Former NHL tough guy Scott Parker has accused former coach Bob Hartley of bullying him into a career of fighting.
Not to be a (wimp), but he was a bully," Parker told the Denver Post. "And he could be because he was in a position of authority. What was I supposed to do as a rookie? Go tell him '(expletive) you'? I did that stuff at the end of my career, but at the beginning of my career, I was just a chess piece to him."
Parker, who thinks he may have suffered over 20 concussions during his playing days, also alleges he was forced to play when he was injured.
"He would call me a (expletive), say that Hershey (the Avs' former minor-league affiliate) would be my next stop, where I'd be 'smelling chocolate fumes all day long.' I remember I thought I had a broken foot and told him about it, and he called me a (expletive) and said Hershey would love me," Parker told the Post.
"Nobody needed to question my commitment to doing my job. But I was just constantly belittled by Bob Hartley. I really have no respect for the man.
"If you're hurt, it doesn't matter. You're made to think 'I have to fight, or I'll lose my job,' " Parker added.
Here is the full story. I am sure Hartley and everyone closely associated with the Avalanche or Hartley will deny all charges, though you know this is a reality for many players, particularly the tough guys, at all levels of pro hockey.
Parker, known for his long goat-tee and colourful tattoos as much as his fighting, played for Hartley in Colorado. Parker was drafted by the New Jersey Devils in 1996 (63rd overall) but never signed with the team, allowing the Avalanche to draft him 20th overall in 1998. The hulking Parker played 237 games in two stints with the Avalanche as well as 71 games with the San Jose Sharks. He scored seven goals and added 14 assists for 21 points while accumulating 699 penalty minutes.
Parker drove a tow truck during the 2004-05 NHL lockout season. Since retiring he has helped his wife establish a successful barber shop and social club for gentlemen. Here is more:
The shop is man cave of machismo once you walk through the door. Avalanche and hockey paraphernalia cover the walls, as do motorcycle and miscellaneous athletic treasures. The decor is pure testosterone. Scott said he created the barbershop as an oasis for men, especially Denver's pro athletes, to come and kick back and just be themselves without the pressure or stress of work, media, family or girls.
The whole interview with Mile High Hockey website is worth a read. I especially enjoyed his insight to his pugilistic trade:
I brought a lot to the table just with my size and everything. So I kind of fought my own fight. The main thing was timing. Timing means everything. If a team is getting the best of you and they have momentum, you have to shift that momentum. If you go out there and bash somebody's head in, and get some blood on the ice, and you happen to do it that way, then hey, it worked. Whenever I fought I was sending a message.
It wasn't WWE. People asked, "is it for real what you did". And I'd say, "Do you wanna see?". I punch 14 inches through an object. I knocked out multiple sets of teeth. I ended careers. Just like my career ended too, nothing lasts forever. You never know your last day you're going to lace 'em up so you gotta live it like it's the last.