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"Yes, I believe a player should get a game misconduct for fighting. We penalize and suspend players for making contact with the head while checking, in an effort to reduce head injuries, yet we still allow fighting.

"We're stuck in the middle and need to decide what kind of sport do we want to be. Either anything goes and we accept the consequences, or take the next step and eliminate fighting."

-Steve Yzerman, GM of the Tampa Bay Lightning talking with Darren Dreger of the Dreger Report at TSN.  Read more on this topic...

Filed in: NHL Teams, Tampa Bay Lightning, NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: steve+yzerman

Comments

perfection's avatar

while I don’t love the idea of automatic ejections (you will likely have more pests trying to bait scorers into fights), I do think making fighting an ejection would probably once and for all phase the one dimensional goon out of the game and that I think would be a huge positive. It would also likely stop people starting fights after a clean check.

But then again, supposedly there’s already an instigator rule on the books. I’m confused why any time a clean hit is made and a third party comes over and a fight breaks out how that’s not an automatic instigator penalty. I’d think that circumstance is precisely in the spirit of why the rule even exists. At least if someone instigates a fight after a dirty play or a cheap shot it has the logic of some kind of justice being served. But having to watch Kronwall challenged to a fight every time he lays someone out cleanly is getting tiresome.

they could always start with automatic 10min misconducts to go with the majors and then phase in ejections a little later?

Posted by perfection from LaLaLand on 10/02/13 at 02:04 PM ET

Hank1974's avatar

Well said Stevie (and you too avatar).
I think anyone who even instigates a fight (even if the other party does not comply) should also get a game misconduct.

Watching slow boats like Parros, Scott and Orr patrol the ice is a bore. Their fights are boring and they lend nothing to the skill of the game.

But, like Stevie said, pick one side or the other. If they choose to keep it in the game, then let it all out.
Don’t even give the guys penalties for fighting. Maybe just 2min each for delay of game.
And no holds barred either. If you’re allowed to fight, then go ahead and eye gouge, headbutt, knee, elbow, bite, pull hair, etc.
I’ve always found it ridiculous that the NHL states fighting is illegal, but then allows it, but then has certain rules for fights.
It’s hilarious! It’s like “Look, hooking is illegal, but when you do it, you can only hook between the waste and knees, and you can only hook 50% of your strength. And don’t even think about removing your shin guards before getting into a hooking contest!”

At one time, there was just as much fighting in the NBA as there was in the NHL. Guys used to take boxing lessens to survive out there.
Then the Rudy Tomjanovich incident occurred and the NBA came down hard.
Since then, the once near bankcrupt league erupted in popularity.
Who’s to say the same couldn’t happen to the NHL?

Besides, fighting does absolutely nothing to stop cheapshots (case in point; Matt Cooke and Raffi Torres).
Fighting is for entertainment purposes. Nothing more. And I’m entertained by them.
I never leave the room or my seat when one breaks out.
I probably wouldn’t leave my seat if they brought out monkeys to knife-fight between periods either.
But just because it’s entertaining doesn’t mean it has to be in the game.
The best hockey every year takes place at the World Juniors and every four years at the Olympics.
The NHL should work towards mimicking that level of play and entertainment.
If it needs fighting to sell tickets, then that speaks volume about the product the NHL is serving us.

Posted by Hank1974 on 10/02/13 at 02:51 PM ET

Avatar

I understand what Stevie Y is saying, but there is a difference between a cross-check to the head and a fight. A head shot that is delivered in the course of action is one-sided and delivered on an unsuspecting player, a fight is mutually agreed to by both parties.  If one side decides to fight someone unwilling, there is a penalty for that as well.


IF the NHL were to hand out suspensions and GM and players would accept them at the rates we see at international competition then you probably could do away with fighting. What to do about the flagrant boarding that causes injuries once teams are already eliminated is something that not even international hockey has tackled sufficiently.

Posted by hockey1919 from mid-atlantic on 10/02/13 at 03:20 PM ET

Ajax19's avatar

At one time, there was just as much fighting in the NBA as there was in the NHL. Guys used to take boxing lessens to survive out there.
Then the Rudy Tomjanovich incident occurred and the NBA came down hard.

I’ve never heard this or knew of this about the old NBA.  Is it true?  Was fighting openly allowed in basketball?  Was it as common as in the NHL? 

Since then, the once near bankcrupt league erupted in popularity.
Who’s to say the same couldn’t happen to the NHL?

I am not sure about that correlation.  The NBA surged in popularity in large part due to the star power of Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Dr. J and Michael Jordan.  The league has taken off from there. 

