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Wade Belak Passes Away (R.I.P)

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Old
09-01-2011, 08:25 AM
  #351
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Originally Posted by mooseOAK View Post
The days of the enforcer are coming to an an end once the league finds a way to do it.
I agree...I don't beleive the game needs this type of player anymore..the game has changed and the one-dimensional "enforcer" is really not neccessary. I don't know if fighting will be eradicated completely but the need for an enforcer I can foresee as being phased out. There seems to be a real problem with this type of gig in the sport. I've heard Kypreos say many times what a tough job/life it was being an enforcer. Similair to Belak saying how, you knew you had to fight in your next game would cause anxiety, wouldn't be able to sleep the night before. But the player would go out an do it because thats how they kept their jobs...

Awful....I think the modern day fighter will have to play a bigger role...that is someone who can play a regular shift while providing some pop if need be...There are many players of this ilk. I know Wendel Clark's don't grow on trees but he is a prime example of what a tough guy should be. A guy who can play but can drop them if he has to.

I don't think there is any co-incidence here that the players being found dead are all of the same variety....Probert, Boogaard, Rypien and now Belak. Its a sad state of affairs. Especially considering Wade had everything to live for....a beautiful young family, a broadcasting career ahead of him and he seemed like such a fun loving guy.

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09-01-2011, 08:29 AM
  #352
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Originally Posted by 705techno View Post
For all the dillwhistles trying to make a correlation between NHL scrappers and suicide, take a moment off trying to promote your own agenda and see this for what it really is, mental health taking its toll on our athletes, just like it does every day people.
Your post was great, but I don't think many are trying to promote their own agenda when discussing a possible correlation between scrappers and suicide. It's not unfair to question whether their job/role is what contributed to the tolls on their mental health. I'm sure it's not easy for some of them to know that their whole intention is to try and beat someone to a pulp while always facing the same stark possibility of themselves. That in itself can take a serious toll on one's mental health.

I personally think this is something the NHL has to really pursue to determine if these incidents are simply isolated or there is actually a deeper problem here that is finally having light shed on it. The NHL isn't reeling from the sudden death of young, elite scoring forwards here.

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09-01-2011, 08:38 AM
  #353
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This is just horrible. Looking forward to the ceremony to honor Belak and a moment of silence for him at the ACC.

R.I.P Wade

Couldnt believe he was gone.

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09-01-2011, 08:41 AM
  #354
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I still cannot believe this. It's still just insanely shocking.

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09-01-2011, 08:44 AM
  #355
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In honour of Wade


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09-01-2011, 08:45 AM
  #356
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Originally Posted by Transplanted Caper View Post
As I said about Rypien, tremendously sad.

On the topic at hand, while troubling, what we've seen this summer is still entirely anecdotal. We don't know the reasons behind what Belak and Rypien seem to have done, and presuming it's fighting would be a mistake. Mental illness is a stigma that goes beyond sports, so looking inwards and talking only in a hockey context may not get to the bottom of any of this. I'm not trying to pass the buck on head trauma and its impact on the game, and on the life of its players, but it's important the NHL goes in the correct direction on this, and not just the expedient one.
Well said TC. Who knows what this is all about. Perhaps without hockey the results would have come much earlier. Perhaps it was hockey that kept these guys going. Who knows? It certainly deserves much study but in the right light. Depression is an awful thing, just awful !!!

RIP Wade you were one of the good ones. A really good person !!!

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09-01-2011, 08:46 AM
  #357
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There's a huge connection between these players that everyone has missed so far.

Boogaard played 22 games last year. Rypien played 20. Belak played 15. Tom Cavanagh played 5 the year he died. Back in 1992 Kordic played 30.

Idle time is not a good thing for these players.

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09-01-2011, 08:54 AM
  #358
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dagorloth View Post
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k6PCGDlVP_I

Made during the 2007 season with the Leafs.

This video is downright heartbreaking to watch now. Such a beautiful family, and you can see there is so much love there too.

RIP Belak. Sorely loved, sorely missed. We lost not just a beloved former enforcer, but a wonderful human being.
This video makes you understand what happened even less then you already did; seemed like such a free spirit and such a happy family... Really makes you think how deep people can hide their demons. Thoughts and hopes go out to his wife and children to get through this, RIP Wade.

