What do you think of fighting in hockey?

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What do you think of fighting? Should it be banned or is it part of the game?

Tell us what you think.

32 Comments

  1. I_Can_Read says:

    I came to this website through an ad on TSN’s website. Strangely enough the majority of the answers in the poll suggested that fighting should be left in the game and yet, here at least, only comments have been left to argue that it should be removed.

    While I have no great argument as to why it should remain in the game, other than to suggest that I enjoy it, I do not believe that it should be removed. Right now the NHL is the smallest of “The Big Four” in North American sports and it (fighting) appears to be a big draw in the US (Canada as well if you pay attention to the poll results). If we want to consider growing the game then perhaps we should keep fighting in the game.

    What most of the anti-fighting people seem to grasp is that this is still a business, and tickets sales help grow that business. If you remove something that the majority of the fans want to see then you risk the business stalling.

    Freedom of speech exists for a reason, it is unfortunate that those that choose to exercise it the most often are usually the least knowledgeable on the topic they speak about.

  2. bimpsy says:

    They don’t have to ban fighting. Just make teams play short-handed when they have a man in the box for fighting.
    They should also penalize all head shots.
    And ban football shoulder pads and plastic caps on elbow pads.
    And give delay of game penalties to all players who scrum after the whistle.
    And call charging on full speed hits.
    And call interference on players who could let up on a hit on a player who no longer has the puck.
    The game would lose some fans (like the majority of Philadelphia and Boston fans) but it would have a much broader appeal and be more widely respected.

    • bimpsy says:

      And hand out suspensions that might actually serve as deterrents. (ie. Bertuzzi should have gotten a 2 year suspension.)

    • I_Can_Read says:

      See below for a taste of reality:

      “They don’t have to ban fighting. Just make teams play short-handed when they have a man in the box for fighting.”
      Ummmmmm – no. Think about that one for a minute. I will give you a hint :It takes 2 to fight”

      “They should also penalize all head shots.”
      This I agree with. If you have to be cognizant of your stick at all times, you should also be aware of your hits at all times.

      “And ban football shoulder pads and plastic caps on elbow pads.”
      This would have the absolutely wonderful side effect of more injuries from blocking shots. And, last time I checked, there were more blocked shots in a game than hits.

      “And give delay of game penalties to all players who scrum after the whistle.”
      And this would speed up the game a ton. Especially as we take all that time to skate them to the penalty box and make the time-keeper aware of the penalties, then talk to the coaches who are yelling st the refs. Can’t see this working at all.

      “And call charging on full speed hits.”
      You should really put your too-too on and skate around a while for us. As long as they are not hits to the head and one of the players did not take an “intentional” run at the other, leave it in.

      “And call interference on players who could let up on a hit on a player who no longer has the puck.”
      Interference – not so much. Boarding – yes. So I basically agree with you on this one.

      “The game would lose some fans (like the majority of Philadelphia and Boston fans) but it would have a much broader appeal and be more widely respected.”

      I don’t know where to start on this one. I don’t believe you are correct on this at all. If the league went with all of your suggestion, you would, quite possibly, be the only fan left. I believe that the lack of respectability in the league has more to do with wanton suspensions being doled out (or not doled out) that there is no one alive that understands the reasoning behind them. I figure that if fans (or players/coaches even) could say “that is a 2 (or 5) game suspension” then we would see a greater level of respectability for the league as a whole.

      Just thought that I might try to add to the discussion a little.

      Not a Habs fan

  3. go.habs.go says:

    Sadly, fighting isn’t the league’s biggest problem. The NHL has enough trouble enforcing existing rules. Let’s have them work on hits to the head (etc.), first. When players fight, at least both of them see it coming.

  4. idle says:

    I think I have a solution to the fighting/headhunting problem.

    Start a sub league called the NGHL (National Goon Hockey League) and let all the Matt Cookes of the world play there. Allow all the fighting, headshots and cheapshots you want. Hell, award extra points every time a player is concussed. Let the fools at HNIC and their ringleader oversee ‘league discipline’.

