While some believe fighting no longer has a place in hockey, it's silly to think it can be eradicated from the sport entirely. There will always be scuffles when tensions get high, punches may or may not get thrown, teams will continue to play with an edge when necessary, etc. etc. As much as some folks don't want it to be a part of the game, it'll always be a part of the game.
Here's something we can all agree on: spitting on each other has absolutely no place, I repeat, NO PLACE in hockey. It has no place in any sport, or life in general, for that matter. You simply cannot spit on other people. This is a basic rule.
Garnet Hathaway, a forward on the Washington Capitals, did not follow this basic rule on Monday night during a game against the Anaheim Ducks. Late in the second period, Hathaway's teammate Brendan Leipsic caused quite the ruckus when he laid out Ducks center Derek Grant. Grant's teammates took exception, which led to a good old-fashioned donnybrook. Hathaway was right in the middle of the action, promptly landing a right hook on Grant and dropping him to the ice. Moments later, Hathaway found himself tangled up with Anaheim defenseman Erik Gudbranson, who, at 6-foot-5, 220 pounds, is not a guy you want to find yourself tangled up with.
As the refs tried to keep both players calm, Gudbrandson gave Hathaway a nice sucker punch that sent his head flying back, and to the left .... back, and to the left. This clearly angered Hathaway, whose next course of action was to hawk a loogie in Gudbrandson's face. The entire sequence of events is below:
Gross. A closer look, on repeat, in case you wanted to barf:
Hathaway was given a match penalty for his actions, deservedly so. Credit to him for calling himself out after the game.
"It has no place," Hathaway said. "It was an emotional play by me. You don’t plan any of that stuff in your head, and it was a quick reaction and unfortunately the wrong one for me to a sucker punch."
Gudbrandson, who wasn't exactly innocent himself, was not as understanding.
"It’s just disrespectful," Gudbranson said. "I mean, we’re competing. That’s fine. I’ve got no problem with guys fighting. That’s what this game is all about, guys fighting to win hockey games. And sometimes that’s what happens. But going to that level is wrong.
"That's about as low as you dig a pit, really."It's a bad thing to do. It's something you just don't do in a game, and he did it."
All good points, though you could say the same about sucker punches. At the end of the day, I'd still rather be sucker punched than spit on.