As the fallout from Nyjer Morgan's wacky week continues, one thing that many have been saying to defend him is that Morgan has a "hockey mentality." This is a weird way to defend Morgan's actions, because Morgan is a professional baseball player and not a professional hockey player, but that's neither here nor there. The truth is that Morgan was a hockey player before he was a baseball player, so, quite literally, he does have a "hockey mentality."
Eleven years ago, that hockey mentality was fully on display. FOX Sports' Jon Paul Morosi tells the story of when Morgan got into a fight with another player during his brief tenure in the Western Hockey League. Reading it, you kind of realize that little about Morgan has changed since then.
The incident occurred back in October of 1999, during a game in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan. Morgan was a third- and fourth-line winger for the Regina Pats, trying to make a name for himself in whatever way he could. His team was facing the Moose Jaw Warriors, in a rivalry game that, according to Morosi, mirrors Ohio State-Michigan.
During the game, Morgan challenged Moose Jaw's best player with his elbows up during a scrum, something that didn't sit so well with Scott Schoneck, one of Moose Jaw's players. Schoneck, like many of the Marlins, decided to teach Morgan a lesson, and went after him in a fight he remembers to this day.
"It went on for two or three minutes," Schoneck recalled. "I don't want to say that I whooped him or he whooped me. It was probably a good fight. ... For sure, there were some punches thrown on both sides."
In other words, it sounded a little more evenly-matched than the fight Morgan instigated in Florida, when he was walloped by practically the entire Marlins roster. Otherwise, though, the circumstances were similar. Morgan was trying to make a name for himself as a tough guy, and he was pushing the opponents' buttons.
Yup, the hockey mentality still remains.