When you're thinking about fighting in hockey, you're thinking about the ultimate violence in sports. You have a game that, within the rules, just comes to a total stop so two mutants with knives attached to their feet can trade punches in the middle of the ice. The refs just stand back and let it go, you don't have a rush of teammates coming over to break it up and hold everybody back. It's just a part of the game where two guys attempt to cave each other's face in with the hopes that it'll help spark their team to victory.
So naturally you'd think that enforcers, or "goons", would be these deranged, unhinged lunatics who are just overcome with an insatiable thirst for blood. Absolute heathens who only know violence, chaos, and destruction. And sure, there are certainly plenty of those guys out there. But if you want to make your way through the ranks and up to the highest level, there's a code these guys live by. A code which allows these guys to beat the everliving shit out of each other in the most honorable and respectful way possible. And if ever there was a fight to sum up the code, it's this tilt between Nicolas Deslauriers and Mathieu Olivier in yesterday's Flyers vs Blue Jackets game.
Now both of these guys are from Quebec (technically, Olivier is from Mississippi but that's just because his old man was playing in the ECHL when he was born). So there's a good chance they either train together in the summer, or at the very least they cross paths pretty often. I'm sure there's some sort of relationship there that makes it easier to turn off the kill switch and know when to call the fight before it gets too out of hand.
But even still. These are two of the most feared right fists in the game. Just a couple of big boys going blow for blow out there. Their job is to get out on the ice, and bleed for their team with the goal of making another guy bleed more. They could have kept going until one of them finally landed a shot that put the other guy out of commission. But these beauties live by the code, and they know when enough is enough. It's also not the first time these two have done it.
How can you not be romantic about fighting in hockey?
P.S. -- Goon is such a great movie.