Have you ever sent a player into a game to get into a fight?
(24 of 30 NHL coaches responded)
Last week a Canadian court convicted former Bruins defenseman Marty McSorley of assault with a weapon for bludgeoning Canucks forward Donald Brashear in a game last February, and sentenced him to 18 months' probation. During the trial Vancouver coach Marc Crawford testified that he'd never sent a player onto the ice to fight, a contention that incensed McSorley. "Let's just say I had players volunteering to give contradictory testimony," said McSorley. SI recently asked NHL coaches—not for attribution—whether they had ever sent a player over the boards to mix it up. Although the vast majority said no, several qualified their responses by saying something like, "Not really, but they knew when I sent them in what they had to do." As for those who admitted to ordering hits, the answer was self-evident. ("Duh, of course," was one response.) The yes-men also asserted that they're not as small a minority as it appears. As one coach said, "Anybody who said no to that question is lying."