Work in Sports
McSorley drawing scant support
Posted: Saturday February 26, 2000 02:21 PM
BOSTON -- Forget the upcoming trade deadline. The playoffs? They can wait. Across the NHL, there was only one topic of discussion: Marty McSorley and his sledgehammer stick.
As players debated the merits of McSorley's season-ending suspension for slamming Vancouver enforcer Donald Brashear across the temple, others wondered about the long-term effects on the sport.
Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Dmitri Yushkevich said McSorley's slash will be seen by players across Europe, and he wonders if it will cause them to bring such a style with them to the NHL.
"A lot of Russians who only got as far as the AHL or the IHL have gone home and they've brought it back there," Yushkevich told the Toronto Sun. "My former coach came over to visit during the All-Star game and was telling me about all of the excitement during the Philadelphia-Toronto games. He asked me to record all the fights on my VCR for him to take back."
Surprisingly for a sport whose athletes often fight one night and dine together the next, McSorley received scant support among his fellow players. Some wondered if he would ever play in the league again; others said he should be barred for life.
One solution to ending hockey violence would be to adopt the penalty system enforced in the German elite league. There, teams can sue other teams and players can sue players for lost wages for injuries caused by malicious acts.
The fact book on Marty McSorley, who until his wicked slash was best known for being Wayne Gretzky's enforcer in Edmonton:
- Was undrafted by the NHL and got a look only by walking on at the Pittsburgh Penguins' camp.
- Gretzky once told a group of young people that if they wanted to admire any NHL player's work ethic, it should be McSorley's.
- McSorley's brother, Chris, also was suspended for the rest of a season and the playoffs - in the IHL, not the NHL - for biting off part of Marc Magnan's nose during a fight.
- McSorley got an assist on Gretzky's record-breaking 802nd goal.
- After being suspended six days without pay and fined $500 for cross-checking Darren Banks of the Bruins in 1992, NHL president Gil Stein said, "This is not the first time McSorley has attempted to injure another player with his stick."