THIS STORY HAS BEEN FORMATTED FOR EASY PRINTING

Imagine hockey without the goons

Boston Bruins left wing Milan Lucic slugs Buffalo Sabres defenseman Craig Rivet during a game in April. Boston Bruins left wing Milan Lucic slugs Buffalo Sabres defenseman Craig Rivet during a game in April. (Barry Chin/Globe Staff)
December 23, 2010

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I ALWAYS enjoy reading the Sunday column on the National Hockey League by Kevin Paul Dupont. “No need to throw a blanket over Linus’’ (Sports, Dec. 19), regarding the overtime shootouts in the NHL, was right on. I do not like them, and they are, to use Dupont’s term, a sad gimmick to end what has been 60 minutes of hard work by all the skaters. However, his further support of fighting is perplexing, since fighting is also nothing more than a gimmick.

Hockey is the only sport that allows fighting. While I do like passion for the game, allowing fighting serves only to turn the contest over to the goons, of which the Bruins always seem to have an ample supply.

This makes the NHL at times look like nothing more than a “beer league.’’ I played in these adult recreational leagues for more than 25 years, and the similarities are glaringly obvious.

This point is only underscored by the blatant inability of the NHL to respond to head shots such as the one Marc Savard suffered, and that still occur all too often in the league.

Lawrence Tucker
South Hadley