Freedom of expression

by Steve, December 18th, 2006

hockeyA junior hockey player in Quebec has been canned for not signing a Canadian flag that was sent to soldiers in Afghanistan.

Now, don’t get them wrong:

[Saint Johns Sea Dogs coach Jacques] Beaulieu said he believes in freedom of expression but added that any player who refused to sign would have been kicked off the team.

In other words: You’re free to express yourself, just not on my team.

I went to the fights the other night…

by Steve, December 18th, 2006

…and a basketball game broke out!

But seriously folks, I’m not a fan of hockey fights. You won’t hear me defending it as part of the game (even though it is part of the game). But at least hockey players know how to square off, exchange blows, then head to the box. If you watch the basketball fight with the eye of a hockey fan, you’ll crack up. The NBA suspended 7 players a total of 47 games for the little dust up at Madison Square Garden the other night. There was maybe one decent punch landed. Mostly it was just shoving and running away. Seriously. These guys look like a bunch of pansies out there, afraid to really stand and deliver.

Last season, I took a friend to his first hockey game. When a fight broke out, he was first surprised that the officials let them fight. Then he was surprised that not only would they not get suspended or even ejected, but just sent to the box for five minutes. So I guess you could say there is an upside to having the fighting institutionalized. And, of course, when it does get out of hand, it’s pretty unlikely to spill into the crowd.

Personally, I never miss it when I see a hockey game with no fights (something that is increasingly common). But come on. If you’re gonna fight, at least do it right. Basketball? What a joke!

Edited 12/18/06 5:16 PM: For a more sober take on the Knicks/Nuggets “brawl”, read Dave Zirin at the