"I think it's time to ask the question. I think you have to ask the question because of what's happening out there. It's incumbent on me, because of my position, to ask the question," Colin Campbell said yesterday.I'm not sure you should or even could take fighting out of hockey. It's part of the games' DNA. More players each year are carted off the ice as a result of hard checks than are carted off from fights. So, should hard checking be banned from hockey too? How about slap shots and the damage, even serious injuries they cause to players each year, either from blocking them or ricochets? Should they be banned from the sport also? Hockeys' a inherently dangerous sport, taking fighting out really doesn't make it any safer. Actually there's a good argument that it'd make it more dangerous with cheap shot artists free to practice their art at will. I'm all for making it safer considering the players today are bigger, stronger and more adept at fighting. Maybe making them keep their gloves on during a fight as opposed to bare knuckle fighting might help prevent some of the more serious injuries from occurring BUT banning it all together won't be good for the sport, from a safety nor entertainment perspective.
The latest evidence in the case against fighting was Todd Fedoruk being taken off the ice on a stretcher Wednesday.
Campbell is no namby-pamby. He used to drop the gloves in his day as an NHL player. But the NHL's director of hockey operations worries about what could happen.
"I'm not afraid now to talk about the fact that we should look at fighting in hockey. I think if you discussed this even three or four years ago you would have got pooh-poohed out of the game," Campbell said.
"But now I think because of the size of our players, where we're at in sports and in life, I think we have to look at it."
It's going to be a hard, long battle to convince enough people, though.
"I think you're going to lose fans. As much as I hate to say it - because you'd like to think everybody comes to see the exciting players do their thing - but there's a large amount of people who love the physical, tough aspect of our sport. And fighting is a favourite of a lot of people," veteran Coyotes centre Jeremy Roenick said.
"Would it kill me (to have fighting banned)? No. ... I wouldn't mind not seeing it, I don't like to see anybody get hurt. But as far as selling tickets, there's a large group of people who enjoy the fights."
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