Toughness is innate to hockey its culture its lore but no one is immune to regular human emotion.

So when Montreal Canadiens enforcer George Parros clattered face first to the ice during a fight with Toronto Maple Leafs tough guy Colton Orr it was a traumatic experience even for men who play the sport at its highest level.

One Hab privately said the impact was the most sickening thing he’s witnessed several publicly admitted to being frightened at the sight of Parros lying motionless.

“It’s scary it’s not fun to watch. I don’t know what else to say” said Canadiens forward Lars Eller (who had his own fear-inducing moment in the playoffs last year when he was clocked by Ottawa’s Eric Gryba).

There was palpable emotion in the Canadiens’ dressing room after the game – the teams had to play more than 17 minutes after Parros was carted off – unspoken was the fact the Bell Centre ice surface has seen more than its fair share of horrific incidents over the years (Zdeno Chara’s hit on Max Pacioretty Kyle MacLaren’s clothesline on Richard Zednik Chris Therien’s slapshot to Trent McCleary’s throat).

Forward Travis Moen who also dropped the gloves in a game that featured five fights said of his former Anaheim Ducks teammate that “it’s tough to see him go down like that.”

“His wife’s in the stands so obviously you think of that but he’s a tough guy so I’m sure he’ll be all right” he said.

Eventually he may but for now he’s in hospital being treated for a concussion.

Coming as it did in the first game of the season the incident is sure to rekindle the debate over the place of fighting in hockey although that’s not a discussion players seem especially eager to partake in just yet.

“I’d rather take a few days to reassess exactly where we’re at with the fighting. It’s definitely not a lot of fun to see” said Habs winger Daniel Brière who in the past has indicated he’s lukewarm to the presence of fisticuffs in the game.

Parros a 33-year-old Pennsylvania native who was brought in for the purpose of deterring teams like the Leafs dropped the gloves for the second time of the game with Toronto enforcer Colton Orr a few seconds after Montreal rookie Jarred Tinordi squared off with forward Carter Ashton.

As the two tangled Parros lost his footing and unable to stop himself with his hands crashed face first to the ice.

There he lay while Orr motioned frantically to trainers on the Montreal bench.

Orr will surely have had a familiar sinking feeling having missed 11 months of action after sustaining a concussion in a fight with Parros in January of 2011 when the latter was a member of the Anaheim Ducks.

There was a festival atmosphere in the Bell Centre to mark the season opener and the fans stood for Parros during player introductions and after his initial confrontation with Orr in the first period.

But all that evaporated in the time it takes a six-foot-five 225 pound man to fall to the ice. What had been a raucous building fell cathedral quiet as medical staff attended to Parros and strapped him onto a stretcher.