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Author Topic: OT-Hockey Fighting
SteveHarms87
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For a lot of fans, fighting is the best part of the game. For others, it's the worst. FIghting has been a part of the pro game forever, but now, it seems some very serious consideration is being given to begin to take steps to eliminate the fisticuffs from the game.........interesting.


http://www.thehockeynews.com/articles/45198-VIDEO-THN-Puck-Panel-CHL-considering-fighting-ban.html

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BERT from NJ
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I've almost done a 180 on this during the course of the past 3 decades. I used to be a proponent of fighting for all the usual reasons hockey folks spout about. Once they eliminated alot the 1970s style goonery, it seemed like it had a place in the game. As I grew older, and learned about things like marketing and perception and most of all, expanding my horizons beyond just what was entertaining to ME. I'm not one of those that absolutlely thinks it should be eliminated, yet I wouldn't be apopoleptic if it was.

That said, fighting in hockey today is just plain stupid. I watched the Bruins and Rangers today, there were 3 fights in the first 10 minutes, solely because the participants decided it was time to put on a fight. Nothing precipitated it, there was no provocation or "heat of the moment". Honestly, it was like it was an agreed upon spot in a sports entertainment contest. After the early fights, they played a hockey game with first place in the conference on the line. Don't think any of the fights made any difference in the game whatsoever. So what was the point?

Everyone brings up the potential of more stick work if there isn't frontier justice. Just call the penalties, and it will stop. Or if the infraction is severe enough. Take matters into your own hands and deal with the fines and suspensions like they do in other sports.

I really think the fighting has hurt the NHL's growth to an extent. It has other challenges, fighting is not the only thing, but it has hurt. Yes everyone stands and cheers during the fights, they do when they break out in baseball games too. Only in one it's out of the ordinary, in the other it's business as usual.

I do really think it should be eliminated from Juniors. These are still kids. It's bad enough that most of them have been in "roles" since they were 8 years old or whatever. But give them a chance to develop some actual skills, or find another line of work if they don't have the skills. I wouldn't be heart broken if the subtle encouragement to embrace being an enforcer as a way to hold onto a dream is taken away.

[ 03-04-2012, 06:01 PM: Message edited by: BERT from NJ ]

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C.C. Milani from NY
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Not that anyone has suggested this here, but I've been told over the past 30+ years that "it can't be done".

The evidence is there that it *can* be done. Fights are almost extinct in the NFL, NBA, College Basketball, and College Football. They're way down from where they were years ago in MLB. When the correct deterrents are in place, the fights go away.

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slingshotsuplex from MD via PA
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quote:
Originally posted by C.C. Milani from NY:
Not that anyone has suggested this here, but I've been told over the past 30+ years that "it can't be done".

The evidence is there that it *can* be done. Fights are almost extinct in the NFL, NBA, College Basketball, and College Football. They're way down from where they were years ago in MLB. When the correct deterrents are in place, the fights go away.

Was fighting anywhere near part of the appeal for any of those other sports compared to hockey? Sure, they CAN be stopped but does Hockey feel it is in their interest to stop it?
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BERT from NJ
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The NHL (and its most ardent fans) have long had a "circle the wagons" mentality when it comes to any outside criticism - justified or not. It's not so much it can't be done, as they don't want it done. They DO market and cater to an audience that wants the fighting in the game. Now that they may be seriously thinking about it, they fear the backlash from their most ardent fans.

Truth be told, I'm not sure they can really expand the sport's popularity much anyway. I think they may be slotted where they will remain. They had their chance to make strides in the early 80s and didn't. Things like NASCAR and College Hoops now get more mainstream attention, and I'm not sure how that changes.

Problem Number One for the NHL is, they need a SUPERSTAR that trancends the sport first. They haven't had that guy for a while - and they had one of the best ever and didn't take full advantage. Until the guy that captures the imagination of the nation comes along, they will tread on much as they have been.

--------------------
"Kneel before Zod"
General Zod

"You're a little out of order yourself-You insulted him a little bit, you insulted him A LITTLE BIT"
Jimmy the Gent Conway

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
Edmund Burke

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Mark Nulty from WA
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quote:
Originally posted by slingshotsuplex from MD via PA:
quote:
Originally posted by C.C. Milani from NY:
Not that anyone has suggested this here, but I've been told over the past 30+ years that "it can't be done".

The evidence is there that it *can* be done. Fights are almost extinct in the NFL, NBA, College Basketball, and College Football. They're way down from where they were years ago in MLB. When the correct deterrents are in place, the fights go away.

Was fighting anywhere near part of the appeal for any of those other sports compared to hockey? Sure, they CAN be stopped but does Hockey feel it is in their interest to stop it?
But is there really an appeal?

I know there are hardcores that say it's part of the game and the crowd in attendance pops when there's a fight.

But I compare it to the territory days when a territory's business would be down. The guy in the main event would still get a pop from the crowd that did show up. But business would be better if the territory was pushing the right guy.

I enjoy watching the speed and skill of hockey. But I enjoy International hockey more than the NHL.

And a big reason is the game isn't constantly slowed down for fights.

Back in the 70s the NBA was plodding along. There were a lot of fights. Not as many as hockey but it wasn't unusualy for there to be a fight each night somewhere in the league. Ratings weren't good and the NBA Final would be tape delayed rather than aired in prime time.

