Let the gloves continue to drop
February 17. 2013 3:31AM
Under the new rule, players can be involved in up to 10 fights without being penalized, but players with 11 to 15 fights will be suspended two games for each fight. Players with 16 to 20 fights will also be suspended for two games, and their team will be fined $1,000 per fight.
The rule exemplifies everything that is wrong with hockey today and it clearly targets players who are often criticized for being one-dimensional.
Truth is, there are a lot of one-dimensional players in hockey, not just enforcers. There are stay-at-home defensemen, faceoff specialists and defensive forwards, to name a few.
But nobody is trying to enact rules limiting what they do, and rightly so.
Like the those roles, an enforcer provides an important element to his team. Not only do they add a level of intimidation to a game that is based on fear, they also police the ice like no one else can.
Having an enforcer on the ice is the best way to ensure player safety. And if that means they fight 20 times in a season, so be it.
Reducing fighting will do nothing but make hockey a boring game that is nothing but defensive systems and coaching strategy. Sure, those are necessary components, but fans don't fill seats to watch two coaches battle it out on the whiteboard.
Think back to the NHL of the 1990's - what would you rather see, the New Jersey Devils playing the trap or Marty McSorley and Bob Probert in their epic bout?
Fighting adds an exciting, unpredictable element to the game that keeps fans wondering what's going to happen next.
Fights between two tough guys - or staged fights as critics call them, aren't necessarily without a purpose. Anytime you have the heavyweight from two teams going at it, it's a battle for dominance to see who has the biggest dog on the block. A result of that is a roster full of players who know they have someone to watch their back, and they can go out and play the game without worrying about a high-stick to the mouth.
If the NHL adopts a similar rule as the OHL, the league will lose many of its most colorful players. Enforcers are not only tough, but they're the characters of the league - the face of a team. Everybody knows who they are and we all want to see them do their thing, as much as the players who score goals and the goalies that make the saves.
Instead of looking at the OHL's new fighting rule, the NHL needs to make the game more like it was 20 years ago. That was a time when every team had a 40 or 50-goal scorer, a defenseman who routinely blasted slapshots from the point and a tough guy who kept it all in order.