    That leaves the regular NHL to the people who can and want to play hockey. It doesn’t mean that the NHL won’t still be tough, just that you won’t have players skating around all game looking to annihilate each other. And if someone pulls a dirty cheapshot in the NHL they can get sentenced to play in the goon league for a period of time. That should straighten them out.

  5. Ace says:

    I grew up playing in the 70’s where it was acceptable to fight in kids house league hockey…the era of the Broad Street Bullies. That said, I think hockey and society have outgrown fighting. It’s a huge culture change for the game and the downside is cheapshots would likely increase with no fear of retribution, some US cities would lose even more interest too. I think the game has enough skill in it to survive without fighting and lesser skilled players that are now goons who offer little else could bolster the ranks at McDonalds instead of pulling in several hundred K in the NHL.

  6. idle says:

    Someone is going to get killed. It is not a joke. Someone is going to get punched in the head and have their face smashed in and fall to the ice and start convulsing and spasming all over the ice and 18 000 people are going to watch them die and millions of others can watch it over and over again on U-Tube

    -repeated for those who don’t want to read my entire post-

  7. idle says:

    Ban it of course. It should not even be a debate.

    In every other aspect of life you are taught not to solve your disputes with violence, but in sports for some reason it’s O.K (testosterone anyone?)

    How many Canadian children grow up watching hockey yet all they hear from the endless puckhead commentators is endless rambling about who should have punched who in the head or who needs to be ‘policed’ by who.

    Kids (and not just kids) get all excited and worked up for hockey fights and watch as tens of thousands of people cheer and applaud but don’t see any of the consequences. Two players fight and punch the hell out of each other and then simply skate (or get carted) off the ice for a few minutes before the come out and try to do it again. How many people are still thinking about the fight later that night when guys are getting their teeth worked on or faces stapled up or dealing with the concussion (or plates being put in their faces)

    Listen to many former players in the league who talk about how much they hated having to fight night after night but only did it to try and stay in the game.

    Fighters and goons take roster spots away from players who have better HOCKEY skills and deserve to play over people who can simply punch hard or often or receive more punches.

    There is enough action and scrums in the game without fighting.

    Banning fighting will not mean it never happens again. I would be fine with a few fights a year as long as there were consequences that went along with it.

    Someone is going to get killed. It is not a joke. Someone is going to get punched in the head and have their face smashed in and fall to the ice and start convulsing and spasming all over the ice and 18 000 people are going to watch them die and millions of others can watch it over and over again on U-Tube.

    • I_Can_Read says:

      I am not certain that your argument against fighting in the game hasn’t actually led you to understand why it is still there. Let me quote you:
      “Kids (and not just kids) get all excited and worked up for hockey fights and watch as tens of thousands of people cheer and applaud”

      hmm, from a business perspective, I say “keep it in, they are cheering for it.” People “pay” to see what they want to see.

      By the way, did you read the results of the poll as you entered this website?

  8. Desi says:

    Fighting should be banned. Checking and hitting is the only violence that should be allowed in hockey. It would be a better game without it. Speed and skill are what makes hockey exciting. Not watching two idiots try to hurt each other.

    To make this work, though, the league has to call penalties whenever and wherever they happen — and suspend dirty players.

    • I_Can_Read says:

      Are you from France/Italy/Denmark/……? The only idiots I am aware of are those that do not realize that their remote control is capable of changing the channel. Remember that it takes 2 to fight and over 99% of the time in hockey they are both willing. If you don’t want to watch it maybe give curling a shot.

  9. bobinsask says:

    Fighting is already against the rules yet the NHL tries to defend it or condone it. It is an odd situation.

    No one tries to defend slashing, tripping, high sticking or elbowing yet fighting is trotted out as part of the game. Many argue, it is a safety-valve. In the era of contrive fights, that is a bizarre argument. Who could call any of those a safety-valve. They are a circus act.

    A true safety valve would be calling the rules as they appear in the rule book. The officials are there to enforce the rules, the players are there to play the game. When did that line become so blurry.

