Jenelle Grewell | News Editor
‘‘A 60-minute brawl’’ is the best way to describe the Friday, Feb. 11, hockey game between the Pittsburg Penguins and the New York Islanders.
The sports world waited to see what sort of punishment the NHL would sentence for the multiple fights and extended penalty minutes.
With the punishment given, the question on the minds of several sports commentators was, “Did the NHL send the right message?”
The game ended with over 346 penalty minutes. For comparison, consider the fact Tennessee’s team, the Nashville Predators, as of press time, have accumulated 529 penalty minutes for the 2010-2011 season.
In one game, the Penguins and the Islanders managed to rack up half of the Predators’ penalty minutes.
As a result of the brawl, the league fined the Islanders $100,000 and suspended two forwards, Trevor Gillies and Matt Martin. Gillies was suspended for nine games and will lose $24,193 in salary.
Martin was suspended for four games and will lose $41,585 in salary. The Penguins’ Eric Godard was suspended for 10 games for leaving the bench to join a brawl on the ice and as a result will lose $40,322 in salary.
Sports commentators are asking if he league’s punishments are too light for the players. The answer is no, with an exception of Martin. Martin sucker punched the Penguins’ Maxime Talbolt from behind. This is a completely low and pathetic attempt to seriously injure a fellow hockey player, rival or not.
Martin should be punished much more severely with a few extra game suspensions to send the message that surprise punches will not be tolerated for risk of serious injury.
However, the large fine to the already low-budget Islanders and suspensions of the other players was completely fair. The league acted quickly and sent the message that the fighting should be fair.
Gillies fine will cost him five percent of his $500,000 salary. Martin’s fine will cost him six percent of his $615,000 salary. Godard’s fine will cost him five percent of his $775,000 salary.
Hockey players do not make a lot of money compared to other sports in America. According to Sport’s Illustrated, the average quarterback in the NFL makes $1,970,982.
The fine of $40,322 given to Godard, the highest paid of the three fined, would only be two percent of the average quarterback’s salary.
Fighting is a part of the excitement of hockey.
Hockey players will stand up to injustices committed against themselves and teammates.
The fighting in hockey is part of the team spirit and loyalty that comes with the game.
In fact, there is even a positive side to the brawling. The Penguins and the Islanders have established a heated rivalry that will last for years to come.
This rivalry will benefit both teams with sold out arenas, heightened fan support and more determination from the team to win against the other. TAS