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10-12-2010, 04:12 PM
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I think it's conceivable that a big/good tilt can fire up the team the way a succession of good hits or one devastating hit can fire up the team, especially if that team is at home and has the crowd to feed off of.

However, I would posit that if the above is true, it's almost definitely not true of fights in blow-out games or tilts between two heavyweights just "doing their job". It's more likely to happen when someone like Kevin Bieksa goes off his rocker and decides to go toe-to-toe with Ben Eager or Kesler steps up to fight Iginla and manages not to be utterly decimated. I think this is the real value in toughness is when it's displayed by core members of your team, not by somebody who is just "doing his job". This is also why Kevin Bieksa has always been an interesting package as a hockey player and so infuriating as he continues to throw it all away.

As has been mentioned, the variables are so numerous that any statistical evidence one could possibly find is far too jumbled to reduce the signal-to-noise ratio. I do believe the above to be true, but I don't think there are any hard and fast rules to when/if fighting will help your team. Moreover, I sincerely doubt it's a situation that can be replicated when your team doesn't show up.

Note: the intrinsic value of the above scenarios may not even lead to coming back or holding on to win that game. It's possible that it serves more as a cohesive agent for the team, building a stronger bond that will make the team more resilient down the road. There's obviously some value in having guys go to war with one another (in any number of different ways), but I think it's impossible to measure.

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