One of the many things (not the only thing) the NBA did right was get serious about eliminating fighting. As soon as players started getting automatically suspended fights went way down. The NBA also enforced rules to take a lot of the holding and grabbing out of the game allowing players to demonstrate more skill and picking up the pace of the game. All this combined with the emergence of stars like Magic, Bird, Dr. J, etc and the league was off and running.

If I want to watch a fight I'll find boxing or UFC to watch.

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Bnicholas
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quote:
Originally posted by Mark Nulty from WA:
quote:
Originally posted by slingshotsuplex from MD via PA:
quote:
Originally posted by C.C. Milani from NY:
Not that anyone has suggested this here, but I've been told over the past 30+ years that "it can't be done".

The evidence is there that it *can* be done. Fights are almost extinct in the NFL, NBA, College Basketball, and College Football. They're way down from where they were years ago in MLB. When the correct deterrents are in place, the fights go away.

Was fighting anywhere near part of the appeal for any of those other sports compared to hockey? Sure, they CAN be stopped but does Hockey feel it is in their interest to stop it?
But is there really an appeal?

I know there are hardcores that say it's part of the game and the crowd in attendance pops when there's a fight.

But I compare it to the territory days when a territory's business would be down. The guy in the main event would still get a pop from the crowd that did show up. But business would be better if the territory was pushing the right guy.

I enjoy watching the speed and skill of hockey. But I enjoy International hockey more than the NHL.

And a big reason is the game isn't constantly slowed down for fights.

Back in the 70s the NBA was plodding along. There were a lot of fights. Not as many as hockey but it wasn't unusualy for there to be a fight each night somewhere in the league. Ratings weren't good and the NBA Final would be tape delayed rather than aired in prime time.

One of the many things (not the only thing) the NBA did right was get serious about eliminating fighting. As soon as players started getting automatically suspended fights went way down. The NBA also enforced rules to take a lot of the holding and grabbing out of the game allowing players to demonstrate more skill and picking up the pace of the game. All this combined with the emergence of stars like Magic, Bird, Dr. J, etc and the league was off and running.

If I want to watch a fight I'll find boxing or UFC to watch.

I'll take issue with some of your terms. First you say "constantly" stopped for fights. I'm not sure how much hockey you are watching but I can assure you that is hardly the case. Most teams don't even average a fight every other game anymore.

Second you describe the 70s NBA as "plodding." While there were certainly more fights back then, the league was hardly plodding. In fact it was race horse basketball, with little defense played and average scores were much higher than today. The shot clock rarely got below 10.

I'm torn on fighting in hockey. I'll admit that at a live game a fight does get the crowd going. I can also assure you that minor league would die without fighting. The AHL would live on as the minors for the NHL and the OHL would survive as the place for top juniors, but others leagues like the ECHL or even lower level hockey would die. As a season ticket holder for several years for the Flint Generals and someone who not only followed minor league hockey but briefly covered the Generals for a now defunct monthly hockey magazine, I can assure you that a good portion of the hardcore fans are looking for lots of fighting and lots of hitting. The skill level just is strong enough to draw crowds without the rough stuff. Maybe eliminating fighting would bring a different crowd, but I can assure you that minor league owners operating on shoe string budgets and mostly taking losses would be up in arms over taking that kind of risk.

As for the NHL the situtation is similar. The skill level is strong enough that elminating fighting would not drastically hurt popularity. however I take issue with the idea that there is some mythical audience just dying to become hockey fans if only these "goons" didn't fight every couple of games and occasionally have three or four fights in one game. It's just not logical and it's simply not true. No one is not watching hockey because they are so morally opposed to fighting that they can't stomach it, nor are they not watching hockey because the 2 minutes it took for a fight and then the guys to be seperated and skate to the penalty box. I mean compare that to the amount of downtime in baseball. Or the end of basketball games, particularly college, where we get an endless parade of timeouts. Or even football, where now we get a commercial after the TD, then another commercial after the kickoff or punt. 2 minutes for a fight would seem to hardly be a dealbreaker for a sports fan.

The main argument outside of marketing for fighting is that the players police themselves for dirty stick work, cheap shots, etc. In order to elminate fighting, the refs and the league have to be prepared to call games insanely tight and hand out roughing and misconduct calls at a rate never before seen to keep the game clean. Currently you take a run at the goalie and the ref ignores it. Maybe you go after the guy later. Well without fighting the ref certainly cannot ignore it. Nor can the refs ignore the pushing and shoving after the whistle, the ice showers of goalies, or any other number of things that are often left to players to police. The league would have to be prepared for a season or two (or more) of games with double digit power plays per side and guys being given misconducts all night. So on one hand you have something in fighting which "delays" the game for a couple minutes and may keep two Buddhists and a Haight Asbury hippie from watching or you take the risk of alienating fans by having a season or two with crazy amounts of penalties and favorites getting 10 minute misconducts. For owners making money right now, is it worth the risk for the off chance that doing this will magically increase the popularity of the sport? Just not seeing it.

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Mr. Parts Unknown
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quote:
Originally posted by Bnicholas:
I'll take issue with some of your terms. First you say "constantly" stopped for fights. I'm not sure how much hockey you are watching but I can assure you that is hardly the case. Most teams don't even average a fight every other game anymore.

Second you describe the 70s NBA as "plodding." While there were certainly more fights back then, the league was hardly plodding. In fact it was race horse basketball, with little defense played and average scores were much higher than today. The shot clock rarely got below 10.

I'm torn on fighting in hockey. I'll admit that at a live game a fight does get the crowd going. I can also assure you that minor league would die without fighting. The AHL would live on as the minors for the NHL and the OHL would survive as the place for top juniors, but others leagues like the ECHL or even lower level hockey would die.