    Football, the barbaric sport that sees much more physical contact than hockey has it right. Players are tossed for fighting. When does intimidating a player outside the rules of play become part of the game.

    It is a league run by dinosaurs like Brian Burke and promoted by dinosaurs like Don Cherry. Is it any wonder that we face these kinds of problems.

    • idle says:

      With hockey people the argument is always that you need fighting to prevent more dirty plays against players. That there is too much emotion and physicality in the game to not have fighting.

      Football and Rugby are two games with more or as much physicality as hockey yet there are rarely fights and they don’t seem to have an endless trail of dirty plays and deliberate attempts to injure other players. They have more respect for one another.

      Watch a football game or a Basketball game. The teams battle hard all game but when the buzzer sounds they meed and greet and congratulate each other as they are leaving the filed/court. Even the teams that ‘hate’ each other. They talk and embrace and often leave together for the dressing rooms. In hockey, giving your enemy any gratitude is considered a weakness.

    • I_Can_Read says:

      Hockey is a business. People pay to see the games and more people want to keep fighting in the game than there are those that would like it eliminated. $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ get over it.

  10. Ian Cobb says:

    Nothing wrong with a fair fight.
    But someone someday is bringing a knife for the Cooke.

  11. Robert L says:

    Fighting has to remain in the game as an outlet. Think the increase in headshots is bad now, imagine what players would resort to with fighting removed.

    • CharlieHodgeFan says:

      Ah, but if there were legit penalties for head shots and fighting, the players lacking basic self-discipline wouldn’t be pros for long. What team wants a guy who gets constant suspensions? What team wants a guy who costs them points from power play goals? The game has to be cleaned up, and, to a degree, cleaned out. Matt Cooke could go tomorrow. A shot like his should be a ten minute power play for the opposing team, and a ten game (minimum) suspension. That would make the point, if the NHL had a backbone.

      • idle says:

        I’m slightly intrigued by a 10min power play for a major penalty and an ejection. It would probably have to be optional though as it might deter refs from tossing players out of the game if it is questionable.

        Maybe 5 and a game for the norm and 10 and a game for… unique circumstances. A double match penalty… sounds good to me.

        If the league won’t do anything about head hunting then at least let the refs do it.

    • idle says:

      Surprised to hear this kind of drivel from you Robert.

      Think of the decrease in headshots if the league would simply start to enforce their rules and actually suspend/ban some of these idiots.

      Why do the NFL & Rugby not have problems with their players giving each other cheap shots and deliberately trying to injure each other?

      • I_Can_Read says:

        While I agree that Roberts comments are a little backwards, he does put his ideas forward in such a manner that you get the feeling that he likes fighting in hockey games.

        His comment also makes me believe that he likes the game as it is. After reading your comments I firmly believe that ice-dancing is more your type of entertainment and think that you should stick with it and throw in the odd curling match to keep your blood boiling (those people yell a lot).

  12. zerolegel says:

    The way hockey is played today seems like a mix between boxing and football, with players skating on ice to make sure it’s more fast and dangerous. There’s also that puck of rubber that distracts only the fools ; if a player has his eyes on it while being hit, he is to blame.

  13. Spartan117 says:

    “I love a good fight. I also love a giant poutine, but I’ve had to give them up because they’re unhealthy. Sad to say, I reckon fighting falls into the same category. ”

    Quote of the day.

    I agree, its fun to watch.. but then why dont we just watch UFC?

    When Hockey evolved into the game it resembles today on the cheerful rink of Victoria Arena (now a parkinglot) the whole purpose was teamwork, passing, and scoring. Checking came along because people were getting aggressive and then that lead to fighting which led to headshots. Every sport has gotten more aggressive throughout its evolution, but in the other sports the administrators saw that as a negative and eliminated it with rules. So why does it continue in hockey?

