Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 10/3/13
Get rid of hockey goons. Keep fighting in hockey. That’s my stand. And it’s not contradictory. The best example is right here right now in Edmonton. There’s no place in this game for Steve MacIntyre. But welcome to the Oilers Luke Gazdic. With what happened to George Parros in Montreal on opening night the cry to ban fighting in hockey returned in a big way yesterday. It became the No. 1 story in hockey on Day 1 of the new season. Judging from the arguments you are either supposed to be for it or against it. It says here it is possible — and advocated — to be both. Indeed it was there to be seen in front of 16839 fans at Rexall Place Tuesday. Luke Gazdic scored at 2:20 of the first period 14 seconds into his first shift in the NHL. In the second period he took a shift in which he visited every corner on the ice. And he finished the shift by chasing the puck into the offensive zone while his linemates returned to the bench busting a gut to make the forecheck. The 24-year-old 6-foot-3 240-pound winger showed in that one shift alone that he could skate in the NHL. It was a shift that Steve Smackintyre could never even contemplate. Gazdic finished his checks. That’s because he could get to his checks. In two previous tours as an Oiler while MacIntyre proved he was a world-class hockey heavyweight he could seldom skate well enough to find somebody to actually check. Luke Gazdic also fought Winnipeg’s Chris Thorburn in the game. And won. Gazdic in his very first NHL game illustrated that he was a hockey player who could play the game at a pace did not consider the puck a foreign object when it was on his stick and could play a role beyond pairing off against the other team’s designated fighter. The result was rather dramatic off a mere 4:59 ice time. The Oilers put Ben Eager on waivers. One might now be encouraged to believe that MacIntyre shouldn’t assume he’ll collect all of the $625000 season NHL salary before he too gets waived. One might also be encouraged that the Oilers are not actually using up roster spots for heavyweights and middleweights like a modern-age gathering of Ogie Oglethorpe Tim ‘Dr Hook’ McCracken Clarence ‘Screaming Buffalo’ Swampton and the Hanson Brothers as your correspondent suggested. Storybook the way this worked. MacIntyre was injured in his only pre-season game in Oklahoma City trying to hit Gazdic playing for Dallas. Gazdic scored a goal against Edmonton that night.
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