I'm with you on these points, and as someone who covered an ECHL beat for a daily newspaper for four years, I can definitely attest to your last point. Fighting was (and I'm sure still remains) a big selling point in the lower level leagues, especially in the "non-traditional" hockey markets in the South.
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SteveHarms87
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When I got out of college my first job was as a hockey announcer in the old International Hockey League........it was just like Slapshot...Four or five times a year, I would have to describe the infamous "bench emptying brawl." Those were ridiculous and dangerous, but the minor league fans in Toledo, Ft. Wayne, Flint, Columbus etc loved 'em. The actual fights would take 10-15 minutes, but the worst part was a the 25-30 minutes it took for the referees to dish out the penalties.

They were also prevalent in the NHL with the Philly Flyers involved in many during the 70's. Problem was.........they won with that style play.......and some very good players. For a long time, GMs used the Flyers blue print building their own teams. If you look at the best teams so far this year in the NHL..........The New York Rangers lead the Eastern Conference in points and in fights with 53.........The Detroit Red Wings....one point out of first in the Western Conference has had 15 fights all year. So I'm not sure how fighting relates to winning and losing any more.

The last Bench Emptier in the NHL was 1987. The NHL ended them almost overnight by levying huge fines to not only the players involved, but to the coaches and the organization. That put an end to it right then. If the NHL wants to eliminate fighting.........they could easily do it. If you fight you're out of the game.......and the next game (I think that's how NCAA hockey works)


One of the underlying issues of late has been the microscopic (and necessary) attention to concussions in all sports and what causes them. Also the early deaths last year of some notable NHL tough guys.....two of them suicides. Players who fight are starting to think about the long-term consequences.

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Tabe
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quote:
Originally posted by BERT from NJ:
Everyone brings up the potential of more stick work if there isn't frontier justice. Just call the penalties, and it will stop. Or if the infraction is severe enough. Take matters into your own hands and deal with the fines and suspensions like they do in other sports.

The problem with this suggestion is that the NHL has never shown a willingness to stick to calling the sheer number of penalties that this would require. About 15 years ago, they instituted a zero tolerance policy on interference and the like in the preseason. The referees did exactly what was requested - calling a billion penalties. I remember one Red Wings preseason game where they had like 21 power plays. The fans revolted and things went back to normal in the regular season.

quote:
Originally posted by BERT from NJ:
I really think the fighting has hurt the NHL's growth to an extent. It has other challenges, fighting is not the only thing, but it has hurt. Yes everyone stands and cheers during the fights, they do when they break out in baseball games too. Only in one it's out of the ordinary, in the other it's business as usual.


I don't believe it has. The most popular the NHL has been in the last 20 years was circa 1993 and there was a lot more fighting then compared to today. What has hurt the NHL's growth is a lack of offense and retaliation by ESPN (with a lack of coverage) for losing the NHL TV contract.

quote:
Originally posted by Mark Nulty from WA:
I enjoy watching the speed and skill of hockey. But I enjoy International hockey more than the NHL.

Mark, how much international hockey have you actually seen? I don't mean the Olympics but actual international hockey. I exclude the Olympics because that isn't true international hockey - it's a frigging All-Star tournament and not at all representative of the hockey played on the international level.

Take a look at the KHL sometime.

quote:
Originally posted by Mark Nulty from WA:
And a big reason is the game isn't constantly slowed down for fights.

And it isn't constantly slowed down for fights NOW. The NHL has a higher ratio of action to time than any other major league. The average game takes 2-1/2 hours - and that's with 2 30-minute breaks. You get 1 full hour of action in that time. Compare that to the NFL with its 3-1/2 hour games (with just one 15-minute break), major league baseball with its 3 hour games (that contain less than 20 minutes of actual action), or the NBA (where 48-minute games take 2-1/2 hours).

The VAST majority of games have zero or one fights. The Detroit Red Wings - the elite franchise in all of sports - have just 15 fights this year.

quote:
Originally posted by Mark Nulty from WA:
One of the many things (not the only thing) the NBA did right was get serious about eliminating fighting. As soon as players started getting automatically suspended fights went way down. The NBA also enforced rules to take a lot of the holding and grabbing out of the game allowing players to demonstrate more skill and picking up the pace of the game. All this combined with the emergence of stars like Magic, Bird, Dr. J, etc and the league was off and running.

And yet the NBA still has multiple brawls each year - and the NHL hasn't had one in 25 years.

One of the points made in the video above is that there will be more stickwork. That's an absolute fact. International hockey - outside of the KHL - is full of stickwork. College hockey, which I saw up close & personal in my 4 years at Western Michigan, is full of stickwork.

In general, I am not in favor of fighting. I don't like the premeditated fights between guys who get 3 shifts a game and do nothing else. But I absolutely am in favor of fights like Darren McCarty taking on Claude Lemieux for his dirty hit against Kris Draper.

If you want to eliminate fighting, OK, go ahead. But only if the NHL follows that up with a strict, consistent policy that punishes stickwork, after-whistle scrums, and so on.

Tabe

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1000 Masks But No Jobs
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quote:
Originally posted by Bnicholas:
quote:
Originally posted by Mark Nulty from WA:
quote:
Originally posted by slingshotsuplex from MD via PA:
quote:
Originally posted by C.C. Milani from NY:
Not that anyone has suggested this here, but I've been told over the past 30+ years that "it can't be done".

