Probably the strangest part of the night when the San Jose Sharks faced the Chicago Blackhawks in the Madhouse on Madison was when the two teams’ captains, Jonathan Toews and Joe Thornton, dropped the gloves. Both of them clad in the number 19, Toews started it with a few pushes and shoves, but the elder Thornton–in both age and years played in the NHL–gave it right back to him punch for punch. In fact, in the end, Thornton got the takedown.
It was a thoroughly unusual experience, much like the meteorite that struck Chelyabinsk, Russia earlier in the day. Perhaps that’s what happened–maybe was due to an off-balance in the cosmos, something more celestial that caused these two infrequent fighters (Thornton’s usually good for a fight or two a season, but the Blackhawks have won more Stanley Cups than Toews has fought in his career) to go at it like enforcers.
Here’s the video of this unusual occasion. It’s not Russian car dashboard camera, but it will do:
Sometimes a fight can get the blood pumping in the vessels of the guys on one side or the other of the conflict. I am not always against the idea of using a little fisticuffs to wake up a team that seems drowsy because sometimes it works. Sure, it was unusual to see these two go, but sometimes when the unexpected ones do something out of their comfort zone, it creates opportunity.
But did captain Jumbo Joe spur his team to victory when he took down Toews? Nope, not at all. In fact, the Blackhawks broke through first and put up the first goal of the night about four minutes after the two captains were punished for their misdeeds. Sure, the Sharks did eventually score one and spoil the chance of a Chicago shutout, but that’s all they were able to do as they lost 4-1.
So, their February skid continues. If January was brightest day for them, February so far has been darkest night. At this rate, it feels like the only measure of comfort for them is the fact that February is the shortest month of the year and they only have to play five more games before March comes in like a lion–or an errant piece of space crud–and maybe, just maybe, brings with it some new life for the Sharks.
At least they can also take comfort in the fact that their captain can hold his own in the figurative boxing ring if need be.