After Thursday’s widely publicized slugfest between the Sabres and Senators, Ottawa won the rematch last night, a 6-5 decision that also happened to feature a brawl between Buffalo hitman Andrew Peters and Brian McGrattan (who’d not dressed in 10 games). The New York Post’s Larry Brooks, no doubt mindful of how the Sabres/Senators feud has generated more attention for the league than anything else in recent memory, contends “that was the essence of hockey in Buffalo on Thursday, and that always will be the essence of hockey no matter how deeply committed Gary Bettman and his administration are to the misguided mission of cleansing the sport of its soul.”

It’s a violent game and always has been. It’s a game of physical intimidation and it always has been. Chris Drury should have kept his head up.

They can add all the gimmicks to the NHL they want, they can attempt to turn the game into a skills competition, but the attraction of hockey is primal.

It’s taken nearly two full seasons, but the pendulum is slowly beginning to reset itself. Toughness is reasserting itself as a value. Look around. The NHL is again becoming more rocky road than vanilla.

Sixth Avenue should understand that those who would assail the sport because of the images from Thursday featuring the fight between goaltenders and coaches screaming at one another from the tops of their benches have no interest in the sport under any circumstance.

Sixth Avenue should recognize that its primary focus must be on maintaining its core base. Sixth Avenue should be concerned with the astonishing number of empty seats in the lower tier in both Detroit and Dallas on Friday night. These were seats that always were filled before the lockout and before the administration accelerated its program to sanitize the game.

Rather than provide any insights (heaven forbid ) regarding the deadline deal that sent Keith Tkachuck to Atlanta, San Jose’s acquisition of D Craig “Pop” Rivet, nor Dallas’ Jere Lehtinen putting an end to Vancouver’s 6 game winning streak with an OT goal earlier today, instead, we’ll bask in the soothing tones of Don Cherry.