The evidence is there that it *can* be done. Fights are almost extinct in the NFL, NBA, College Basketball, and College Football. They're way down from where they were years ago in MLB. When the correct deterrents are in place, the fights go away.

Was fighting anywhere near part of the appeal for any of those other sports compared to hockey? Sure, they CAN be stopped but does Hockey feel it is in their interest to stop it?
But is there really an appeal?

I know there are hardcores that say it's part of the game and the crowd in attendance pops when there's a fight.

But I compare it to the territory days when a territory's business would be down. The guy in the main event would still get a pop from the crowd that did show up. But business would be better if the territory was pushing the right guy.

I enjoy watching the speed and skill of hockey. But I enjoy International hockey more than the NHL.

And a big reason is the game isn't constantly slowed down for fights.

Back in the 70s the NBA was plodding along. There were a lot of fights. Not as many as hockey but it wasn't unusualy for there to be a fight each night somewhere in the league. Ratings weren't good and the NBA Final would be tape delayed rather than aired in prime time.

One of the many things (not the only thing) the NBA did right was get serious about eliminating fighting. As soon as players started getting automatically suspended fights went way down. The NBA also enforced rules to take a lot of the holding and grabbing out of the game allowing players to demonstrate more skill and picking up the pace of the game. All this combined with the emergence of stars like Magic, Bird, Dr. J, etc and the league was off and running.

If I want to watch a fight I'll find boxing or UFC to watch.

I'm torn on fighting in hockey. I'll admit that at a live game a fight does get the crowd going. I can also assure you that minor league would die without fighting. The AHL would live on as the minors for the NHL and the OHL would survive as the place for top juniors, but others leagues like the ECHL or even lower level hockey would die. As a season ticket holder for several years for the Flint Generals and someone who not only followed minor league hockey but briefly covered the Generals for a now defunct monthly hockey magazine, I can assure you that a good portion of the hardcore fans are looking for lots of fighting and lots of hitting. The skill level just is strong enough to draw crowds without the rough stuff. Maybe eliminating fighting would bring a different crowd, but I can assure you that minor league owners operating on shoe string budgets and mostly taking losses would be up in arms over taking that kind of risk.

As someone that sees probably 10-12 AHL games a year and 10-12 ECHL games a year, I think your point is spot on. The ECHL isn't a "goon" league like some of the "A" leagues and the LNAH in Quebec is said to be. But there is just so much player turnover in the ECHL throughout the season that it makes for a frustrating fan experience. If fighting is completely removed from a league like the ECHL, it takes away a lot of the reason people come out to see it.

Being a fan of a "AA" hockey team is a lot different experience than being a fan of a "AA" baseball team in terms of how much player turnover there is within any given season.

I have an ECHL team 20 minutes away in Reading (Pa.), but would rather drive 75 minutes to Hershey (Pa.) for AHL games. The thing about the ECHL is that a team usually only has 1-4 players under contract to a parent NHL/AHL club. The rest of the players are on ECHL contracts, making them ripe to be plucked by any AHL team beset by injuries or just impressed with a player. The ECHL has a working relationship with the AHL, so the league has a general policy that they won't stand in the way of any player that gets signed by AHL team, be it for a week or the rest of the season. The result is that some ECHL teams might only have a handful of players that spend the entire season on an ECHL roster.

[ 03-05-2012, 03:36 AM: Message edited by: 1000 Masks But No Jobs ]

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1000 Masks But No Jobs
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quote:
Originally posted by Mr. Parts Unknown:
quote:
Originally posted by Bnicholas:
I'll take issue with some of your terms. First you say "constantly" stopped for fights. I'm not sure how much hockey you are watching but I can assure you that is hardly the case. Most teams don't even average a fight every other game anymore.

Second you describe the 70s NBA as "plodding." While there were certainly more fights back then, the league was hardly plodding. In fact it was race horse basketball, with little defense played and average scores were much higher than today. The shot clock rarely got below 10.

I'm torn on fighting in hockey. I'll admit that at a live game a fight does get the crowd going. I can also assure you that minor league would die without fighting. The AHL would live on as the minors for the NHL and the OHL would survive as the place for top juniors, but others leagues like the ECHL or even lower level hockey would die.

I'm with you on these points, and as someone who covered an ECHL beat for a daily newspaper for four years
Gwinnett Gladiators?

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Your back-to-back (2009 and 2010) Too Tall Cup Champion.

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Mr. Parts Unknown
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quote:
Originally posted by 1000 Masks But No Jobs:
quote:
Originally posted by Mr. Parts Unknown:
quote:
Originally posted by Bnicholas:
I'll take issue with some of your terms. First you say "constantly" stopped for fights. I'm not sure how much hockey you are watching but I can assure you that is hardly the case. Most teams don't even average a fight every other game anymore.

Second you describe the 70s NBA as "plodding." While there were certainly more fights back then, the league was hardly plodding. In fact it was race horse basketball, with little defense played and average scores were much higher than today. The shot clock rarely got below 10.

I'm torn on fighting in hockey. I'll admit that at a live game a fight does get the crowd going. I can also assure you that minor league would die without fighting. The AHL would live on as the minors for the NHL and the OHL would survive as the place for top juniors, but others leagues like the ECHL or even lower level hockey would die.

I'm with you on these points, and as someone who covered an ECHL beat for a daily newspaper for four years
Gwinnett Gladiators?
Nope. Louisiana IceGators, but I DID attend a Gladiators game yesterday.

