Extraordinarily scary scene in the season-opening game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Montreal Canadiens, as Habs brawler George Parros was removed from the ice on a stretcher after falling on his face during a fight with Colton Orr.
The incident began when Jarred Tinordi and Carter Ashton paired off in the third period. Orr and Parros then had their second fight of the game after Orr was yapping at PK Subban. The two swung wildly. Orr slipped, holding Parros’s jersey, and fell to the ice. Parros followed down to the ice, falling face-first and going out cold.
Orr immediately called for help. Tomas Plekanec came over to his teammate. There was blood on the ice from Parros’s mouth.
The trainers began moving him, and Parros got on one knee before dropping back down. They rolled him on his back and the stretcher came out for the Canadiens brawler. After a lengthy delay, he was taken off the ice and to the hospital for further evaluation. Fans chanted his name as Parros, who came over in a trade in the offseason, left the ice.
One expects this fight to spark the debate about pugilism and player safety. One also expects it’s going to bring more scrutiny to the recent mandatory helmet rule for fighters, as it’s exposed as a faulty provision. Parros, after all, was wearing a helmet and still suffered a significant injury.
In case you were wondering how the new helmet rule would affect hockey fighting, the first 10 seconds of this bout between Mark Fraser of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Travis Moen of the Montreal Canadiens featured two grown men touching their hats to make sure the other guy was going to actually take his off.
And then they beat the crap out of each other.
As per the new NHL rule, both Fraser and Moen were given 5 minutes for fighting and a 2-minute minor penalty for removing protective equipment before a fight.
Part of the confusion was that Fraser wears a visor and Moen does not, so perhaps Fraser was concerned he’d take an extra two minutes for fighting with a visor. Said Fraser earlier this year, in a NY Times article about fighting with a visor:
“It does seem a little contradictory perhaps, because obviously a lot of guys that do (take the visor off), that might be part of their justification,” said Fraser, who has 18 N.H.L. fights in his career, according to hockeyfights.com. “I’d rather keep my helmet on with no visor than take it off completely because part of player safety as well is concussions and falling down and hitting your head or whatever else.”
But as Parros found out: Helmet or no helmet, hockey fighting is a dangerous business.