The problem with passion and sports is, once you get to the top, for many at least, it's the money that drives you.
Because something you were once passionate about, you sold for a price. And now you push yourself differently. Market yourself. You start fights because that's what your paid to do. It's the action that drives in the fans and brings in the dollars.
Take a Jerome Iginla. He gets paid the big dollars and the coaches ask him not to take dumb penalties. That a fighting major takes him out of the game when they need him to stay out of the box.
Imagine if the Flames let Iginla play with passion? Letting him play with that intensity where he wants to fight you because you got in the way. That was the best Iginla, now you don't see that from him anymore.
He is asked to be a leader lead with his stick, not his heart. But what if he did get 10 or so more bad penalties for playing with fire, but scored 15 more goals because of it. Wouldn't you take that? Wouldn't that energize the team more than asking him to play like every other player? You won't see a Brett Lawrie doing that.
Some of them take that celebrity step. LIke a Sean Avery, or an Ovechkin. Sean Avery made 4 million this year in the minors. He had 6 goals in the last 2 years.
Ben Eager, who is the same kind of agitator with hands, had 15 goals and he still made less than 1 million.
So what is the difference between the two players? Avery had that celebrity status. His fans loved him like we love Burrows. Except the rest of the league seems to hate him and we don't know why. I have heard 'Burrows is an idiot' by non-Canuck fans many times. And I couldn't figure it out. How could they say that?
Take Matt Cooke. We still love him, but we could see the ugly side of him after he left. He has done extremely well to try and end his career as someone who is mature and could by all means win yet another cup this year.
So what is it better to be? A Heatley who seems scared of the press, or the celebrity stylings of Brad Marchand?
A Mattias Ohlund who is the leading career points for a defensman in Canucklehead History or a Dion Phaneuf mess who has a celebrity girlfriend and probably begged to go to Toronto.
Which side would you choose?