I've noticed a large number of obituaries appearing lately that morn the loss of the fight game aspect of the sport under the new NHL rules. It seems like it's really being missed by a substantial cross-section of players, press and fans alike.
Fighting has not totally disappeared from the NHL. Go to a game and there's still a 29 percent chance you will see a fight. But that 29 percent is on pace to be the lowest since the NHL has kept such records. So much so that it appears time to retire the old joke of "I went to a fight and a hockey game broke out."
Fighting is being weeded out of the NHL.
DENVER - Dan Hinote had bitten his lip long enough that it was nearly black and blue. But Hinote says in the new NHL that's about the only body part black and blue anymore.
"There's no testosterone in the game right now," the Colorado Avalanche's veteran right wing said, breaking a taboo on league criticism since the game returned from the labor dispute canceled the 2004-05 season. "They've taken a lot of the physical aspects out of the game. It's predominantly special teams now. It's unfortunate, because there's no more battling in the corners. I won't say there's none, but there's a lot less.
I get it, the NHL doesn't want fighting. Spike TV has Ultimate Fighting, so if you're looking for the brawling, that is were I go for my fix of pugilism. Hockey is about accountability. You are accountable to your teammates and to your opponents. What ever happened to the times when the other team ran your goalie and you did something about it? How about the good ole days when the tough areas of the ice was in front of the net. Wait a minute, it is the tough area, for all NHL goaltenders getting trampled by oncoming forwards.
According to the NHL and Elias Sports Bureau, there had been 300 fighting majors through the first 408 games this season. That is down from 558 fighting majors through the first 408 games of the 2003-04 season, a staggering 45 percent decrease. Consider the fate of several tough guys: Ken Belanger (knocked cold once by Laus) recently retired. Krzysztof Oliwa was cut by the Devils and Andrei Nazarov by the Wild. And former Panthers tough guy Peter Worrell, who led the NHL with 354 penalty minutes in 2001-02, is trying to survive in the ECHL with the Charlotte Checkers.
Once a badge of courage, a way to make a mark in the league, fighting has become passe during the post-lockout era.
What in the name of Dave Schultz is going on here?Personally I'm not too worried about these developments, I think the dramatic decline in fighting we're currently experiencing is a evolutionary moment in time rather than a permanent state of affairs for the NHL. We're in a period of transition where the dinosaurs of the fight game are being weeded out and a new breed of players like... Derek Boogaard... Brian McGrattan... and George Parros ...players who can both PLAY and FIGHT are slowly starting to establish themselves and their games in the new and improved NHL. It's a different fight game that we're seeing evolve compared to the old traditional model we've had for so loooong and once that process has taken place I think we'll see the pugilist aspect of the game pick up from these record lows... although we'll never see a return to the wild days of the 70's and 80's, you can definitely kiss those times goodbye (sniff, sniff).
Welcome to the "new NHL," a relatively kinder and gentler version of the brand of hockey on display less than two years ago before the National Hockey League closed its doors for a season while settling a labor dispute.
BUZZING THE NET:
Are We Getting The BEST Game Possible ? NOLAN Wants Back In NHL... I say let him back in. The NHL Has Been FULL Of Surprises TEN to Watch NHL MUST Stand By New Rules LOVE CUSTOMS of the Frozen North
YOU KNOW YOUR A HOCKEY FAN IF...
You refer to your own team's enforcers as "character guys" and you refer to other teams' enforcers as "freaking little pieces of monkey s#@t."