George Parros' injury was chilling but it won't change much
George Parros was sent to the hospital after an injury in a fight. It's reignited calls to end fighting but not much will change. It was an unfortunate accident.
The NHL season got underway on Tuesday night and it was nearly a flawless evening. The hockey action was excellent as each game was fast, high-scoring and close. The only blemish stole the spotlight, though. That was the horrific injury to Canadiens enforcer George Parros.
When tangled up with Colton Orr in their second fight of the night, Orr lost an edge and went to the ice, pulling Parros down with him in the process. Parros fell face-first into the ice and was out, the look on his face in the following minutes empty and chilling. He was taken to the hospital and luckily was released on Wednesday morning with only a concussion. It could have been so much worse.
If there's anything we've learned in hockey over the years it's that any accident or injury that results from a fight is going to reignite the cauldron that is the fighting debate in hockey. In our haste to extract some lesson or assign some mandate as a result, that discussion inevitably gets charged.
On Wednesday morning alone you could find article after article after article slamming fighting or some aspects of it for what happened and how it's on its way out of the game and it might just take the death of a player on the ice to make the NHL act. Please, let's hope not.
Others have also suggested that this goes to show how much of a farce the NHL's new rule against removing one's helmet before a fight is because Parros was wearing his helmet and still was severly hurt. That's just a stupid argument frankly, the helmet is designed to protect the top of the head, the brain, not your face or chin. I'll leave that one there.
Here's where I posit this: there really isn't anything to take away from the Parros incident other than personal horror. Lessons? The lesson is that accidents can happen, especially when you're on ice. It is slippery, you know.
There are already numerous examples that people can use to form an opinion on fighting. While this incident with Parros did happen during a fight and doesn't happen if he's not throwing a punch, it was a total, freak accident. Sometimes accidents simply happen.
If you're looking to use this as an example of why fighting needs to go, you can, but it's just another item in a long list of reasons. I don't see this incident being the catalyst to change minds any more than, say, the fact that three players who fought regularly as part of their job description dying in the same summer. Or a senior league/semi-pro player who did die on the ice, the impetus for the rule penalizing players for removing their helmets. If the day ever does come that fighting is eradicated -- it will, I just wonder how long it will take -- this accident is not going to be the reason why.
For the record I've made it clear before where I stand on the fighting flap and I wouldn't mind one bit if it were taken out of the game. I prefer to watch hockey players play hockey and watch boxers box. I just don't think this Parros accident, as chilling as it was, is going to be the catalyst for change or even the straw that breaks the camel's back. Unfortunately for everybody, it's only going to increase the debate about hockey's odd aspect just when we should be talking about the return of the game -- perhaps this is fighting's biggest crime as it always steals the show, it seems -- for another season. But after this Parros accident that's all it will remain; a debate.
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