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09-01-2011, 09:10 AM
  #359
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I agree...I don't beleive the game needs this type of player anymore..the game has changed and the one-dimensional "enforcer" is really not neccessary.
The game doesn't need the enforcer IF the NHL controls other aspects of the game that have always been a problem: head-hunting, lesser players starting fights with better players, hits whose purpose is intimidation not the separation of the opponent from the puck, etc.

You can admire these guys deeply for their bravery and dedication and of course like them as individuals but that isn't enough of a reason to continue in that direction. When old school guys express their love for these guys, they conveniently forget the testimony from these very same players about how difficult their life as an NHL enforcer was. That not one of them would want their son to grow up to do that job is reason enough to end this cruelty.

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09-01-2011, 09:17 AM
  #360
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Originally Posted by StarBurns View Post
The game doesn't need the enforcer IF the NHL controls other aspects of the game that have always been a problem: head-hunting, lesser players starting fights with better players, hits whose purpose is intimidation not the separation of the opponent from the puck, etc.

You can admire these guys deeply for their bravery and dedication and of course like them as individuals but that isn't enough of a reason to continue in that direction. When old school guys express their love for these guys, they conveniently forget the testimony from these very same players about how difficult their life as an NHL enforcer was. That not one of them would want their son to grow up to do that job is reason enough to end this cruelty.
At risk of going a little OT here... I think removing the instigator rule is the #1 factor in elminating the role of the "enforcer".

Sure there will still be fights, but theyll occur only after incidents, by your grinders and tougher guys etc. It will eliminate the need to have guys who sit on the bench, like Don Cherry calls them "caged animals", and deal with repcrocussions with each other.

A good example of this is the Cam Janssen hit on Kaberle. 1. That incident may or may not have occured pending on whether or not Janssen was a useful part of the lineup without the instigator. 2. Belak doesn't need to wait on the bench for his 1 minute of pain with Cam Janssen, eliminating the role of the "useless" enforcer

Without the instigator someone likely just jumps the guy who laid out the hit right away and they tangle, and its done with. There's no need to have these big brutes like Boogard, Parros, Belak, even Orr in the lineup, if players are allowed to handle their business in the moment, and if those moments are reduced to a minimum by referees and officials. On top of this the fact that the guy knows he can't just hide behind an official and take a 2 game suspension, but will have to answer the bell no doubt will make certain culprits think twice before delivering a headshot etc.

I'm all for fighting, I think its a necessary evil in order for players to mediate, and no doubt an entertaining part of the game. There is a time and place for fighting in the NHL game, and it is an okay way to self police, but the league needs to delve into this and find a way to eliminate the need for each team to have a guy on their bench who plays 2 mins a night, 1 of which is spend tangling with a guy in the same role on the opposite team.

Nevertheless RIP Wade.

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09-01-2011, 09:21 AM
  #361
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It would be premature to say this sort of thing only happens to "enforcer" type players, hockey has been around for a century and to think this only happens to these type of players one would surmise if this was the problem, we would have seen it come up sooner. Let's not make this a rush to judgement and make this a fighting or non fighting issue. If anything this is a substance, transition, mental illness, disorder problem which includes depression. Make this issue, not about fighting or changing the game.

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09-01-2011, 09:25 AM
  #362
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As big of a fan I am of fighting in the NHL because I do believe it's something that can change the pace of a game when done correctly, I feel awful cheering for a guy who's sole purpose is to go out, throw some punches than sit for a while. Cherry's 'caged animal' analogy is %100 correct.

I hope someone is taking to Colton right now.

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09-01-2011, 09:29 AM
  #363
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Transplanted Caper View Post
As I said about Rypien, tremendously sad.

On the topic at hand, while troubling, what we've seen this summer is still entirely anecdotal. We don't know the reasons behind what Belak and Rypien seem to have done, and presuming it's fighting would be a mistake. Mental illness is a stigma that goes beyond sports, so looking inwards and talking only in a hockey context may not get to the bottom of any of this. I'm not trying to pass the buck on head trauma and its impact on the game, and on the life of its players, but it's important the NHL goes in the correct direction on this, and not just the expedient one.
I respectfully disagree -- while this off-season is (hopefully) an outlier in terms of player deaths, we cannot continue to ignore the larger pattern.

