries among NHL players.

CHICAGO TRIBUNE/WASHINGTON POST: The Blackhawks shaky penalty kill came through killing off a late two-man deficit to preserve their 6-4 victory over the visiting Washington Capitals.  Washington forward Mikhail Grabovski potted a hat trick in a losing cause.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Well, whaddya know? Grabovski didn’t lose his scoring touch after all.  Looks like the Maple Leafs loss will be the Capitals gain this season.

TBO.COM: The Tampa Bay Lightning introduced Martin St. Louis as their new captain.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Not a surprise for me, though I know some folks were expecting Steven Stamkos would get the “C”.  Stamkos will get his opportunity in the near future.

THE BUFFALO NEWS: The Sabres announced Thomas Vanek and Steve Ott as their co-captains this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hmmm, wonder if making Vanek a co-captain is the Sabres way of trying to entice him into re-signing?

POST-GAZETTE.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins succumbed to “Pirates fever” by playing a game of whiffle ball during practice yesterday.

DETROIT FREE PRESS: Red Wings star Pavel Datsyuk is looking forward to what will be a busy first season in the Eastern Conference for his club.

PHILLY.COM: After struggling through an injury-hampered lockout-shortened season, Flyers forward Scott Hartnell is looking forward to a bounce-back effort.

TWINCITIES.COM: Having gone through seven moves over the last 11 months, Jason Pominville is feeling at home in Minnesota and hoping to sign a new contract with the Wild.

THE TENNESSEAN: Nashville Predators coach Barry Trotz believes 2013 first round pick Seth Jones has shown he belongs at the NHL level.

RDS.CA: NHL veteran Guillaume Latendresse will continue his playing career in Switzerland.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Injuries took its toll on Latendresse in recent years.  It remains to be seen if he’ll return to the NHL one day.

SI.COM: The NHL has modified its ridiculous “tuck” rule.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: How about just getting rid of it entirely.

NBC SPORTS PRO HOCKEY TALK: Former NHL star Pat LaFontaine will be working in a “myriad of capacities” in his new job with the NHL.

NEWSOBSERVER.COM: A fascinating look at how Hurricanes hockey analyst Tripp Tracy’s hockey connections led to rescuing his brother from Venezuela.

NOTE: Recaps of the Leafs-Canadiens and Jets-Oilers games can be found (where else?) in Canadian Corner.


  1. Only way fighting rules change is death or an NFL like, laws suit. Its part of the game. It took them years to change up a rule about icing which has resulted in probably less injuries then 2 men beating one another over the head. Its a slippery slope once people start wanting to change the rules to avoid injuries in hockey, you start to change the sport after fighting whats next blocking shots? Horrible for Parros not pretty to see but thats part of the game guys fall down people get hurt.

  2. Parros injury could similarly have happened in the corners or battling in front of the net and wasn’t necessarily because they were fighting. He was even wearing his helmet. I’d rather each team had an enforcer or two to police and protect their players. Abolish fighting and cheap shots and stickwork will increase and much worse injuries to key players will result. How long before a player breaks his hand because of this helmet rule as well?

    • I’m okay with fighting after a big hit (unless it’s a clean one) or a scrum in front of the net. Hockey is an emotional game.. But I am totally against staged fighting. That is what has to be gone from the game. One of these fighters is going to kill himself or someone else.

      So Mtl beefed up to stay with Boston — got Parros. Ottawa beefed up when one of their rookies got beaten badly by McLaren.. got Kassian.

      I would sooner have a skilled player on the ice than a guy who can only fight.

      Boston has tough guys that can fight.. but they also have skill… Chicago, Detroit.. they don’t have that one player who can only fight… They have toughness and guys that will fight but they can play… they don’t have the heavyweights..

      Do something to stop the staged fighting. Start with match penalties and an automatic one game suspension and go from there. The puck isn’t even dropped before these guys start up… I absolutely hate it…

      I didn’t see the game last night.. to know if Orr/Parros had staged fights. But from what I heard the Habs got away from their game — which is speed & skill — to prove they can now fight. Well — could it have cost them 2 points? Points are going to be even more important this year in the new division… Spending time fighting and in the penalty box isn’t going to help score goals and get wins.

  3. Of course the players defend fighting. They resisted helmets and visors and had to be forced to wear them. It’s part of the “culture”. I played in the ’70’s when goonery ran rampant, and I for one will be glad to see fighting out of the game. It’s the only major sport that allows it, and even by it’s own rules it’s illegal. I’m tired of seeing guys like John Scott, Colton Orr, and yes even George Parros take up space on the bench. Sure, the fans “love” a good fight. So did the Romans in the Coliseum. I know I’m in the minority, but I watch to see hockey, not gladiators. And there are other ways to police the game. Other sports manage just fine.

    • Agree 100%. It is way over due. Unfortunately it will take someone dying on the ice to change things.

  4. Why not just suspend players who keep getting into fights? (i.e. after a player has his 2nd or 3rd fight in a season he sits for 5 games – pick your #’s). That would likely get rid of the staged ‘enforcer’ fights along with the one dimensional goon players without eliminating the intense emotions that occasionally boil over in games. Don’t see too many staged fights in the playoff’s….