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Dejan Kovacevic's Blog

Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Wakeup Call: Look at cause, not symptoms in NHL

Some sporting thoughts before sunrise …

>> My Friday column advises the Steelers to embrace their oldness. Stop running from it, look at this season for exactly what it is: One last chance with a long-illustrious group.

I am highly interested to hear your views on this.

>> So, Arron Asham punched out Washington’s Jay Beagle, the kid was felled to the ice, blood came gushing out, and all the discussion afterward was about Asham’s stupid celebratory display.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the NHL.

I’m not absolving Asham’s antics in any way, shape or form. They were unsportsmanlike in the context of almost any sport, in light of Asham knowing he had done a player harm. But focusing on the antics rather than the fight is tantamount to getting mad at someone who robbed your house because you gave you an obscene gesture on the way out

Why were they fighting?

And why does the NHL allow it?

The answer to the first question is that Beagle rudely ripped off Kris Letang’s helmet. As a result, Beagle definitely had it coming. Maybe someone could drive him into the boards. Maybe someone in stripes could, oh, you know, call a penalty severe enough to discourage such activity in the future. But only in hockey is it seen as necessary to drop gloves in organized fashion, have the linesmen clear everyone out of the virtual ring, then watch two people throw punches until they can’t throw anymore.

I was at the game, but I later heard one of the TV commentators suggest that the Penguins would benefit from the “momentum” of the fight, that they were a little flat before that.

Really?

They need additional motivation when they’re down a goal in the third period to a team they can’t stand?

How stupid.

The Penguins didn’t benefit, the 18,387 fans really couldn’t have benefited all that much from watching a young man look like he was in legitimate peril on the ice, and I just can’t imagine that the NHL benefits from having that on its national cable network.

I’ll say it again: How stupid.

Here it is, for those of you who missed it …

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1pu21QCxcWg

>> Just about the only thing dumber on the evening was the Capitals’ Bruce Boudreau and Alexander Ovechkin taking issue with Asham fighting Beagle, who is in his first full NHL season. The kid knew the rules of the game going in, I assume. If he’s not ready, don’t send him over the boards.

>> If Rushel Shell does commit to Pitt this morning, as is widely expected, the superb Hopewell running back should have Todd Graham sign in blood that the Panthers will have a new quarterback next season.

>> Thanks to all who participated in the weekly chat yesterday.

I will be at the Steelers’ game Sunday, as always, then it’s to Winnipeg and Minnesota with the Penguins the two days after that. That’s Jaguars, Jets and Wild in three days, which has to be some kind of natural hat trick, right?

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