Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Thoughts on fight night

Call it what you will… selfish, arrogant, or just plain stupid… but Rick DiPietro’s decision to leave the crease Monday night was the right one. He didn’t do it for himself, he didn’t do it for glory (though his raised finger may suggest otherwise), and he certainly didn’t do it for the hell of it. He made the decision because Chris Simon was stuck fighting a man on each side of him (both established fighters) for the second time in the game and it needed to be addressed.

Granted, the fight with Montoya probably wasn’t necessary. But DP was challenged, even though Montoya appeared to think twice about his venture down the ice.

To the fans who suggest DP made a poor decision: Would you prefer he back down? Would this send the right signal to the Rangers and the rest of the league?

As for his concussion history, I would worry more about suffering one courtesy of a Sean Avery cheap shot or a Sheldon Souray blast to the mask. I’d take the chance any day to show that this team isn’t one to be pushed around.

Besides, DP added some much-needed spark to the Battle of New York, and, in doing so, gave Montoya the beating of his young career.

It will be interesting to see the lineup that the coaching staff puts together for Friday night at MSG. Ted Nolan’s comments suggest Simon will dress. The Rangers and Avery, who was absent from the lineup Monday, are ready to engage in more of the same. The big question is whether or not DiPietro is scratched in the interest of keeping him out of harm’s way with Mr. Avery in full-on cheap-shot mode.

On a side note, kudos to Islanders TV for covering the fights both in the highlights package and the replay of the game itself. On the contrary, the league’s video highlights provide further proof that the NHL likes to pretend that fighting either a) doesn’t happen or b) isn’t important enough to include in a four-minute highlights package.

Until Friday…

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