Is Retaliatory Fighting Worth The Penalty?

This article is being written just after Colton Orr took a triple minor penalty, with only one being offset by the Buffalo Sabres.  On the first power play, Jordan Leopold scored from the point, within seconds of the goal, Kris Versteeg took an unnecessary penalty to give the Sabres a two man advantage.  

As Orr’s second penalty was twenty seconds away from expiring, Thomas Vanek scored to make the game 2-0 only 8 minutes in. Colton Orr’s penalty was a roughing triple minor on Paul Gaustad, because he had made an illegal hit on Leafs sniper Phil Kessel. So Colton, was the penalty worth two goals?

Obviously not. If you saw the penalty, Orr just took a run at Gaustad and threw off the gloves. Orr should have just challenged Gaustad to a fight rather than jump him, causing a series of penalties. I believe that the check by Gaustad is worthy of suspension, but that is not for Colton Orr to decide or enforce, it is for the NHL to deal with.

There is never a reason to take a stupid, emotional penalty to “stick up”  for another player on your team.  The player that got hit would usually rather go out and score a goal or win the game as revenge. The right way to go about that kind of business is to find the player later and ask him to fight rather than throw down the gloves and take a run at an opposing player. Winning hockey games is the first priority and by taking stupid penalties early in the game or late in a close game will surely help in losing the game.

I never got the theory of if you hit my best player I’ll come after you. Isn’t that more incentive to hit a team’s best player because as a reward you get a power play? In the NHL all of the players have been hit and very few of them are intimidated enough by an enforcer that they will stop.

As stricter penalties are being called, enforcers like Orr have to be more careful about how they protect their teammates, so as not to harm their own team.