While we cannot draw specific conclusions about each individual situation, the larger trend, coupled with the debate regarding the effects of concussions that is turning the sports world on its head this year, means something. Maybe it's a change in the culture, because players are bigger and stronger than ever, maybe something in the internal drug culture of NHL players is changing (ie are they being prescribed more drugs than they used to?) but something is wrong. Clearly continuing to treat hits, concussions and fighting in the NHL the same way isn't going to change the tide. Of course we can't say "they died directly because they fought" -- certainly the answer is more complicated than that, but we have to asks ourselves : Is the RISK even worth it?

Why even RISK concussions or addiction to pain killers for something as trite as fighting?


Full disclosure -- I am anti-fighting in hockey, but those who stood up after Rypien died and who stood up yesterday and said "this is an anamoly, nothing more" also have an agenda.

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09-01-2011, 09:34 AM
  #364
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Originally Posted by hockeyfanz View Post
I agree...I don't beleive the game needs this type of player anymore..the game has changed and the one-dimensional "enforcer" is really not neccessary. I don't know if fighting will be eradicated completely but the need for an enforcer I can foresee as being phased out. There seems to be a real problem with this type of gig in the sport. I've heard Kypreos say many times what a tough job/life it was being an enforcer. Similair to Belak saying how, you knew you had to fight in your next game would cause anxiety, wouldn't be able to sleep the night before. But the player would go out an do it because thats how they kept their jobs...

Awful....I think the modern day fighter will have to play a bigger role...that is someone who can play a regular shift while providing some pop if need be...There are many players of this ilk. I know Wendel Clark's don't grow on trees but he is a prime example of what a tough guy should be. A guy who can play but can drop them if he has to.

I don't think there is any co-incidence here that the players being found dead are all of the same variety....Probert, Boogaard, Rypien and now Belak. Its a sad state of affairs. Especially considering Wade had everything to live for....a beautiful young family, a broadcasting career ahead of him and he seemed like such a fun loving guy.
Your idea of the modern fighter is how things used to be. Take guys like Rick Vaive and Brendan Shanahan as examples, like Clark they were top 5 picks in the draft and used to fight their own battles when they got to the NHL. Think that Stamkos would ever do that? Schenn only ever fights on certain occasions and he is a physical player. Maybe it is the money they make these days where teams decided that 90% of the fights are going to be done by these one or two guys on the team.

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09-01-2011, 09:46 AM
  #365
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Originally Posted by mooseOAK View Post
Your idea of the modern fighter is how things used to be. Take guys like Rick Vaive and Brendan Shanahan as examples, like Clark they were top 5 picks in the draft and used to fight their own battles when they got to the NHL. Think that Stamkos would ever do that? Schenn only ever fights on certain occasions and he is a physical player. Maybe it is the money they make these days where teams decided that 90% of the fights are going to be done by these one or two guys on the team.
..... it's kinda like sending a lamb to the slaughter, isn't it?

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09-01-2011, 09:50 AM
  #366
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I've been heavy-hearted since I heard the news (6:00 PM yesterday). Absolutely brutal. Feels like I lost family.

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Old
09-01-2011, 09:52 AM
  #367
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Check out Belak's answer to the last question

http://www.thestar.com/sports/hockey...h-star-in-2006

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Old
09-01-2011, 10:04 AM
  #368
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Originally Posted by mooseOAK View Post
Your idea of the modern fighter is how things used to be. Take guys like Rick Vaive and Brendan Shanahan as examples, like Clark they were top 5 picks in the draft and used to fight their own battles when they got to the NHL. Think that Stamkos would ever do that? Schenn only ever fights on certain occasions and he is a physical player. Maybe it is the money they make these days where teams decided that 90% of the fights are going to be done by these one or two guys on the team.
Not sure what your point regarding Stamkos is...Never in the sport was there 100% of players willing to drop their gloves. Stamkos shouldn't have to fight, he is one of the premiere young talents in the game. My point is that the one-dimensional goon like Colton Orr for example is a waste of a roster spot. The guy can barely skate. He certainly doesn't have puck control skills and he has hands of stone. He plays less than 5 minutes a game and if the Leafs ever made the playoffs with him on the roster, he would be sitting in the pressbox (when the games count the most). We don't see the need for these players in the SC Playoffs, in Olympic hockey or an international event for that matter...only in regular season hockey....Why is it needed at all?

