Most of the times it happens, you don't expect it. It comes out of nowhere and redefines the game for a moment or longer. If you're in the arena, the event can send the entire attending population into a tizzy. If you're at home, you sometimes get the focus on the event and sometimes are left screaming at the TV, "Show me a replay! Show a replay!"
The event is the big hit, and what it can do to a game is shake up momentum or simply punctuate an effort by one team or another. It can be great to watch and get your heart pumping...
And that's where I run out of empty rhetoric. This post is part of sponsored advertisement series for EA's NHL '14 which has a new physics programming engine to make hits more realistic inside the game. And I'm supposed to glorify hits to accentuate the game and this aspect of the game.
While I don't mean to sound like I'm downplaying the sponsor, I think there is the necessity to remind that big hits carry consequences that can't e reset by controller-inserted code. Big hits can cause injuries and do physical damage to people.
While the real world has rules and safeguards against recklessness in big hits, that isn't anywhere close to a perfect system to keep players from crossing a line in delivering checks. Usually it'll be around February or March in a standard NHL season when that line is explicitly crossed and the thrilling big-hit is turned into a dangerous physical attack. It happens like clockwork, and earns media scrutiny at the time, but ultimately nothing changes with rules or (more importantly) rule enforcement.
There are great hits that have occurred in this league and this sport, and stories behind them... But over-glorifying big hits looks past something that happens all too often: people getting hurt, or people throwing reckless hits with emotion and malicious intent. That and the league failing to find a good way to discipline those who can't control their emotions.
EA NHL '14 is an incredible game where you can appreciate so many different aspects of the sport of hockey and this league that we love. But in the end, it's just a game.... But a collection of 1's and 0's making up the program won't ever be able to experience the reality or repercussions of what a big hit may do to someone's physical being if they are concussed.