Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 02/03/13 at 11:57 AM ET
from Dave Lozo of NHL.com,
Ask a player, executive, fan or pundit about the NHL's instigator penalty and you're likely to receive a passionate opinion.
A form of the rule has existed as far back as 1937 -- "A Major penalty shall be imposed on any player who starts fisticuffs," the League's rule book read that year -- but it was before the start of the 1992-93 season that the instigator began changing and shaping the NHL that exists today.
"A player deemed to be the instigator of fisticuffs shall be assessed a Game Misconduct," became the official wording of the rule in 1992. It was most recently adjusted in 1996 to levy a two-minute minor, a five-minute major and a 10-minute misconduct to the guilty party. The rule was designed to curb fighting, which statistics show has steadily decreased during the past 20 years.
The instigator rule draws the ire of some players, the praise of others. It receives simultaneous credit for cleaning up the game and criticism for failing to allow players to police themselves.
But how can a rule that existed before Gordie Howe played his first NHL game get so much credit for both helping and hurting the game during the past 20 years?
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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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