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Recently the fighting debate has come back into the forefront. Derek Boogaard's actions of teaching children how to defend themselves on the ice has brought the debate back up to a boiling point, with no end in sight. I have a hard time with fighing because, as much as I love to watch a good fight, I can sympathize with those who feel that it has no part in the game.

I, for one, do think that it's part of the game, unfortunate as it may be. I also feel like it is getting somewhat out of control. I do agree with a good portion of the arguments brought against it. It slows down the game (there's nothing that frustrates me more than a good, fast-paced hockey game being broken up by a fight in the middle of it), players are getting hurt (case in point, Todd Fedoruk), someone could get killed (case in point, Todd Fedoruk). All of these are very valid points brought against fighting. But there's also something to be said about a sport where players police themselves, keeping themselves honest while on the ice. Now, I don't think anyone will be saying that fighting decreases penalties anytime soon. Players are going to get penalties regardless of what happens. Hooking, tripping, roughing etc. are all going to be part of the game. What fighting does do, however, is lend some sort of justice to the ice that the referees simply cannot offer.

One argument that drives me crazy against fighting, however, are people saying that the fighters get off scott free. This simply is not the case. The fighters are both penalized with major penalties; the most severe punishment without getting kicked out of the game. Is it a deterrant? Absolutely not. So you get two of your least skilled players in the box for five minutes. No big loss on either side. But my question is, why not penalize the team? In most cases, those who are fighting are generally out on the ice for that express purpose. As it stands, however, the penalties are considered coincidental and neither side loses a man from the ice. What would be the detriment to penalizing the teams and bringing the players on ice down to 4-on-4 for five minutes? It actually makes it detrimental to the teams to send their goons after one another, it could cut down the needless fights that take place once the game is already out of hand and it could actually make fighting relevant to the sport again as opposed to two giants pawing at each other just because they can. In all honesty, would you rather see yet another Donald Brashear/George Laraque fight (as exciting as they may be) or another Vinny Lecavelier/Jarome Iginla fight? Personally, I'd rather see the two captains going at it as opposed to two heavyweights. It just seems to mean more.

I think this rule change would also appeal to the demographic of NHL fans that do not enjoy fighting. With this rule change, after a fight the teams would go down to 4-on-4, which would increase the speed of the game considerably for those five minutes. In my opinion, this gives the NHL the best of both worlds. It keeps the fighting in the game (while also making it more meaningful) and would also provide increased action for the five minutes that the two offending parties are in the penalty box.
Filed Under:   fighting   goons   nhl   iginla   lecavelier   boogaard  
July 20, 2007 10:01 AM ET | Delete
This whole debate about fighting in the NHL is ridiculous. Ever since the NHL has existed fighting has been an exciting part of the game. Look at the Philadelphia Flyers of the Bobby Clarke days. This was one of the most entertaining teams to watch in the history of the NHL. Every stadium they attended was completely packed no matter what state or what city. Everyone wanted to watch the broad street bullies come out and play hard nosed fighting hockey. Why does everyone feel the need to change the game we love? Because of the lockout? Ever since the lockout there has been non stop talk about what can be done to make the game better. What is wrong with the hockey we had? That is the hockey that got all you guys interested in the game, isn't it? Changing the game of hockey one move after another is a bad idea. Fighting belongs in hockey and I feel should exist more.
July 20, 2007 10:03 AM ET | Delete
I love a good fight that results from the competitive play in the game. Without fighting there is too much illegal stick work. Two guys playing their only shift of the game and dropping the gloves as the puck hits the ice is NOT what I consider a good fight. Iginla vs Lecavalier in the Cup Finals was.
July 20, 2007 4:32 PM ET | Delete
I am a fan of fighting, I think it is something unique to hockey. I do like your idea of going to 4 on 4 during the five minutes though, that would be exciting!What I can't stand is the epidemic of cheap shots and the overall lack of respect players have for each other. I would very much like to see the NHL do away with the instigator rule. That way when a guy like Darcy Tucker decides to take a cheap shot at a guy like, hmm lets say, Ovechkin, then Donald Brashear could happily beat the tar out of Tucker and each would only receive five minutes. Just picuring anyone beating the crap out of Tucker makes me smile.
July 20, 2007 9:54 PM ET | Delete
I fail to see how you think I am trying to change the game, Flyers. I think that fighting is a part of the game, however it is an illegal part of the game. I'm not saying that we should get rid of it. I'm simply saying that the teams should be penalized as well as the players by making the penalties non-coincidental penalties. The only thing that this would change is that it would bring the action down to 4-on-4 during a fighting penalty. I love a good fight as much as anyone...But I'd rather watch a good fight that actually means something and pertains the the game being played as opposed to a fight between two meatheads who drop the gloves with one another the second they get on the ice. Give me a fight between two 40 goal scorers or a marshmallow fight. But the fights between two goons 2 or 3 times in one night? That just gets flat out excessive.
July 23, 2007 3:59 PM ET | Delete
Nothing like a good fight to keep the other team honest. My avatar was one of the best.
April 15, 2010 3:00 PM ET | Delete
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