Kraken striker Jared McCann and other skilled NHL players should use their hands to score, not fight.

Inside the NHL

Kraken striker Jared McCann did what he had to do with his hands last night against Dallas, scoring 25 points.Seventh Flowers on a correct wrist shot

A few nights ago, he used his hands for something his team certainly did not spend $ 25 million over the next five seasons – hitting opposing Vegas Golden Knights striker Mike Amadio. A barefoot McCann punched Amadio in the helmet and fired it from his head.

And it can not be allowed to happen again. Not for the reasons he brought.

Now, I’m talking about it because last week’s clash of top scorers has become a hot topic in the NHL. Between Nathan McKinnon, who jeopardizes the Stanley Cup chance for the Colorado Avalanche by punching his McCann-style naked fist on the Minnesota defending cap, Matt Dumba, to Troy Terry, Anaheim Ducks star, ate his lunch, breakfast and dinner. Arizona Coyote veteran J Beagle, there are enough experienced hockey fans who feel conflicted, and I’m sure new people here are wondering what’s going on.

Admittedly, my column last week probably added to the confusion. Before this beat it was written in which I talked about the NHL reality that players have to stand up and sometimes fight for better teammates and goalkeepers, when the opponent is using dangerous freedoms that risk injury. Brings with it.

Interestingly, the catalyst for that pillar was none other than McCann, who flew to the sideboards without defense by the much bigger Los Angeles Kings defender, Quinton Byfield. Immediately afterwards, McCann’s teammates’ response was at best hesitant for coach Dave Huxtol to let the team know that he was not satisfied.

Since then, the Crackers have become like a piranha school when the opponent becomes too aggressive in the corners or at the goal point. Between Vince Dunn, Jimmy Oleksiak, Drake Polio and even McCann, Cracken has had no hesitation in recent punching deals – some fined, some not.

And if you look at the old YouTube videos of Haxtol in the early 1990s as a little player in the league, he’s not all that talkative. He did not hesitate to drop his gloves and move on to the older children when his teammates fired cheap shots.

All that being said, there are limits, and a handful were crossed last week. McCann did not enter the fight in defense of any teammate. Admittedly, he did so out of “disappointment” with his team’s loss, and he tried to ignite a spark beneath them, which he did.

Keep in mind that like any sports “code” or “unwritten rule book”, these players do things in real time and do not have the luxury of pausing in the middle of the punch to think about whether it really’s in the spirit. Everyone respects or not. .

Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on who you ask, the NHL is the only major professional sport that confirms the fight by not automatically removing fighters. And love it or hate it, it’s not going to change anytime soon. Some of the loudest crowd reactions at the Climate Pledge Arena have been when the 6-foot, 7-foot, 255-pound Olexiac drops his gloves and prepares for a head-on collision.

The big difference now compared to decades ago is that NHL warfare is no longer rarely used as an active tool of intimidation. Instead, it is more of a defense. Tame a man from behind to the boards, it is better to be prepared for a fist deal with his teammates.

In such cases, it is hoped that the prospect of a fight – which no smart NHL player really wants – will make one think twice about doing something dangerous. But as with any carrot-and-stick approach, stronger measures must be taken from time to time for broader deterrence.

That’s why Avalanche star MacKinnon said he followed Dumba when he saw team-mate Mikko Rantanen draw.

The case is more complicated. He saw Beagle investigating the assassination of young Ducks striker Zagras and walked over to the Coyotes to defend his team-mate. Beagle says he was defending his goalkeeper after Zagras hit the ball, which had a five-goal lead, with over-offensive shots.

Thus, Beagle and Terry both cited the “Protection of Teammates” clause in the unwritten rules book to justify their actions. Unfortunately for Terry, he has no consequences, and in the next fight he was completely shaken by Beagle, an ugly wound opened near his blackened eye.

In the case of McKinnon, who also cited the “protection” code as a justification for fighting Dumba, he was initially afraid of breaking his boxing arm and losing several playoff rounds. Fortunately, this was not the case.

McCann was also swollen with his hand but was unharmed. Hawstol told me that he had no problem dismissing his teammate McCann.

“Honestly, the way we are made, everyone has to play their part,” Huxtol said. We do not have anyone who is absent from the competitive part of the game.

Yes, we did. Kraken is not exactly Avalanche skills.

However, you do not want to see their most skilled men endanger themselves unnecessarily. This is bad enough that Oleksiak – the team’s best defender – sometimes has to be sidelined by the five-minute head coach, but he is a great man and is expected to knock him down.

McCann is a completely different story, and the explanation for his punching was not very convincing. He did not protect anyone.

“One thing I want to make sure of is that we do it for the right reasons at the right time,” Hawstol said. “Not just out of frustration or any other way.”

Wise words, especially when even a player in moral “right” according to the unwritten hockey code is at risk of severe injury in a fight. Terry’s defeat and the lack of a complementary NHL field at Beagle showed that even star players who dare to mess up act alone.

Avalanches sigh so loudly that McKinnon did not lose hope in the playoffs just by breaking his arm. Terry is no doubt relieved that Beagle has nothing on his face.

Kraken now has McConnell’s co-star, Yannie Gord, who turns his life into a plague in difficult spaces, occasionally igniting the team with his fists. But Gorde has been wrestling all this time, and he knows how to avoid biting too much.

With McCann, a dust-novice, you’d rather set his team on fire than turn on someone.

Yes, this is very confusing and difficult for any new fan or even NHL player in a sport where there is immediate reaction and ambiguity. Many people just follow the school yard principle: do not get in trouble.

And when the problem occasionally finds the most skilled player on your team, it’s best to make sure he let go of those gloves for a good reason. Then, get him out as soon as possible.

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