I lived the movie Slapshot. Jack, Jeff and Steve Carlson a.k.a. The Hanson Brothers, were my teammates with the Minnesota Fighting Saints. Also on that team was Gordie Machine Gun Gallant and Billie Goldthorpe.
In Birmingham with the Bulls we had Gilles Bad News Bilodeau, Dave Killer Hanson and Frank Never Beaton. The game was different then. The Broad Street Bullies were winning Stanley Cups in Philadelphia with their swarming intimidating style and everyone thought they could do the same. There was no third man in rule and line brawls were a common thing.
The Montreal Canadiens, New York Islanders and Edmonton Oilers won 14 of the next 15 Stanley Cups and did so with a combination of great skill and toughness. Would the Canadiens have been the same team without Pierre Bouchard or the Islanders without Garry Howatt and Bob Nystrom or the Oilers without Dave Semenko?
The game has evolved and yet every team has to have some toughness. They have to have the guys who are hard to play against. They have to have the guys who can right a wrong or anarchy would reign supreme. I remember one game when I was with the Canucks, Mark Messier clubbed Thomas Gradin over the head with his stick. Next shift Ron Delorme was on the ice to seek justice. It is justice for your teammates and justice for the game. It is not to sell tickets or sell individual players or to put on a sideshow. Fighting is an integral part of the game and should be handled as such.
The Canucks played the Devils on Sunday and Bobby Farnham went after the Canucks Jake Virtanen. I have no problem with that as Virtanen plays an aggressive style and always takes the body. He is big enough at 215 pounds and will learn to handle himself. It was Farnham’s antics after that got me so riled up.
Here is a guy that went to an Ivy League school for four years and never got drafted. He signed with Pittsburgh as a free agent and played for the Devils coach John Hynes for three years in the American League. In those three years he played 191 games and piled up 666 penalty minutes, while scoring 17 goals and getting 22 assists. He is 26-years-old and knows his role, but does not know how to act.
Brandon Prust hit the nail on the head with his tweet after the incident. “Wow Bobby Farnham ur so tough acting like that after fighting a 19 year old. Go back to the A.”
If you missed it, after the fight Bobby Farnham did half a lap and was waving at the crowd and pounding his chest. It was all about him. He wanted to be the show and the center of attention. The league has a rule about inciting an opponent, but it only calls for a 10-minute misconduct and is never called. Farnham is old enough to know better. He showed no respect for the player he was fighting or for their team.
What goes around comes around and justice will prevail.