Hockey Fights- A Player’s Perspective: Paul Bissonnette


October 13, 2013; Raleigh, NC, USA; Phoenix Coyotes forward Rob Klinkhammer (36) is congratulated by forward Paul Bissonnette (12) after his 2nd period goal against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Center. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

I’m not going to bother with a silly introduction today because I did a very special interview for part 15. I interviewed the one, the only Mr. Paul Bissonnette. In case you haven’t noticed I am a big fan of BizNasty and if you have never heard of this guy in your life let me enlighten you.

Bissonnette currently plays for the Phoenix Coyotes and his claim to fame is basically being a fourth liner. He has made a name for himself through being hilarious on twitter by making fun of himself. If you don’t follow him you really should his handle is @BizNasty2point0 but some of his material may offend so do so at your own risk. He also has a line of clothing for Sauce Hockey centered around being a fourth line grinder with slogans like iGrind and 4L2 (4th line for life).

With all the emphasis he puts on being a grinder it was only appropriate that I interview him for this series. He is practically the 4th line spokesperson. As for his fight numbers in his career he has been in 30 OHL fights, 63 AHL fights, 14 ECHL fights, and 60 NHL fights.

Here is what Paul had to say:

What is the purpose of fighting in hockey?

It could be to get the crowd energized. Say you’re down a couple of goals and the crowd gets quiet, maybe you grab some energy back and grab some momentum back. Other reasons are to stick up for a teammate or to protect guys and let them know that you’re not going to be bullied around.

 If fighting was taken out of the game, how would that change the game?

I don’t know because it’s never been done, but I think there is a place in the game for it. Is that a biased answer because I fight? Yeah, but I can see both sides of the argument. But then again, if you don’t want to fight you don’t have to fight. You can just turtle and take a punch to the back of the head and the refs will just jump the guy and that’s it, which doesn’t happen very often anyways. People argue that the game really doesn’t police itself, well, I know that when they put a fighter in the lineup that’s a tough guy that keeps me a little more honest… You have the anxiety in your body. I think it’s effective. A lot of people will argue it, but have they ever been in that situation? Have they ever played the game? So, that’s a question you have to ask yourself.

Hitting causes the same amount if not more injuries than fighting, why do you think most of the negative attention is focused on fighting rather than hitting?

If you look at concussions and head injuries based on the amount of fighting compared to not, it’s drastic. All the head injuries are coming from cheap shots when guys aren’t expecting them.

Everything is so media driven now. Anytime there is an issue the media will nitpick it, nitpick it, nitpick it until they change it. Well, the media wanted to change the game as far as no obstruction or interference. Well, that meant less guys being held up by defensemen, so more forwards coming in to run defensemen. Well, that’s when the headshots started. So, now the headshots started and now there’s chaotic fights going on because of headshots, but now they want to take out fighting. Well, maybe you’re thinking about the wrong issue. Back in the day you really didn’t see many head injuries and guys going down with cheap shots because they were afraid. First of all, there was more than one tough guy on a team, and you could hold up the forwards coming in to barrel in on a defenseman. So, there really weren’t many of those big, huge hits. So, there’s a lot to look at. I just think that everything is so media driven, they just need to point the finger at something, so why not point it at the guys with no skill that are protecting other guys?

What fight in your career are you most proud of? Why?

Just the ones where I’m doing it for the right reasons and sticking up for my teammates.

*Note* I just want to thank Paul for answering my questions and Greg Dillard for setting up the interview.