And fighting comes one step closer to being eliminated altogether in NHL hockey with another vicious result in a game between the Washington Capitals and the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday, October 13th, 2011.
The fight was between Arron Asham (Pens) and Jay Beagle (Caps).
Brutal knockout of Beagle by Asham.
And what are fans outraged about? The fact that, in the heat of the moment, Asham made some theatrical hand gestures after Beagle was knocked out and lying on the ice.
Which goes to prove that in hockey, as in everything, being humiliated by someone after the fact often causes more outrage than the initial instance of conflict.
Drive your fist into someone's face, knocking him out, possibly shattering his jaw and likely concussing him? No problem. You see, that is ritualized and has a long and storied tradition in the NHL. Celebrate the total destruction of someone after the fight? Now that really has a way of focusing people's sense of what is right and wrong.
And I am not trying to be ironic here. That's just the way things are. Not least because of the fact that in most NHL fights (as in this one), the two combatants willingly engage in battle. But there is something repellent about mocking your opponent as he lies injured on the ice.
On the other hand, some fans claim that Asham absolved himself of the post-knockout taunts by tapping his stick against the boards in the penalty box when Beagle got up off the ice.