Why I Love Hockey #27 - Goalie Fiiiiiight!
This video from last night reminded me of one of my favorite things about hockey: Goalie fights. Take a look at it and we'll reconvene below:
Now tell me that isn't one of the most entertaining things you've seen all week?
Goalie fights are great because they happen so rarely that it's like a nice little gift when they do occur. I was at the Ottawa brawl game in February and while the crowd was pretty nuts from the Chris Neil hit on, things really hit a fever pitch when Ray Emery and Marty Biron started edging out of their respective creases. My friend Monica and I were sitting next to each other and we're usually pretty low-key at games. But at that point we were like little kids. We grabbed each other, started jumping up and down and screamed, "There goes Marty! There goes Marty! Goalie fight! GOALIE FIIIIGHT!"
I love how some goalies come charging out of the crease, flinging their gloves and helmet as they skate, fists cocked and ready. It's like years of standing by the net watching other people fight has finally gotten to them. I also love how some goalies - like the aforementioned Biron - seem kind of delighted at the idea of a fight, like, "Hey, why the heck not? It might be fun!" Some goalies look like they might know what they're doing, some guys look like there's a good reason they've spent their entire hockey career standing by the net watching other people fight.
But the reason I really love goalie fights is because they're funny. They're easily the funniest thing in pro sports and quite possibly one of the funniest things ever. Watching a goalie fight is like watching the two chubbiest, most uncoordinated kids in gym class go at it. I know, I know... Many goalies today are very athletic and they have the disadvantage of trying to fight in 100 lbs. of crap... It's still funny. It's funny to see two guys charge towards each other with fierce determination, throw one punch and then tumble to the ground. It's funny to see the one who's falling grab the other guy, taking him down too. It's funny to watch their legs flail for a few seconds before they manage to stand back up and then do it all again. If they're slow to fall, chances are good they've grabbed on to each other and are basically holding each other up while skating around in a little circle, both looking down at the ice instead of each other. It's funny. Goalies do sometimes manage to have pretty vicious fights but usually? Funny!
For your viewing enjoyment:
First of all, I still can't believe anyone would suggest that Chris Drury was too busy watching his pass to notice the guy skating up behind him. Second of all, announcer guy, Marty knew what he was getting into. After the game he said his plan was to not get hit in the face too much.
One of my favorite goalie fights, Garth Snow vs. Steve Shields. I love how the linesman tries and tries to break them up before deciding it's not worth the bother.
(Somewhere during the course of writing this post, Jim Lorentz announced his retirement. I'll comment on that at some point but for now I'm pretending it didn't happen. That's my coping skill.)