Month: December 2013

IS FIGHTING IN THE NHL ON THE WAY OUT?

There’s no doubt about it! Fighting in the NHL is on “Life support”! Will the NHL pull the plug?
As long as I remember, there was fighting in the NHL. It’s been a tradition, inbred in the minds of hockey fans for decades. It has served as a neutralizer, a deterrent to “cheap shots” and it also served to discourage those players who are faint of heart from playing in the NHL. I always supported fighting in our game. I felt that it was necessary to avoid a lot of stick work and cheap shots from players who know that there’s no consequence other than a possible penalty.
Hockey is a tough sport. It’s physical, it’s fast and it’s emotional and intense. Injuries are bound to happen. However, the league can no longer allow its players to deliberately cause each other injuries as part of the game.
Today’s technological culture, public opinion, legal issues and media are forcing the NHL to make a decision on fighting. “Banish hockey fights or make it difficult and costly for players to fight!” Games are all on TV with multiple cameras taking High Definition live pictures. Social Media and networks pick up the most unusual events and blow them out of proportion. The increasing number of head injuries and a former players’ lawsuit are forcing the NHL to pay more attention to the protection and health of their players.
Like the NHL, hockey fans, including myself, must come to the realization that it’s over. Inevitably, the visor will become mandatory. It will, by its nature, curb fighting. I watched fights in the CHL where visors are mandatory. I find it to be barbaric and a senseless demonstration of two players hitting each other’s helmet and visor and risking injury to their hands more than causing injury to their pugilistic opponent. It’s absurd and our “young players” should not be subjected to it.
I’s no longer a question of IF… Fighting will be phased out…But one WHEN and HOW. When it happens, the league will absolutely need to act severely on players who are guilty of “stick infractions” and unnecessary “charging” infractions. Because some players will be a lot “braver” if they don’t have that fear that some tough guy is going to beat their brains out. One suggestion is that the guilty players of such infractions serve the full length of the penalty regardless of the number of goals scored. Fines and suspensions will need to be maximized as well.
Yes, the good ole days of the “Broad Street Bullies” and the “Big Bad Bruins” are over. In the “New NHL”, only a few players fight anyway. The tough guys fight each other and it really has little effect on the outcome of the game.
So let’s move on, pull the plug and let fighting die of natural death… and get accustomed to the mandatory visor and look forward to the day when the first NHL player wears a full facial cage…
Yes I believe that it will come…Food for thought…
HAVE A GREAT HOCKEY DAY!
PHIL MYRE