Hockey Night in suburban Chicago

This is what goes through your mind when you working on an elliptical machine in a gym at 3 a.m.

You don't see scenes like the one on the right in the NHL anymore. On Saturday night in Madison Square Garden, the New York Knicks and Denver Nuggets faced off in one of the ugliest brawls in ... well ... it wasn't really all that long ago.

This was the first major fight since what Knicks broadcaster and Hall of Famer Walt Frazier mellifluously called "The Malice in the Palace" referring to a 2004 brawl between the Detroit Pistons and Indiana Pacers.

In this one, Denver's J.R. Smith took exception to a horse-collar foul by Knicks rookie Mardy Collins -- who obviously learned a lot at Temple University under John Chaney. After several shoves, slaps, attempted punches and a takedown of Smith by diminutive Knicks guard Nate Robinson, referee Dick Bavetta did the right thing: he ejected all 10 players on the court at the time.

On Sunday, Jermaine O'Neal of the Pacers -- who was involved in that brawl against the Pistons -- weighed in with his opinion, misguided as it may be.

"Listen, the NHL lets them fight. Fights happen in baseball. Fights happen in football," O'Neal said. "Why are we under scrutiny about our game?"

When was the last time there was a mass ejection of a starting lineup in an NHL game? MLB? NFL? Bueller? Bueller? Athletes need to really think before opening their mouths.


Bruins rookie Phil Kessel spoke publicly before Boston's 6-3 loss to the Florida Panthers about his recent surgery for testicular cancer. "I couldn't believe it. It was tough. I had a hard time with it," the 19-year-old Kessel said. He is expected to be back on the ice in about two weeks.

Kyle Wellwood of the Toronto Maple Leafs recorded his first career hat trick in a 9-2 win over the New York Rangers. Duncan Keith of the Chicago Blackhawks didn't have three goals, but he set a career-high with three assists in the a 6-4 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets.

The Nashville Predators needed a shootout, but earned their 10th straight win over the St. Louis Blues with the a 3-2 victory. Nashville can extend that streak when the teams complete a home-and-home series on Sunday in St. Louis.


Henrik Lundqvist of the Rangers and Fredrik Norrena of the Blue Jackets each got shelled in the first period of their games. Lundqvist gave up two goals 27 seconds apart early in a 9-2 loss to Toronto, then three more in 2:34 span later. Norrena was torched for four goals less than 12 minutes apart in a 6-4 defeat to Chicago.

Atlanta center Niko Kapanen was a minus-4 in the Thrashers' 6-0 loss to the New York Islanders. After registering a plus-25 rating in 2002-03 with Dallas, the Finnish native is minus-34 in 181 games over two-plus seasons with the Stars and Thrashers.

The Phoenix Coyotes drew just 15,551 for their 6-3 loss to the Calgary Flames. The Desert Dogs have yet to sell out a home game this season.


"That's a secret between me and the puck, and I'm not going to tell anybody." -- Vancouver goaltender Roberto Luongo (rear) on whether a second-period blast by Minnesota's Pascal Dupuis crossed the goal line. After a lengthy video review by officials, it was determined it didn't and the Canucks held on for a 2-1 win over the Wild.

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