If you're worried about player health, you should be for eliminating hitting. What percentage of serious injuries have resulted from fighting? The percentage is low, and the amount of injuries is less than the amount of injuries from 'dirty' hits.
For the topic, he shouldn't have to respond for a clean hit. However, I do think the other team should challenge him. Except for blatantly dirty hits, I think fights should be agreed on by both players.
Sorry, I'm just not sold on the deaths of Boogaard, Belak, Rypien, and to an extent Probert being due to hits more-so than the fights. If it was Kayira-type players dying in the off-season then I'd side with hitting being worse than repeated punches to the skull, but that's not the case.
I played Juniors, I played semi-pro, I saw first hand the dread that enforcers had of their next fight, and knowing damn well the only way they can get that next paycheck is to go out and fight.
“The guys that have played the role have never denied how it makes them feel and what it does to them emotionally,” said Brantt Myhres, a former N.H.L. enforcer who made five trips to league-mandated rehabilitation because of alcohol and drug addictions, and now works as a substance-abuse counselor. “It’s one of the hardest jobs in sports. All people see is 20,000 people standing and cheering you on. They don’t see the dark times. They don’t see you curled up in a ball in a hotel room, scared to death for the next fight.”
“They scare me,” said the former enforcer Ryan Vandenbussche, 38, who last played in the N.H.L. five years ago and acknowledges bouts of memory loss. “They scare me because we don’t know why this is happening.”
A lot of them, including the long-feared enforcer Georges Laraque, now retired, said that sleep was rare the night before an expected fight with another enforcer.
"I did it because it was my job but I hated it," said Georges Laraque, one of the most successful hockey heavyweights in his 12-year NHL career. "I hated to fight. I hated the pressure. I hated to be called a goon, and an animal. I hated promoting violence."
"It's the night before, the day of the game, before it starts," he said. "It's the shivers that it gives you, the worry in the head and the brain. It's when you go to a movie and you can't watch it because you're thinking the next game about having to fight Derek Boogaard or someone like that. Or you don't feel well, but something happens and you have to go out there. ... It's that pressure that's nonstop that you live with."
I just don't see the need for it to continue, it's a hazardous unhealthy job, I understand enforcers always have a choice, they don't have to pursue NHL fighting, but once you reach that point in juniors, that's your job if you ever want to play in the NHL. I think the NHL needs to outlaw it and save these player's from themselves, I don't see a reason the NHL should keep promoting fighting. I understand hitting would be next, I wouldn't like it, but if it will end up saving lives then I might change my mind, but I can't recall an NHLer that died prematurely due to hits, that didn't have a premature heart condition, or a situation like Masterson's. It took Ludek Cajka's death for no touch icing to be introduced for example.
Terrence Tootoo, Trevor Ettinger, Don Sanderson(hit head on ice after fight), Boogard, Rypien all died do to suicide/drugs, all were heavily involved with fighting. Only two other cases of drug/suicide the past ten years that weren't enforcers, Roman Lyashenko, Tom Cavangah(was hospitalized several for schizophrenia).
Edited by Carman, 18 August 2012 - 09:44 PM.