Staged Fighting Debate

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Staged Fighting

Once again, the hot button topic is “staged fighting” in the NHL.  The latest fight to ignite the flame happened during the Ottawa/Toronto game March 6 at Air Canada Centre.

Dave Dziurzynski dropped his gloves with Frazer McLaren 26 seconds into the first period — I have two problems with the staged fight accusation here.  First, this doesn’t fall into the staged category because you need to have two willing participants in order to stage a fight.  According to McLaren, Dziurzynski declined his initial request to dance but then later changed his mind.  It was definitely not premeditated — especially not where Dziurzynski was concerned.  The second part of the controversy arose because after some tugging and throwing of punches McLaren connected and Dziurzynski got KO’d.  Would there have been as much of an uproar if it was just two guys throwing down and nobody was hurt?

As much as I believe fighting belongs in hockey, something has to be done with the staged fighting.  The problem is, in most cases, it’s hard to prove whether a fight was actually staged or not.

Hockey_fightSome fights arise from something that may need to be settled from a previous game or even from a previous shift within the same game.  Most observers will be able to figure out where these fights started and why.  Then again, most have a hard time understanding when a fight occurs for absolutely no reason.  Were the two players involved trying to spark their teams?  I personally have never bought into that argument because the team that needs the spark is obviously losing — why would the player on the winning team engage?   Could it be an unwritten code among tough guys?   A reason to justify their existence?  The day and age of the enforcer, unable to play meaningful minutes, is essentially gone although there are still a few in the NHL.

If I had a say, the “staged fight” would be watched and penalized if it becomes too regular an occurrence with the same offenders.  Some will say, you can’t read a player’s mind and know their intent.   This is true but keep in mind there are four officials on the ice and  they hear things that nobody else does. A good officials know the temperature of the game.

Some will say my punishment is too harsh.   I say we need to preserve fighting for the right reasons.   We can’t let the bleeding hearts of the world change the public opinion to the point where the NHL has no choice but to listen.   If you remove fighting from the game as it pertains to the policing of the game, the “rats” will take over with no fear or threat of retribution. We can’t let that happen. My NHL isn’t a league that will let the “rats” run wild.


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