I don't mind fighting in the game, sometimes its the most entertaining part of a dull affair and gets both teams going or at least one team. Staged fighting is a joke. Guys jawing at each other before the puck drops and gloves come flying off at the faceoff circle. Ridiculous. How this can be considered "part of the sport" is beyond me...Until GMs (yes this includes Burke) and coaches and hockey "gurus" like Don Cherry stop the rhetoric regarding the "need" for these types of players, nothing will change. Forgetting these are human beings doing these jobs, who themselves have anxiety issues performing their duties.

If Colton Orr couldn't fight, he wouldn't even be in the NHL. Can anybody argue that? He probably is not even good enough for the AHL. If the team needs a tough guy someone like Shawn Thornton would be a good example of a player that can actually play a productive shift and still keep the opponent in line. I'm not sure what can be done but to eliminate this player from the game but something like attaching suspensions to fighting could work. (IE five fighting majors in a season = 5 games, 10 = 10 games etc...) That way a guy like Schenn or Phaneuf can still fight if they have to but most players don't engage in 5-10 fights per year unless that is their sole purpose.

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09-01-2011, 10:11 AM
  #369
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Belak’s warm, friendly personality left a mark

http://nhlhotstove.com/belaks-warm-f...y-left-a-mark/

Touching story for those interested. Thanks

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09-01-2011, 10:13 AM
  #370
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Originally Posted by hockeyfanz View Post
Not sure what your point regarding Stamkos is...Never in the sport was there 100% of players willing to drop their gloves. Stamkos shouldn't have to fight, he is one of the premiere young talents in the game. My point is that the one-dimensional goon like Colton Orr for example is a waste of a roster spot. The guy can barely skate. He certainly doesn't have puck control skills and he has hands of stone. He plays less than 5 minutes a game and if the Leafs ever made the playoffs with him on the roster, he would be sitting in the pressbox (when the games count the most). We don't see the need for these players in the SC Playoffs, in Olympic hockey or an international event for that matter...only in regular season hockey....Why is it needed at all?

I don't mind fighting in the game, sometimes its the most entertaining part of a dull affair and gets both teams going or at least one team. Staged fighting is a joke. Guys jawing at each other before the puck drops and gloves come flying off at the faceoff circle. Ridiculous. How this can be considered "part of the sport" is beyond me...Until GMs (yes this includes Burke) and coaches and hockey "gurus" like Don Cherry stop the rhetoric regarding the "need" for these types of players, nothing will change. Forgetting these are human beings doing these jobs, who themselves have anxiety issues performing their duties.

If Colton Orr couldn't fight, he wouldn't even be in the NHL. Can anybody argue that? He probably is not even good enough for the AHL. If the team needs a tough guy someone like Shawn Thornton would be a good example of a player that can actually play a productive shift and still keep the opponent in line. I'm not sure what can be done but to eliminate this player from the game but something like attaching suspensions to fighting could work. (IE five fighting majors in a season = 5 games, 10 = 10 games etc...) That way a guy like Schenn or Phaneuf can still fight if they have to but most players don't engage in 5-10 fights per year unless that is their sole purpose.
I'm pretty sure that I was clear about what Stamkos was an example of, the big young player in the league who doesn't need to defend himself like Clark and Shanahan did back in their days.

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09-01-2011, 10:16 AM
  #371
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Originally Posted by hockeyfanz View Post
Not sure what your point regarding Stamkos is...Never in the sport was there 100% of players willing to drop their gloves. Stamkos shouldn't have to fight, he is one of the premiere young talents in the game. My point is that the one-dimensional goon like Colton Orr for example is a waste of a roster spot. The guy can barely skate. He certainly doesn't have puck control skills and he has hands of stone. He plays less than 5 minutes a game and if the Leafs ever made the playoffs with him on the roster, he would be sitting in the pressbox (when the games count the most). We don't see the need for these players in the SC Playoffs, in Olympic hockey or an international event for that matter...only in regular season hockey....Why is it needed at all?

I don't mind fighting in the game, sometimes its the most entertaining part of a dull affair and gets both teams going or at least one team. Staged fighting is a joke. Guys jawing at each other before the puck drops and gloves come flying off at the faceoff circle. Ridiculous. How this can be considered "part of the sport" is beyond me...Until GMs (yes this includes Burke) and coaches and hockey "gurus" like Don Cherry stop the rhetoric regarding the "need" for these types of players, nothing will change. Forgetting these are human beings doing these jobs, who themselves have anxiety issues performing their duties.

