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03-16-2004, 02:34 PM
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The Media and the NHL

Hey all,
This is my first post here although I have been around for a while. I wanted to share an exchange between myself and Jim Ryan of Fox5NY's Morning show. I'm not one to write people and give my opinion but he made me angry enough to let him know my view. I would not have posted this here but I saw that the coments he made were mentioned I beleive in the Burtuzzi thread a couple of days ago and just today saw that Eric Winerich (sp?) stepped up to the reporter at USA Today. Sorry it's long but I could have gone on for pages. Here it gows......

Mr. Ryan,

I am writing this after watching “Good Day, New York” on March 11th. I would like to take issue with comments you made regarding the Steve Moore-Todd Burtuzzi incident in a recent hockey game. Let me first say that I am in no way condoning the actions of Mr. Burtuzzi and feel he should be punished by the NHL for the act, I do find your comments to be infuriating.
The rules of the NHL clearly state that such action are not tolerated (there are penalties in place for checking from behind, hooking, slashing, fighting ect…) and are punishable by penalty, ejection from the game, monetary fines and suspension with loss of wages along with a possibility of all four together depending on what the on ice officials and league executives judge to be appropriate for each infraction.

That being said I would also like to point out that there is a rule for leaving the bench to fight. You mentioned a incident with Patrick Ewing standing up and getting in trouble during a fight during a NBA game. There is a similar rule in place in hockey (Rule # 75 Leaving the Players' or Penalty Bench if you would like to see) where players will face suspension, loss of wages and fines along with there team being fined for joining an altercation from the bench. This however was not the case in this incident. Todd Bertuzzi was on the ice as part of a regular shift and did not leave the bench to fight as you implied.
While most people share your view of hockey as being a sport for thugs and the constant joke of “I went to a fight and a hockey game broke out” I would like to point out a few other things that have happened in other sports that I find to be just as despicable. The Rudy Tomjanovich - Kermit Washington incident where Washington threw a punch that landed just below Tomjanovich's nose, shattering his face, dislodging his skull and sending spinal fluid leaking from his brain capsule for days. Or how about recently where the L.A. Lakers and the Sacramento Kings had a fight in a pre-season game that went from the court to the tunnel and involved several players from both teams. And of course Latrell Spreewell who choked his own coach at practice. That is assault with the intent to injure if not attempted murder. And everyone loved the Knicks and Heat when they would “mix it up”. An How about in Baseball. Don Zimmer 70 something and Pedro Martinez wrestling, the Yanks and the Sox that’s great fun. Or how about the fight in the bullpen at Fenway between Yankees players and the ground crew. Roger Clemens throwing a broken bat at Mike Piazza in the World Series. Whether it was in the heat of the moment or not, this was assault with a weapon. And in football just last year Bill Romanowski of the Oakland Raiders assaulted teammate Marcus Williams. Romanowski ripped off Williams' helmet and punched him in the face, breaking a bone around his left eye. Then there is the cheap shot hit to the head with his helmet by Oakland Raider Jack Tatum in 1978 on Patriots receiver Darryl Stingley leaving him paralyzed. Along with the numerous blows to the head, chop blocks to the knees and late hits that happen each game football is not innocent either.

While ALL of these actions are not excusable they do happen in each sport as well as in just about every facet of life. NONE of the mentioned incidences resulted in nothing more that fines and suspensions. No one was arrested! To single out one and vilify it (the sport) as “needing a Police officer at each game” and saying a player who makes a horrible mistake due to poor judgment “should be locked up” is just in my opinion wrong. It was clear to me that you are not a hockey fan and that’s fine. But to give your opinion on a subject that you don’t have knowledge of as fact on a news program is irresponsible. People who don’t know the sport see comments like this and form opinion that this is not something for there kids to watch, or get involved in. Yet in your next segment you were having Theresa Strausuer doing a piece on Pro Wrestling, which highlights violence and women getting there clothing ripped off all in the name of family entertainment and that’s fine. Fake or not Pro Wrestling is more deserving of your wrath that Pro Hockey.
There is a purpose to fighting in hockey. If you would like I would be glad to explain it. Body contact is made to stop a player from creating a scoring opportunity. Sometimes the player who is doing the stopping is much bigger than the player trying to create the scoring chance. This can be intimidating to the smaller players and their bigger teammates stick up for the smaller guys. This sometimes boils over and the fight is a release valve, which in most cases ends the hard play on the smaller guys. Sometimes it doesn’t work like that but in most cases it is two guys who are about the same size that agree to fight each other. Not a mugging, like so many like to say.

Yes, I am a hockey fan and while I do not like what happened Monday night in Vancouver, I am defending what I think is a wonderful sport. You may not have the same opinion and that is fine. But if you feel that passionately about what should be done, please take the time to learn about the subject before making broad statements and condemning all involved.

This was Mr. Ryan's responce from 3/15/04

Mr. Naumann: I remain of the opinion that if the
NHL wanted to stop brawling on the ice they could do so
tomorrow. They choose not to because of the very
realistic fear that if they did, the NHL would follow
the XFL into oblivion.
Jim Ryan

It's no wonder that the general oppinion in this country to hockey is so poor. This is the first many will hear of the sport and see it as nothing but a joke. I know there is not much of anything that can be done by me to change it. But I had to try. So I did and sent him back this .....

Mr. Ryan,

Thank you for taking the time to respond to my letter. I realize that you will stand behind your view on hockey and nothing I could say would change your opinion. But I still find your view of the NHL going the way of the XFL if the brawling we taken out to be flawed. This to me makes as much scene as saying if there were no crashes in NASCAR racing that no one would watch that so they let the drivers purposely bump each other spinning them into a crash to keep the ratings up. There is an element that looks for the flaws in sport (brawling, race crashes, injuries) but I really doubt all the 13,000 – 18,000 people that go to 42 home games for each of the three local NHL teams go for the chance to see a 20 second fight. I am not a fan of NASCAR but I would guess that most of the 200,000 people that go to the Daytona 500 don’t show for the chance to see someone crash either.

Thank you again for your time,
Mr. Naumann

Again sorry guys for the length and thanks for reading

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