Martin St. Louis has been one of the most respected and well thought of players in the NHL for a very long time. I don't think he turned into a ****** bag overnight. Something happened, we don't know what it was. When it comes out, he might be the bad guy...which is fine. But currently there's no reason to think that a career class act all of a sudden decided to act like a baby.
Pretty much all hockey players have the same lines. "We just have to play our game..." Ozzie was far more eloquent and funny as a player because there was no pressure to be coherent in interviews. Now he's on the hot seat to make cogent observations and be informative. Much harder than it looks, no doubt.
Ozzie will be OK. But he will never, ever be another Mickey Redmond.
It seems like people are trying to make their case for fighting vs. no fighting by using this incident in microcosm. Truth is, Neil (meathead that he is) shouldn't be suspended for a pretty harmless scrum at the end of the play. Likewise, Franzen didn't "use his stick as a weapon" or "poke a bear" and therefore doesn't really need to defend himself.
If we're being honest it probably went something like this. Franzen was having an awesome game and making Ottawa look REALLY bad at home. Neil, being a fan favorite, veteran, and renowned pest didn't like being shown up at home. As such, he decided he was going to give Franzen a little extra attention in the third period. Franzen, not enjoying being buzzed, clipped, and generally roughed up took a couple of whacks at Neil (as almost ALL skill players do when being harassed, see: Kessel, Phil), and Neil did as he's always been known to do and escalated it into a scrum. At which point the refs took control and tossed them both, partially to make sure nothing more serious happened and largely because the game was out of reach and it wouldn't matter.
No harm, no foul. Opponents of fighting (like me) can call Neil a meathead, and proponents can call Franzen soft, yellow, a coward. But the truth is, this incident is really a poor way of making a case for either.
Neil is a meat head, but Franzen needs to STFU if he's not going to do anything more than talk. Nothing drove me more bat-poop crazy when I played than those guys who would constantly run their mouths but as soon as the game got a little rough they'd run away like a little girl. If you don't want to fight, that's fine, you shouldn't have to, but don't run your mouth after the game.