And there were times during those days on the Bayou in which "Slapshot" seemed like a documentary. [Big Grin]

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smokyrobmoore from TX
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quote:
Originally posted by Tabe:
The fans revolted and things went back to normal in the regular season.

Sorry, but this reminds me of History of the World Part 1 :

"The peasants are revolting!" "You said it, they stink on ice!"

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Old school is cool school

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1000 Masks But No Jobs
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quote:
Originally posted by Mr. Parts Unknown:
quote:
Originally posted by 1000 Masks But No Jobs:
quote:
Originally posted by Mr. Parts Unknown:
quote:
Originally posted by Bnicholas:
I'll take issue with some of your terms. First you say "constantly" stopped for fights. I'm not sure how much hockey you are watching but I can assure you that is hardly the case. Most teams don't even average a fight every other game anymore.

Second you describe the 70s NBA as "plodding." While there were certainly more fights back then, the league was hardly plodding. In fact it was race horse basketball, with little defense played and average scores were much higher than today. The shot clock rarely got below 10.

I'm torn on fighting in hockey. I'll admit that at a live game a fight does get the crowd going. I can also assure you that minor league would die without fighting. The AHL would live on as the minors for the NHL and the OHL would survive as the place for top juniors, but others leagues like the ECHL or even lower level hockey would die.

I'm with you on these points, and as someone who covered an ECHL beat for a daily newspaper for four years
Gwinnett Gladiators?
Nope. Louisiana IceGators, but I DID attend a Gladiators game yesterday.

And there were times during those days on the Bayou in which "Slapshot" seemed like a documentary. [Big Grin]

Ah, ok. I know the IceGators have an SPHL franchise now, but I was familiar with them in their earlier incarnation as well just from being an ECHL fan. From everything I have ever read about the IceGators in the ECHL, it seemed like they were a huge hit initially, then just hit a steady slide of declining attendance.

The ECHL does have a long list of franchises that start out doing great at the gate, then fold or move 4-5 years down the road when attendance falls off a cliff. This is the 11th year now for an ECHL team here in Reading (Pa.), and while the team still draws 4,300 fans a night, the crowds are nothing like they were in the early years of the franchise.

It's still cool to go to an ECHL game in Reading and sit two rows off the ice for $19. Like I wrote earlier, I still go to about 10-12 ECHL games a year because the team is so close to home, but I have grown weary of the league over the past decade because of the extreme amount of player turnover. That is one of the big reasons I would much rather drive a little further to Hershey for AHL games.

[ 03-05-2012, 08:53 AM: Message edited by: 1000 Masks But No Jobs ]

--------------------
Your back-to-back (2009 and 2010) Too Tall Cup Champion.

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Mon-Ray-Al
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quote:
Originally posted by Mark Nulty from WA:
quote:
Originally posted by slingshotsuplex from MD via PA:
quote:
Originally posted by C.C. Milani from NY:
Not that anyone has suggested this here, but I've been told over the past 30+ years that "it can't be done".

The evidence is there that it *can* be done. Fights are almost extinct in the NFL, NBA, College Basketball, and College Football. They're way down from where they were years ago in MLB. When the correct deterrents are in place, the fights go away.

Was fighting anywhere near part of the appeal for any of those other sports compared to hockey? Sure, they CAN be stopped but does Hockey feel it is in their interest to stop it?
But is there really an appeal?

I know there are hardcores that say it's part of the game and the crowd in attendance pops when there's a fight.

But I compare it to the territory days when a territory's business would be down. The guy in the main event would still get a pop from the crowd that did show up. But business would be better if the territory was pushing the right guy.

I enjoy watching the speed and skill of hockey. But I enjoy International hockey more than the NHL.

And a big reason is the game isn't constantly slowed down for fights.

Back in the 70s the NBA was plodding along. There were a lot of fights. Not as many as hockey but it wasn't unusualy for there to be a fight each night somewhere in the league. Ratings weren't good and the NBA Final would be tape delayed rather than aired in prime time.

One of the many things (not the only thing) the NBA did right was get serious about eliminating fighting. As soon as players started getting automatically suspended fights went way down. The NBA also enforced rules to take a lot of the holding and grabbing out of the game allowing players to demonstrate more skill and picking up the pace of the game. All this combined with the emergence of stars like Magic, Bird, Dr. J, etc and the league was off and running.

If I want to watch a fight I'll find boxing or UFC to watch.

Personaly I'm not a fan of boxing and UFC because it's in a controled setting. The beauty of hockey as a game has always been its unpredictability and the fights in the heat of the moment were part of it. It feels more real and genuine combat.

What's the appeal? The Best hockey is the NHL playoffs because it's a grueling experience when everything is on the line. But when a rivalry takes hold, when it gets to another level and become a classic it's when it broke into brawls and blood shows up. My best memory of hockey were with the great rivalries like 70s Montreal-Boston, 70s Montreal-Philly, 80s Montreal-Quebec, 90s Detroit-Colorado. You had great hockey, great fights, hated rivalries. Nothing better in the World in any sport.

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Mon-Ray-Al
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quote:
Originally posted by BERT from NJ:
The NHL (and its most ardent fans) have long had a "circle the wagons" mentality when it comes to any outside criticism - justified or not. It's not so much it can't be done, as they don't want it done. They DO market and cater to an audience that wants the fighting in the game. Now that they may be seriously thinking about it, they fear the backlash from their most ardent fans.

