Hockey teams are supposed to win. Actions which draw penalties, especially from borderline players, are not generally smiled upon by coaches.
Me personally, I'd rather get a few days off work in punnishment for doing something dumb than have an angry Derek Boogard come after me. *and* get a few days off work. I doubt I'm the only one.
Elimination of the instigator rule is not the anwer to all of the league's problems, it's part of the answer.
Rules against crosschecks to the face, hits from behind into the boards and slew foots do not prevent these acts, they merely penalise them. Now think about it logically.
The instigator is not a 2 minute minor - it's 2, 5, 10 and sometimes fines (for coach and player) and suspensions. As the rule stands today, players must be very careful about instigating fights.
It's hard to ignore a man who's punching you in the head.
And I suggest that removing the instigator would create additional problems that would nullify any potential benefit. There's a reason civilized nations outlaw vigilante justice; It doesn't work.
Your point on the penalties illustrates to some degree my point. Though instead of dirty plays, think hooks, trips, and holds and such. A player gets beat, they will often hook or hold to prevent a scoring opportunity. The penalty is thought to be less severe than allowing the scoring chance. They may even not get called. The benefit outweighs the risk.
You're saying basically that the benefit of starting a fight after a dirty hit does not outweigh the risk of an instigator penalty. You're saying you would rather allow a potentially preventable injury to a teammate than spend 12 extra minutes in the penalty box.
Conclusion: The benefit of starting a fight can not be very high.
As for ignoring someone...it's not that hard. First, there's no guarantee any enforcer will be on the ice, nor in the immediate viscinity. Even if they do catch you, it's not that hard to turtle up and protect yourself from injury. In that case, it is the aggressor rule, not the instigator, that protects the one getting beat. And there is no chance in hell the aggressor rule will ever be removed. The league will never, ever allow unmitigated beatings of defenseless players, 'deserved' or not. The legal repercussions would be far too severe.
3rd - for those of us here that were watching hockey back in the 1980's we didn't see as many head shots/cheap shots, and overall blatant disrespect that we see in todays game...Much of that is due to the fact that players aren't being held accountable by other players...It's not as though fighting was the only form of punishment - suspensions were handed out by the league as well...Unfortunately the league doesn't make the right decisions as we have seen with Cooke; now there's a chance the Bruins will seek their own justice which could get ugly...20 years ago we would've seen someone go after Cooke, and it would've been taken care of (although there's always potential for follow-up beatdowns in every game thereafter), but now with the league NOT SUSPENDING Cooke - I wouldn't be too surprised if things got ugly the next time the Pens/Bruins meet.
You're making a lot of assumptions. Admittedly, I don't remember alot of specifics from the 80s, but there were certainly cheap shots back then. The game wasn't as fast, nor the players as big. I think that is more to o blame for the lack of respect. Players just aren't as aware as they should be of what kind of damage they can do. Even now, cheap shots like this Cooke hit aren't exactly common. Tough, consistent discipline from league authority would be enough to raise awareness, without any potential drawbacks.
As for future retaliation against Cooke, this is where I see these arguments lose all logic.
You're actually suggesting that the fairly minor punishment for instigating prevented the Bruins from responding, but you wouldn't be surprised to see them do so in the future, in a game likely under heavy scrutiny, after likely being warned, wherein the penalties will likely be far more severe.
I swear, it's like all you instigator opponents were raised by hippies. Like you have this idea that violence is wrong, so you need to justify your desire to see more of it by trying to argue that it's a necessary evil. As though players are in mortal peril every time they step on the ice, and they must be allowed to fight for their lives.
Football is every bit as physical and violent as hockey, with just as much opportunity for cheap shots and dirty play, yet it has thrived for more than 100 years without fighting. I would say, if anything, players in the NFL have a greater degree of respect for both the rules and their fellow players than players in the NHL display, despite the lesser ability to 'police' themselves. Fighting is obviously not necessary.
But it's OK to like it, and want to see more of it. It's not barbaric. Two willing participants competing. Nothing wrong with it. Stop acting like we need it and just embrace it as an entertaining aspect of the game.