I guess I was naïve in thinking that NHL hockey players were genuinely trying to play hockey and that the games weren’t staged spectacles, unlike professional wrestling. Based on a quote from the Leafs’ Frazer McLaren in a CBC article, it seem I was wrong:
McLaren, noting the Leafs had a flat start last time out, said he asked [Ottawa Senator Dave] Dziurzynski to fight.
“I was just trying to get us going early. I asked him [to fight] and he actually said no, so I thought we weren’t going to go and then he ended up dropping his stuff there when the puck dropped,” he said. “He’s a big guy and he actually gave me a few good ones early there.
I can’t recall seeing a quote from an NHL player admitting that the fights were staged before. I think this is why I much prefer watching Olympic hockey games rather than NHL games. At least in the Olympics the hockey players are trying to win the game rather than follow some elaborately choreographed script. (If I’m wrong about this, too, please don’t tell me.)