I saw earlier that the gauntlet was thrown down in regards to fighting in the NHL. I’m glad that the fights have cooled off in the NHL. However, lets be honest. No one is going to get killed, and fighting will not be banned in the NHL.
First, how does one define a fight in the NHL? I look at it as when 2 players drop the gloves, and start throwing punches. Simple enough right?
Now, watch a hockey fight. Normally, it’s 2 guys trying to deliver one good punch. Most of the time, the guys are flailing at each other, just grazing each other with their punches. Plus, these guys are trying to stay balanced on their skates while trying to land a serious punch. Eventually, someone is going to lose their balance. Most importantly, when one players had enough, or the players tumble to the ice, most players call it quits, stop throwing punches, and skate towards the box (or their locker room).
Here’s the thing, there will always be fights in hockey. Hockey is an aggressive game. Players are going to get hit and not like it. When that happens, whats one way to settle it? Drop the gloves. Plus, as much as we’d like to say, “oh let the ref’s take care of it”, that doesn’t always happen. All it takes, is two players, who have been playing rough all night, and boom, fight on the ice. Plus, it’s possible that the players don’t even care about whether or not there is a penalty. If you want to take out fights, get rid of hitting too, because eventually, someone isn’t going to like getting hit, and even if there is a penalty called, the player may take matters into his own hands.
Also, how many times do players all congregate in one end, and all of a sudden 2 players have paired off and started throwing punches? It happens, it’s inevitable. And no matter what happens, fights will occur.
Finally, hockey is an emotional game. The players stand up for each other. If there’s a dirty hit, someone takes a nasty slash, or a goalie gets taken out, I’d bet good money that someone is going to come in and get on whoever delivered the initial hit. You can bet money that if Sidney Crosby, or Steven Stamkos got flattened, clean hit or not, someone is going to be going after whoever hit them.
Now, I agree whole heartedly with what Eklund said about setting a role model for children. Hockey is growing in popularity and seeing people throwing punches for no reason is detrimental. But it’s part of the game.
However, what about the positive aspects of fights in hockey?
If a player starts a fight in defense of his teammates getting roughed up, doesn’t that send a message that that type of play isn’t going to be tolerated by said team?
What about when a team is losing by a few goals, and a player gets into a fight to give his team a spark and it helps his team get motivated and back into the game?
Plus, look at the way fans respond when there’s a fight at a game. Normally, people are standing up and cheering. It’s a good way to get fans back into a game too.
Now there aren’t many positive aspects of fights... but they do serve a purpose at times.
i’m not advocating for fights. I’m actually glad that the frequency of fights have decreased in the NHL.
That being said, fights are part of the game. There will always be hitting and fights in hockey. The NHL should discourage them as well as dirty hits. I feel that the NHL does this. Well, they discourage penalties for fights (little more work needs to be done on the illegal hits). However, I come back to the problem I pointed out at the start of this blog...
Hockey is a physical game. When players are throwing hits, eventually someone’s going to drop the gloves. It’s even happens in college hockey, where players aren’t supposed to fight. I’ve seen it happen, despite that if college players get into a fight, they are ejected, and then suspended at least 1 game. No matter what level one is playing hockey at, fights are inevitable.
If you’re going to take fighting out of the game, taking hitting out too. Just let the guys skate around, and we can have a boring hockey game, just like the All-Star game every year (a game where the score is 14-11, no one is checked, and every 2 minutes there’s a breakaway/odd man rush? That’s not a hockey game). Hockey is a physical game, and should be played as such.
Fighting is an inevitable a part of the game of hockey. It should be discouraged, just like hits to the head, and hits from behind. Fights are less frequent, and being used at times to serve a purpose, be it to defend a teammate, or provide a spark. In my eyes, thats the best we as NHL fans can ask for in regards to fights.