Truth be told, I'm not sure they can really expand the sport's popularity much anyway. I think they may be slotted where they will remain. They had their chance to make strides in the early 80s and didn't. Things like NASCAR and College Hoops now get more mainstream attention, and I'm not sure how that changes.

Problem Number One for the NHL is, they need a SUPERSTAR that trancends the sport first. They haven't had that guy for a while - and they had one of the best ever and didn't take full advantage. Until the guy that captures the imagination of the nation comes along, they will tread on much as they have been.

Well that superstar was Sidney Crosby but he is out with injury.

But you mentioned the NHL reaction to outside criticism. I think they have listen too much to people that don't watch hockey anyway. Especially Gary Bettman who comes from the NBA. Because evetything is image to him. I've said time and time again that the NHL should stick to its own thing and don't worry about the rest.

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Frank Culbertson of OR
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http://nhl-red-light.si.com/2012/03/20/staged-fights-are-a-sorry-spectacle/?xid=cnnbin

I love hockey, but this really is dumb. Pointless. Premeditated. Bad for the sport.

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jorjorbynks
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quote:
Originally posted by Tabe:

In general, I am not in favor of fighting. I don't like the premeditated fights between guys who get 3 shifts a game and do nothing else. But I absolutely am in favor of fights like Darren McCarty taking on Claude Lemieux for his dirty hit against Kris Draper.

Tabe [/QB]

I think a big part of the problem is that there are a lot more of the first type of fights you mention, then there are of the second type.

Ultimately though, with the increasing awareness of concussions and their effect on players, the NHL is going to have no choice but to enforce much stronger penalties for fighting (don't forget, fighting is not allowed in the game, that is why it results in a penalty. It is tolerated due to the relatively minimal punishment handed out.) The league won't be able to seriously say that they are doing everything possible to minimize concussions if , the only consequence for repeatedly punching another player in the face is a 5 minute penalty.

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SportOfWrestling
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I've been watching Raw over the past few weeks, and if they can take fighting out of wrestling they can take it out of any sport! [Wink]

I would think eliminating fighting from Hockey would really hurt the sport. I enjoy the game either way, but of course it's a lot of fun to watch two guys duke it out. But I took in a local game a couple weeks ago and the audience was craving, calling and begging for a fight. Huge reactions when it happened, hell even the opening montage before the game was all fights.

So I'd probably remain a fan if they found a way to eliminate it, but I gotta imagine the sport would take a HUGE hit financially.

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The Operative
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Seriously, when was the last premeditated line brawl in an NHL game? Is it really that big of a deal? No.

I enjoy the occasional fight and will continue to do so...and I'm not sorry about it.

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Tabe
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quote:
Originally posted by Frank Culbertson of OR:
http://nhl-red-light.si.com/2012/03/20/staged-fights-are-a-sorry-spectacle/?xid=cnnbin

I love hockey, but this really is dumb. Pointless. Premeditated. Bad for the sport.

I definitely agree.

But I'm also not going to overreact. Stuff like this happens once every 15 years.

Tabe

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Gabba Hey
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fighting has always been part of the game. and there are actually pretty strict codes of conduct involved. 3rd man in gets penalized. if a man goes down fighting, you stop. you touch the goalie, there will be a fight. in a bench clear, goalie fights goalie. its probably the most honest sport out there. of course can be debated.

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Frank Culbertson of OR
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quote:
Originally posted by Tabe:
quote:
Originally posted by Frank Culbertson of OR:
http://nhl-red-light.si.com/2012/03/20/staged-fights-are-a-sorry-spectacle/?xid=cnnbin

I love hockey, but this really is dumb. Pointless. Premeditated. Bad for the sport.

I definitely agree.

But I'm also not going to overreact. Stuff like this happens once every 15 years.

Tabe

Actually it has happened 6 times this season alone.
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DuckSoup
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quote:
Originally posted by Tabe:
quote:
Originally posted by Frank Culbertson of OR:
http://nhl-red-light.si.com/2012/03/20/staged-fights-are-a-sorry-spectacle/?xid=cnnbin

I love hockey, but this really is dumb. Pointless. Premeditated. Bad for the sport.

I definitely agree.

But I'm also not going to overreact. Stuff like this happens once every 15 years.

Tabe

Wasn't this like the third time these two teams have done something like this? Maybe not to start the game but the 'drop gloves' face off.

My biggest problem with fighting are the no talent goons. These guys have no real hockey skill set and would be lucky to make the AHL if fighting was banned or heavily penalized.

In the past you had some really good players getting into fights. Clark Gilles one of the great fighters ever is in the Hall of Fame.

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BERT from NJ
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quote:
Originally posted by DuckSoup:
quote:
Originally posted by Tabe:
quote:
Originally posted by Frank Culbertson of OR:
http://nhl-red-light.si.com/2012/03/20/staged-fights-are-a-sorry-spectacle/?xid=cnnbin

I love hockey, but this really is dumb. Pointless. Premeditated. Bad for the sport.

I definitely agree.

But I'm also not going to overreact. Stuff like this happens once every 15 years.

Tabe

Wasn't this like the third time these two teams have done something like this? Maybe not to start the game but the 'drop gloves' face off.
Absolutely. Last time, it was just TWO simultaneous fights. This is stupidity. Rangers also played the Blackhawks last week. A recent Hawks call-up challenged Ranger tough guy Mike Rupp (I won't call him a goon, because he can actually effectively play in a checking line role - but, let's face it, he is in the line-up primarily for his fisticuffs) I forget the kid's name, but midway through the game, he challenged Rupp for no apparent reason except for the insight provided totally straight by Ranger announcer Joe Michelletti "Kid challenges Rupp, he's thinking I just got called up and I wanna stay. This is what I have to do to show I belong"
Really?
These type and the "sending a message for next time" are the majority of the fights I've seen this season, not the "policemen" type or heat of the moment battles that seem not to happen anymore.

