In case you weren't aware, or have been under a rock the last few days, McDavid -- the consensus number one overall pick in this years draft -- broke his hand in a fight Tuesday night. Aside from the conversation over his own decision making, McDavid's injury is being used to bolster some peoples arguments against fighting in hockey.
A few weeks back, Matt Martin spoke with Islanders Point Blank about his thoughts on fighting in the sport when the debate was being talked about throughout the NHL. Martin is not a player who's sole purpose is to fight, but he is not hesitant to drop the gloves to defend a teammate or himself.
It should be noted that this conversation took place before the McDavid incident and Martin is speaking on fighting in general in the NHL.
IPB: What place do you think fighting has in the sport?
Martin: I think it's always going to have a place in the sport. I mean, obviously that's not my decision to make. People with more power are going to make those decisions, but I think it's something that the players like in the game. I think the league is starting to get away from the stage fighting, and I don't necessarily think that's a bad thing. It's good to see guys fighting out of emotion, it's good to see guys competing. You see Jamie Benn and [Nick] Foligno the other night and you see [Ryan] Nugent-Hopkins and Dan Hamhuis fighting, and guys like this fighting. They seem to want to do it, they seem to get involved and it's a physical game. It's always been a part of the game. I think it has a place in the game and I don't really see it changing.
IPB: What are your thoughts on some of the stuff being said about fighting in the sport? More specifically the comments made in recent weeks by Mike Milbury saying the sport needs to grow up.
Martin: Everyone has their opinion. Mike was a tough player. I think he's been in his fair amount of fights and it's his opinion. He doesn't want fighting that's fine. There's many people who don't want it. There's the same commentators and other people think that it should still be a part of the game. It's a debate that is going to go on forever. One that I really don't try to include myself in. I really don't focus on it or pay attention to it. You know how media is. They're going to talk, they're going to find things to talk about and it seems like the last three or four year it's always been a topic of debate. You just kind of learn to get used to it and deal with it as it comes.
IPB: To just take it from the other side, something you always here is that it is a way to police the game. Why can't the rule book police the game instead of the players?
Martin: I just think if there's no consequences for any actions, I guess, you never really know what to expect. I mean, not to use college hockey as a comparison, but you see it a little more. They wear cages in college hockey, they don't have fighting in college hockey and you find they don't have as much control of their sticks. I've watched a few games and you see a lot more dirty hits, I feel like. It's just when there's fighting in the game you're responsible in a way for your actions. It's in the back of your head. I don't think you really want just to rely on referees to protect the players, because there would be a lot more cheap shots. Obviously I don't know that for sure, but just from history from it I think it should be a part of the game. Guys obviously have always liked it to be a part of the game and other dressing rooms seem to want it too. It's a tough question to answer because it's an ongoing debate, but I like it and I think it should stay.