NHL Trying to End 'Staged' Fights, But You Can Still Make Their Heads Bleed

Posted by Bob Biscigliano in , , ,


There has been lots of controversy surrounding fights in NHL games. Recently, the NHL has been working on curbing fights altogether, specifically 'staged' fights which the NHL defines as ones that start right after the puck drops (my favorite). They have been discussing implementing stiffer penalties that will deter these from happening. NHL.com has a pretty good summary of what kind of action the NHL is trying to take.

Here's what I think:

The NHL NEEDS fighting. The NHL has made great strides in terms of increasing their ratings and I have to believe it has a lot to do with the fast paced, tough style of play, and the occasional fights. Although the NHL still airs most of their important games on VERSUS, formerly known as the Outdoor Live Network, the fighting definitely toughens up this otherwise soft network.

Did I mention that fighting draws an array of interest to the sport? For example, the Detroit Red Wings brawl with the Colorado Avalanche in 1997 receives millions of views on YouTube. (I, for one, watch these clips all the time. My favorite part is Darren McCarty applauding Igor Larionov when he enters the penalty box for starting the fight, as if Igor is Kenny Wu from "The Mighty Ducks" and McCarty is Dean Portman). Hockey fans have websites that chronicle all the fights and gush with enthusiasm over the idea of seeing knuckle sandwiches flying into opponents' grills. Fighting is, straight up, a part of the game.

Now I realize that fighting can be a bad example to the youngsters who are supposed to idolize NHL players and aspire to be them. I received a four minute boarding penalty on my first shift ever as a hockey player. That had more to do with the fact that I didn't know how to stop than by being inspired by malicious hockey players, but certainly, seeing goons like Tie Domi starting fights every other shift, and even with fans in the penalty box, sends the wrong message to our youth.

I'm all for cleaning it up a little bit, but things could actually get uglier if you don't let NHL players fight at all. Frustrations would mount to the boiling point where it would be inevitable for an uncontrollable riot to break loose. Then, perhaps a guy would see that as the only opportunity to take out all his frustrations and Happy Gilmore someone by taking off his skate and trying to stab someone. By allowing a fight here and there, players can release their tension without letting it build up to a psycho level where people are swinging sticks at heads or initiating other uncalled-for craziness.

Take the following movie clip as further evidence. Sue and Trent are playing a heated game of NHL '94. They are talking a lot of crap to one another and it's revealed about a minute twenty in that the game doesn't have fighting. This leads Trent to cheat and make something happen that is a lot more horrific than letting two grown men throw down in fisticuffs,
(Disclaimer: earmuff any nearby children).



See what happens when the NHL takes out the fighting?
BallHype: hype it up!

2 comments

I like this site. I am a Detroit sports fan and have been all my life. Grew up in downriver area. The blogs interest me greatly and I feel I can get a lot out of the information posted and express my views. I would like to a part of the greatest fans in the country. Detroit Sports Fans.

RJ,

Thanks for the kind words. Feel free to leave your thoughts and comments. Here at Detroit4lyfe we're Herman Moore than happy to discuss sports with fellow fans! Constructive reader input is something we'd like to see more of. You can be a pioneer in that regard and establish yourself in Detroit4lyfe history.

Bob Biscigliano

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