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Frank Culbertson of OR
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quote:
Originally posted by DuckSoup:
quote:
Originally posted by Tabe:
quote:
Originally posted by Frank Culbertson of OR:
http://nhl-red-light.si.com/2012/03/20/staged-fights-are-a-sorry-spectacle/?xid=cnnbin

I love hockey, but this really is dumb. Pointless. Premeditated. Bad for the sport.

I definitely agree.

But I'm also not going to overreact. Stuff like this happens once every 15 years.

Tabe

Wasn't this like the third time these two teams have done something like this? Maybe not to start the game but the 'drop gloves' face off.

My biggest problem with fighting are the no talent goons. These guys have no real hockey skill set and would be lucky to make the AHL if fighting was banned or heavily penalized.

In the past you had some really good players getting into fights. Clark Gilles one of the great fighters ever is in the Hall of Fame.

And it was mostly 4th line guys out there for the fight. It was planned by both teams, therefore the coaches knew and went along with the plan. The league cant allow something this premeditated and 'coach approved' to go on. Fans live might have liked it, but it has been universally panned by commentators.
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davephlegmball
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"And it's another sell-out for the team that's ruining hockey." - Flyer's TV announcer Gene Hart commenting in 1976 at the beginning of a game vs Vancouver (who at the time couldn't regularly even draw flies).

[ 03-21-2012, 12:05 PM: Message edited by: davephlegmball ]

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SteveHarms87
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Hockey has the "heat of the moment fights".......those fights seem to be the most accepted by fighting critics. Then there are the "stage fights" when the teams' tough guys line up at a face-off and when the puck drops, they square off. Those are the most criticized type of hockey fights.

There is another kind of fight that might be called a "strategic altercation." Scenario.......home team trails 2-0 15 minutes into the first period. Home team sends out its "energy" players (they're not goons anymore) Home team energy guys try to goad road team guy into a fight.....with the hope of winning the fight and "energizing" his team and the fans. It's very predictable is part of the pro hockey culture. It's not as bad as the staged fights, but it is part of the strategy.

There's not another team sport where fighting is part of the strategy...........that's what bothers a lot of hockey observers. That and the fact that 99% of fights are penalized by a short time in the penalty box and not a game ban. It takes three fights in the NHL to be given a game misconduct.

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BERT from NJ
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quote:
Originally posted by SteveHarms87:
There is another kind of fight that might be called a "strategic altercation." Scenario.......home team trails 2-0 15 minutes into the first period. Home team sends out its "energy" players (they're not goons anymore) Home team energy guys try to goad road team guy into a fight.....with the hope of winning the fight and "energizing" his team and the fans. It's very predictable is part of the pro hockey culture. It's not as bad as the staged fights, but it is part of the strategy.

Think that's similar to the "sending a message" fights I described earlier. More like in a blow out, the losing team decides to drop the gloves at every turn as a way of saving face for getting blown out, as if this will change the outcome next time the two teams meet.

Guess what, the Rangers have been 1st in the East most of the season. They never lead local sportscasts, are rarely talked about on sports radio, and the brawl might have been their first back page of the season. And that's more than the Devils and Islanders get in this market. In 1980, Hockey was clearly the 4th sport in NY. But the Rangers and Islanders were more a part of the mainstream sports landscape here than they are now, with far less outlets covering them back then. This is an original 6 city, yet the sport is so far below the radar here - except for the die hards - and yes, no other team sport tolerates this nonsense. Imagine if Bettman dropped the hammer on Torts and company like Goodell did to the Saints. Ya think somehow they'd be able to play games with out calculated brawls going forward?

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"Kneel before Zod"
General Zod

"You're a little out of order yourself-You insulted him a little bit, you insulted him A LITTLE BIT"
Jimmy the Gent Conway

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
Edmund Burke

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weaselsuit from MN
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quote:
Originally posted by Frank Culbertson of OR:
http://nhl-red-light.si.com/2012/03/20/staged-fights-are-a-sorry-spectacle/?xid=cnnbin

I love hockey, but this really is dumb. Pointless. Premeditated. Bad for the sport.

Yeah, well I thought it was great. Two teams that hate one another lining up for the opening draw with clear intentions (via the respective coaches) that "It was on". NJ and the NYR legit hate each other.

I loved it.

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Jtmcgee
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The game has changed.I loved the flyers in the 70s(funny but
Their "enforcer" was Dave Shultz...coinidence?)I saw Hextall
Score a goal,loved the no helmets,loved the Spectrum.Back
Then the fighting had a place in the game.Now it doesn't.all
You're going to do is break your knuckles because everybody
Wears helmets(Craig Mactavich the last gradfathered no
Helmet guy- a Flyer)Pro hockey is more of a skill game now
The old style of Gordie Howe,Phil Esposito,Bobby Clarke
Doesn't apply.You're just going to the box-the other team's
On the power play

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john8
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Unless it is boxing, MMA, Kick Boxing, Jiu Jitsu, Etc. Fights should be broken up asap.

Why would a fight be allowed? If two guys fight at work, they get fired. If you fight your neighbor, you get arrested. If you fight in school, you get suspended.