    The truth is fights bring NOTHING to the sport, they get you fired up, but dont actually help you do anything during the actual game. I used to like fights, and still do, but we could live without them. In fact I would argue that checks should start coming down… I mean why is this sport about hitting the crap out of someone.. shouldn’t it be about talent? Wouldnt you rather play a game looking for the puck instead of worrying for your life that someone is lining you up? European hockey is exciting still and there is less checks, as is Olympic hockey.

    Get the game simplified, eliminate fighting, eliminate headshots, and come up with a system that lessens the checks (say, if a player hasnt had a puck for the last second, you CANT HIT HIM). That will get rid of that utterly STUPID notion called “finish your check” that the bafoon Cherry so openly promotes.

    • idle says:

      “Wouldnt you rather play a game looking for the puck instead of worrying for your life that someone is lining you up?”

      ———————————————————

      Well said

  14. DearyLeary says:

    I used to be a big proponent of fighting. I thought that if a fight took place after a controversial incident that it would be done and forgotten and the players would just be allowed to play the game. Unfortunately I think I’ve been living in a dream world.

    Teams like Boston, and the Islanders have been in a few incidents where fights didn’t solve anything, in fact tempers escalated and have resulted in a few injuries. Then the league does nothing and tells us it’s a part of the game.

    Does anyone think that an enforcer would have stopped Crosby from getting blind sided earlier this year? I don’t. Nor do I think the repercussions of a fight would have been sufficient to penalize Steckel.

    On top of the ineffectiveness of the enforcer in the modern game, “the Code” is a ridiculous concept. To this day I’m not sure any Canadiens fan knows why we bothered to pay Georges Laraques those millions of dollars, if he only wanted to fraternize with other ‘heavyweights’. He claimed he didn’t want to endanger other peoples’ career in a fight, as if somehow a fight is any more dangerous than an elbow or a slash etc.

    In the end, I just don’t think it adds anything to the game any more. If the league would just grow some cajones, and call a penalty a penalty, and assess stern discipline when a penalty results in player injury, fighting would become less necessary and could eventually fade into the annals of barbarism.

  15. CharlieHodgeFan says:

    I love a good fight. I also love a giant poutine, but I’ve had to give them up because they’re unhealthy. Sad to say, I reckon fighting falls into the same category. The whole goal of a fight is to land head shots, and as our understanding of what that means has grown, fights have to go along with other head shot moves. You have to adapt to new knowledge, even if you are the NHL.

    The refs have to apply the rules (I know), and since there will never be another power play like the old Habs’ one that ended the full time served rule, bring the old traditional rule back. You get five, you don’t return til you’ve served five. You make a dirty play and your team gives up three on the power play? Fair enough. I enjoyed seeing 50 goal scorers at work more than fights, and we’ve largely eliminated the big scorer.

    • CharlieHodgeFan says:

      Darn no edit… I meant to say if you get two minutes, you shouldn’t return either. I can see some gloves being dropped on HIO because no one can edit after they see sloppy writing in their posts…

  16. Wayne says:

    It’s hard to ignore the media blitz on this recently. Depending on ones opinion, the real question might just be, “Is fighting worth it?”. Will a player be allowed to continue to make a living at this? Knowing it’s still part of the game at present, I suppose so. There will come a time when it won’t exist because IT IS too dangerous and has lasting health consequences. Given the way the NHL “polices” itself, pro-fighting fans have plenty of time yet to enjoy this part of the game.

  17. Alex Rio says:

    Fighting is part of the game. I understand that. I also think it can be a useful momentum changer, and if the circumstance is correct im ok with it. Ex: a dirty potentially dangerous hit on your captain…you need to step up for you team and these “in the heat of the moment: fights im ok with.

    The planned fights as soon as a whistle goes, or when you see 2 players talking about it like “hey wanna fight?”
    “sure”
    “lets go”

    these planned ones are utter garbage and have noplace in the game

  18. idle says:

    The difference is that KD’s cheese sauce isn’t seriously hurting/potentially killing people.

    Come to think of it, read the ingredients, it probably is.

    Having said that, I love KD and had a package for lunch yesterday and today, so does that make me a hypocrite?


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