Goon: Last of the Enforcers is available for streaming in the US this weekend. It’s a brutal and fun film, well shot, with lived-in performances by Seann William Scott (in the role he was born to play) and Liev Schreiber.
Writer and director Jay Baruchel has been making the podcast rounds over the past week to promote the release. He’s been on Marc Maron’s WTF, Bullseye with Jesse Thorn, and Puck Soup. Speaking with Greg Wyshysnki and Dave Lozo on that last one, Baruchel explained the allure of fighting in hockey and why its opponents’ arguments are empty:
“With medical data, the people that have found it unpalatable now have a moral reason to find it unpalatable. Whereas I feel like the greatest ill for players facing head trauma now is hitting from behind and elbows to the side, getting cheap-shotted. When two men drop their gloves and elect to fight each other, they’re exerting agency. They’re electing to be there. When a kid gets run into the boards from behind, they don’t have a choice in the matter.”
Baruchel’s point about the danger of bad hits and speed is well taken. Two of the worst NHL injuries in the past decade, Marc Savard’s and Sidney Crosby’s, had nothing to do with fighting. But, in another sense, Baruchel is also right about fighting itself. He is correct that fighting is a choice, but too often it is a choice made only by marginal players whose alternative is not to play in the NHL at all.