Gong Show

by Ryan

Tom Renney is slowly becoming my other favorite NHL coach. Yes, Lindy holds the #1 slot, but the Rangers coach has impressed me since he took over the job, especially in last year’s playoffs. Plus, he used my favorite term to describe a preseason hockey game.

“Gong show.”

Hey, you know it was a great game when just reading the summary gets you pumped up.

Games like this characterize something that hockey holds over the other sports: fighting. Sure, fighting is juvenile, disgraceful, and all and all a detriment to society; but it gives the sport an advantage when talk of rivalry and intensity come about.

For example, I just watched a Monday Night Football game in which “rivals” Vince Young and Reggie Bush faced off. Their rivalry stems from their playing on opposing teams in the Rose Bowl a few years back, even though neither player has ever been on the field at the same time. Ever.

Compare that to a hockey game that has Ryan Hollweg and Chris Simon sharing a sheet of ice at least a half dozen times a game. There may not be a fight every shift, but the intensity of the game heats up when there is a chance two players will scrap at any given moment.

One of the most exciting games I’ve ever been to was the February 22nd Brawl Game against Ottawa. There was something about the melee that made that game mean much more than than it should have. In reality it was just two points, but a shootout win that night made it the kind of game that keeps you from sleep that night because you are still full of adrenaline.

“Somehow I don’t think when two points are on the line you’re going to see a whole lot of that.”

Renney is right about that, too. Games like this are very rare, and when they do count players are less likely to act in ways that warrant ejections. Even so, games like this make the wait for real hockey almost unbearable. Sure, it may not happen again, but don’t we all watch in hopes of seeing the unlikely?