Great article on George Parros by ESPN. His incident on opening night re-opened the fighting debate in hockey.
Moments pass. With assistance, Parros stumbles to his knees. But his eyes are still closed, and his head wobbles, then he slips back toward the ice, like a drunk on a barroom floor. Medical personnel roll him onto his back, and it's then that he opens his eyes and comes to and sees the ceiling of the Bell Centre, its banners and steel grids and lights.
Parros feels a dull panic. He knows something happened, but he's not sure what. He is carried away on a stretcher and catches sight of his worried wife, Tiffany, as medical staff load him into an ambulance. He feels the panic again. In this moment, he is not worried that he has suffered a serious head injury. He is not worried about the blood on his face. He is not worrying about when he might play again. He is worried that Orr knocked him out, a tough guy's greatest indignity. Tiffany grew up in a hockey family -- they met when her brother, Josh, played in juniors with Parros -- and she seems to know what's on her husband's mind. So she reassures him. "You didn't get knocked out!" she says.
As the ambulance moves, Parros is relieved.
And just some interesting things about the life of a fighter that don't have to do with the debate and health.
He has his own tough-guy methodology, a science of its own, and as he explains it over beers, it's sensible enough to almost make you believe it will work. Parros fights primarily to protect teammates. He fights to pump up his team and to calm it down. Parros usually fights on his first shift if he's outsized -- if, for instance, he's facing Buffalo's John Scott, a 6'8" missile. Parros fights after he misses a goal, as penance, and after he scores, striving for the Gordie Howe hat trick -- a goal, an assist and a fight. And Parros sometimes fights as a favor to other fighters. As Scott says, "In one of my first fights, my team was down three goals in the third. I said to George, 'You wanna go?' George said, 'Not really. But you'll owe me one.' Now anytime he wants to fight me, I will."
But the reasons Parros doesn't fight are more essential to his long-term health. For one, he doesn't fight if he's angry; that would lead him to take wild swings and leave his body exposed. For another, he doesn't fight because he needs to, as if satisfying a barbaric urge. "If I didn't have to fight, I wouldn't," he says. "If I could score goals for a living, I would. It's a lot more fun, and I'd make a lot more money."