One of those funny things to find two stories posted about the same fight with two entirely different views on it.
Both NESN and the Montreal Gazette analyzed the Lucic-Carkner bout on Wednesday night. Pretty sure you can already figure out who loved the fight and who didn’t. It’s very much a culture difference between the two cities that can be seen in its fans, players and media.
Midway through the first period, Carkner found Looch and asked to dance. Looch, who has pulled back his punches to concentrate on more scoring, obliged. The guy can still throw a wicked punch. Half the time it looks like he’s putting zero effort into his fights and still landing some quality blows.
Seemed like a good move by Ottawa. Trading Carkner for Lucic? What a steal. Only Ottawa and it’s fans forgot how deep the Bruins scoring is. Twenty-four seconds after that fight the Bruins scored first. Momentum changer?
NESN, obviously, argued yes and that fighting still has a rightful place in the NHL:
To those that continue to argue that fights are simply sideshows that have no impact on the outcome of a game, Milan Lucic provided an unimpeachable rebuttal Wednesday night in Ottawa.
With the Bruins looking sluggish and disinterested early in their matchup with the Senators, Lucic took matters into his own hands when he tried to spark his club with a scrap with Ottawa heavyweight Matt Carkner.
The Bruins responded to Lucic’s leadership by picking up their play. Rich Peverley built on the momentum from the fight by opening the scoring just 24 seconds later, and the Bruins would eventually go on to a 5-2 victory.
The Gazette (story also published in the Canadian National Post), however, thinks fighting is overated and doesn’t lead to momentum shifts:
Fraught as they are with other issues in a changing culture, hockey fights get way too much credit as “game changers.”
Go ahead and credit the Lucic fight for contributing to the goal if you like, but the bigger factors were Peverley being given too much room to drift in from the blue-line, and then a shot that Anderson probably should have stopped.
The story also said the Bruins had a third period comeback. They were up 2-1 going into the third. Not sure how that works into a third period comeback but whatevs.
So, what do the teams think?
Claude Julien: “I think that had a lot to do with it. I think that we were so flat that when that happened and he got challenged, he responded well and we scored shortly after that. We almost needed that. The ice just seemed to be tilted in one direction there in the first half of that first and it seemed to pick up a little of our game there late in the first.”
Chris Neil: “Definitely you try to pick your spots. As far as just going out, when it’s 0-0 and nothing has happened yet, it kind of defeats the purpose. Whether it’s heat of the moment, or whatever, that’s when you fight your best and get your team going. If we were down one (goal) it might have been a better time to do it but Matt did a good job for us. He (Lucic) is one of their best players so I think it’s a good trade-off for us. It can go either way, we can get momentum from it or they can.”
So, despite the outcome of the fight and the fact that both teams acknowledge that the fight shifted momentum a bit, hockey fights actually don’t shfit momentum at all. Ever.