Get the idea? They break up fights in baseball, soccer and basketball.

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mr. disco
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Kind of bumping up a very old thread, but fighting in the NHL isn't really very prevalent anymore.

Teams can't afford to keep a designated enforcer on the roster anymore. Even fourth-line grinders can generally skate really well these days.

Look at the leaders in PIM over the last couple years compared to 10, 15 and 20 years ago etc. They're for the most part WAY down and the lack of fighting majors is why.

I think everything that happened around Derek Boogaard's death may have led to a change in philosophy around the league as well. He was as feared a fighter as there was, and beloved by the fans, but if you read his biography, it's a really sad story. Same with Matt Johnson. There was just a story about him and he's apparently semi-homeless living in Venice Beach. Some guys come out okay, like Stu Grimson or Tie Domi, but a lot end up broken.

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Claymation Quartermain
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Don't care if they stop the fighting. I like watching all hockey for the game. Times change. I get just as excited watching college hockey and Olympic hockey (men's and women's) and they don't have fighting.

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mr. disco
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quote:
Originally posted by Claymation Quartermain:
Don't care if they stop the fighting. I like watching all hockey for the game. Times change. I get just as excited watching college hockey and Olympic hockey (men's and women's) and they don't have fighting.

I do too. I don't mind an occasional fight in the heat of the battle, but I don't miss the choreographed gooney either. Though since the Big Ten ruined college hockey, I just don't enjoy it like I used to.

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Claymation Quartermain
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quote:
Originally posted by mr. disco:
quote:
Originally posted by Claymation Quartermain:
Don't care if they stop the fighting. I like watching all hockey for the game. Times change. I get just as excited watching college hockey and Olympic hockey (men's and women's) and they don't have fighting.

I do too. I don't mind an occasional fight in the heat of the battle, but I don't miss the choreographed gooney either. Though since the Big Ten ruined college hockey, I just don't enjoy it like I used to.
Curious, how did The Big Ten ruin college hockey?

[ 02-14-2018, 04:35 AM: Message edited by: Claymation Quartermain ]

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OSJ from NM by way of WA
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quote:
Originally posted by Bnicholas:
So on one hand you have something in fighting which "delays" the game for a couple minutes and may keep two Buddhists and a Haight Asbury hippie from watching...

Don't know about the Buddhists, but if fighting is what's keeping the Hare Krishna folks from trying to sell me incense at hockey games, well, then keep on punching...

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mr. disco
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quote:
Originally posted by Claymation Quartermain:
quote:
Originally posted by mr. disco:
quote:
Originally posted by Claymation Quartermain:
Don't care if they stop the fighting. I like watching all hockey for the game. Times change. I get just as excited watching college hockey and Olympic hockey (men's and women's) and they don't have fighting.

I do too. I don't mind an occasional fight in the heat of the battle, but I don't miss the choreographed gooney either. Though since the Big Ten ruined college hockey, I just don't enjoy it like I used to.
Curious, how did The Big Ten ruin college hockey?
When Terry Pegula (owner of the Sabres and the Bills) gifted a ton of money to Penn State to start their D1 hockey program, it gave the Big Ten six teams playing the game, enough to sponsor it as a conference sport.

Prior to that, Minnesota and Wisconsin were in the old WCHA, and Michigan, MSU and OSU were in the old CCHA.

When the Big Ten decided to sponsor hockey, the six conference members were required to join, leaving their old conferences behind, which led to a huge realignment in college hockey.

College hockey is a niche sport anyway, but this upheaval destroyed many decades old rivalries and I don't know anyone who is happy with it.

Interest is WAY down at Minnesota, and the Gophers used to draw close to 10,000 a game. Now the arena is half empty or worse, because nobody cares about Ohio State or Michigan. They want to see the old rivals, North Dakota, SCSU, UMD, Denver, etc.

Also, the teams are at the mercy of the Big Ten network, so instead of the usual Friday-Saturday evening games, you get games on odd nights because BTN needs content to fill TV programming.

The old WCHA Final Five tournament used to sell out the 20,000 seat Xcel center in St. Paul. The Big Ten tournament draws a few thousand people at best. It's a joke.

The realignment ended up creating a lot of haves and have nots when the NCHC was formed in the wake, and smaller programs remained in the WCHA. I'm afraid it's going to end up with more programs folding due to money issues, and there aren't that many teams to begin with.

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Zealot
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quote:
Originally posted by john8:
Unless it is boxing, MMA, Kick Boxing, Jiu Jitsu, Etc. Fights should be broken up asap.

Why would a fight be allowed? If two guys fight at work, they get fired. If you fight your neighbor, you get arrested. If you fight in school, you get suspended.

Get the idea? They break up fights in baseball, soccer and basketball.

Hockey was always different ... It's a fast, violent sport where you're swinging a stick and hitting guys. The thought was always that the ref didn't see all the dirty stuff, and if you got too dirty, players policed themselves by sending out the enforcing to deal with somebody that was endangering another player. Like it or not, they served a purpose of keeping the game "under control."

Now there are more officials on the ice ... cameras are everywhere ... and players are a lot more skilled ... enforcers don't enforce anything anymore, they just fight other enforcers ... their meaning and reason for being is gone.

Honestly, the Flyers changed the definition of enforcer in the 70s ... instead of stopping less-skilled players from roughing up stars, they used enforcers to scare other teams and bully the opposition, hence the Broad Street Bullies.

[ 02-14-2018, 11:51 AM: Message edited by: Zealot ]

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