If Colton Orr couldn't fight, he wouldn't even be in the NHL. Can anybody argue that? He probably is not even good enough for the AHL. If the team needs a tough guy someone like Shawn Thornton would be a good example of a player that can actually play a productive shift and still keep the opponent in line. I'm not sure what can be done but to eliminate this player from the game but something like attaching suspensions to fighting could work. (IE five fighting majors in a season = 5 games, 10 = 10 games etc...) That way a guy like Schenn or Phaneuf can still fight if they have to but most players don't engage in 5-10 fights per year unless that is their sole purpose.
I agree with your view here... but this is where I think the argument is tough to make.

We say staged enforcer fighting is useless, but we agree that fighting is a necessary evil in the game, as player need to do a bit of policing themselves. For example a dirty hit can be followed up by a fight, and thats considered retribution... rather than an opposing player going out and trying to deliver an cheapshot back to even it out. I'm okay with that.

The problem is, and I think it makes sense for teams and GM's is that... they'd rather have that retribution carried out by two guys who sole purpose is to defend teammates and fight instead of having their high priced stars like Phaneuf and Schenn for example, dropping the mits with a guy like matt cooke who flys around with his elbows above his head. The role of the instigator or pest becomes more effective without the enforcer because they know that when they cross the line, one of the other teams better players is going to have to answer the bell, rather than the guy whose job is to come and kick your ass.

I think that eliminating the role of the pest should come first, ie eliminating headshots, dirty stick work, cheapshots etc. That should automatically decrease the role of the enforcer.

If you do both of these things, and then remove the instigator rule (so that the threat of a fight is still a realit), I think you'll see less questionable plays, (no more fighting when a big clean hit is dealt), and less fightning overall, especially less staged fighting. And the majority of fights will be like the Aulie-Hartnell fight, or Phaneuf-Kovalchuk.. which are more or less harmless in the realm of things.

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09-01-2011, 10:19 AM
  #372
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Originally Posted by mooseOAK View Post
Your idea of the modern fighter is how things used to be. Take guys like Rick Vaive and Brendan Shanahan as examples, like Clark they were top 5 picks in the draft and used to fight their own battles when they got to the NHL. Think that Stamkos would ever do that? Schenn only ever fights on certain occasions and he is a physical player. Maybe it is the money they make these days where teams decided that 90% of the fights are going to be done by these one or two guys on the team.
As long as there is fighting being used a tool of intimidation, there are going to be the enforcer types. I think of the modern example of Milan Lucic. Here's a player who's a legitimate NHL player even if he doesn't fight. In any generation of the NHL there are always a few of these guys. Many opposing teams don't like having no one in their lineup who can fight toe to toe with this hockey player so the next best thing is a fighter who is at least a marginally skilled. Hence we have the enforcer.

Even more off topic, I always felt a little sorry for Rick Vaive because he was so often goaded into a fight during his career. I wonder how many goals he might have scored if he had been left to just play the game and didn't have the wear and tear of fighting so often in his career.

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09-01-2011, 10:24 AM
  #373
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I'm pretty sure that I was clear about what Stamkos was an example of, the big young player in the league who doesn't need to defend himself like Clark and Shanahan did back in their days.
Right, I agree but Clark and Shanahan were as tough as nails and Stamkos is not. If Clark and Shanny were still playing, I highly doubt they would let the Colton Orrs of the world fight their battles. I really couldn't see Wendel Clark looking down the bench at Wade Belak expecting him to go fight for him...not in this era or any other era for that matter. I think we are agreeing on the same points though...at the end of the day...the need for the one-dimensional "enforcer" or "goon" if you will is going by the way side. As it should.

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09-01-2011, 10:31 AM
  #374
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So very sad indeed. I think it also would be premature to correlate fighting with suicide or depression. Although these recent tragedies are peculiar.
If a player already has mental health issues unrelated to his hockey career, one would think the enfocer role could make it worse.

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09-01-2011, 10:33 AM
  #375
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I'm really starting to think that fighting should be taken out of the game. It's too heartwrenching to see fine men such as Wade Belak being buried at 35.

I used to be a strong advocate for keeping fighting in the game, but I have turned a corner with all of these tragedies.

Let's just play the game.

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