While it’s impossible to rule out the notion that “but for fighting” the NHL would be a much more popular sport, I don’t see it.  I don’t know of anyone whose only reason they don’t watch hockey is because of the fighting. 

Hockey isn’t that popular in the U.S. for many reasons:  it’s equipment is expensive, add on the need for ice and ice time, it makes it very hard for kids to play, the rules can be confusing and it’s not on ESPN (at all).

I never leave the room or my seat when one breaks out.

Me either.

I probably wouldn’t leave my seat if they brought out monkeys to knife-fight between periods either.

I don’t think I’d have any interest in this and would definitely leave my seat and very likely the arena.

The best hockey every year takes place at the World Juniors and every four years at the Olympics.
The NHL should work towards mimicking that level of play and entertainment.

The only way the NHL could actually “mimick that level of play and entertainment” would be to contract the league down to 8 teams or so and have the season last all of 10 - 20 games in a tournament or playoff style format.  This is not feasible.

Posted by Ajax19 on 10/02/13 at 03:33 PM ET

Avatar

And instead of ice and with skates, hockey should be played in giant inflatable bouncehouses with socks.

The point, obviously, is that these are inherently dangerous sports to play, and it is the inherent danger that makes them fun to watch.  For good or ill with regards to how that speaks to the human condition, it’s true.  Yeah, people like watching golf too, but competition in and of itself isn’t enough to warrant comparably significant fan support.

Golf took off because of a transcendent superstar.  The NBA without LeBron would be much weaker.  Baseball’s a struggling sport buoyed mostly by a ferociously long year, local television deals and, frankly, a positively ridiculous salary system.  The NFL and the the NHL don’t always have those kinds of players, being much more team oriented and therefore it’s much harder to sustain an individual’s superstar status.

All of that aside, fighting is an integral part of the game of hockey, much more so than it is in any other sport save, well, boxing.  Fighting, strictly speaking, is penalized far less severely than most normal infractions because in the vast majority of cases one guy from each team is going, while a trip or a hook or a hold puts one team down a man.

There’s a reason for that.  It’s because fighting is supposed to happen in a hockey game.  It is allowed.  There is both an explicit and implicit structure within which fighting is an acceptable outlet.

I think it is absurdly shortsighted and obtuse to think that removing fighting from the game would make it inherently safer for players at large.  It would not.  All it would do is turn the percentage of players who primarily fight into salesmen at Sears.

So sure, I suppose they’d be safer.  I bet if you asked them all they’d rather rack up 180 PIMs a year than hard sell someone on a dishwasher.  What someone is willing to sacrifice should be a consideration here.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 10/02/13 at 04:37 PM ET

Red Winger's avatar

All it would do is turn the percentage of players who primarily fight into salesmen at Sears.

That would be a positive.

Posted by Red Winger from Sault Ste Marie on 10/02/13 at 04:56 PM ET

Savage Henry's avatar

Sears will be extinct before the ‘enforcers’ are.  Not to say I expect either to last long, but they’re going to need a better alternate career.

Posted by Savage Henry on 10/02/13 at 06:04 PM ET

Hank1974's avatar

It’s because fighting is supposed to happen in a hockey game.  It is allowed.  There is both an explicit and implicit structure within which fighting is an acceptable outlet.

Wrong. It’s ‘allowed’ or ‘supposed’ to happen in the NHL, not hockey.
Look at the world Jr.s and Olympics. No fighting and the hockey is fantastic.
And if you’ve ever watched the hockey on display at the Peewee tournament in Quebec, you’d also remark how great the hockey is there too - without any fighting.

The odd dust-up because tempers flare is one thing, but the circus that we see nightly from no-talent hacks like Orr and Parros have to go.
They serve no purpose other than to entertain.
Did the gladiators fighting in the Colosseum help solve Rome’s problems? No. It was to entertain to the people and help them forget the part where they were being over-taxed and under-fed.
Goons help the NHL pump up the entertainment value of the game so people can forget that we’re approaching 5.3 goals per game while goalies continue to inflate, blocked shots increase and quality scoring chances outside of a 4-foot radius become extinct.

 

Posted by Hank1974 on 10/03/13 at 07:46 AM ET

Nathan's avatar

Posted by HockeyinHD on 10/02/13 at 05:37 PM ET

All fair points, but I would say that perfection’s initial comment about the instigator “rules” is still very important. The “retribution” fights for hits that are clean need to be eliminated from the game. They just slow games down and generally don’t even involve exciting hockey fights because it’s a punk going after a guy that has no desire to drop the gloves because he’s busy playing normal hockey.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 10/03/13 at 08:12 AM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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