Usually known for terrifying opponents with quick hands and creativity beyond his years, Erie Otters star Connor McDavid caused all of Canada to hold its breath in fear after dropping the gloves during OHL action Tuesday night.
Taking exception to a slash from Bryson Cianfrone of the Mississauga Steelheads, McDavid dropped the gloves, breaking his hand in the process.
The phenom — McDavid tallied 51 points in 18 OHL games prior to the injury — is now at risk of missing the World Junior Championships, where he would have played a significant role for a Canadian junior team looking to end a lengthy championship drought.
Shortly after the news broke, social media exploded with opinions saying the 2015 NHL Draft prospect should have never dropped the gloves to begin with, calling into question the place of fighting within the game.
I say let the kid go to blows.
For the time being, fighting is allowed within the confines of the rules and though the evolving style of play might suggest scrapping is on its way out, players know the risk involved.
McDavid took exception to how Cianfrone came at him and he made sure the 19-year-old Steelheads captain knew it.
For years, NHL star Jarome Iginla has thrown down the mitts to send a message. And for years, Iginla has not only been one of the most feared goal-scorers in the NHL, he has also been one of the game’s most punishing power forwards.
Not that McDavid is a regular in the ring, but if he wants players around the OHL to understand he isn’t going to accept mistreatment and he chooses to take matters into his own fists, let him do it.
Sure, that decision bit him this time around. But had McDavid left the scrap with Cianfrone unscathed, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. We would be talking about how bold it was for a star to literally get his hands dirty, and handle himself in the thick of competition.
Does fighting have a place within the game of hockey? That isn’t for me to decide. But as long as the rules allow for it, don’t denounce dynasty-type players when they decide to drop ‘em.
Fans love violence, it’s why the NHL has yet to do away with fighting.
Remember when Iginla and former Tampa Bay Lightning captain Vincent Lecavalier went toe-to-toe during the 2004 Stanley Cup final? That is, arguably, the most exciting tilt in the past 15 years of NHL competition.
Fans love it. Some buy their tickets because of it. And until it’s outlawed, I say lay off the snipers and playmakers who choose to go. If they want to outgun their opponent with their fists instead of their skill, all the power to ‘em.