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thegerkin

Steve Yzerman wants Game Misconduct penalties for fighting

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Surprised that I haven't seen this here yet, read this one earlier this morning. Scotty Bowman weighed in, and defended (and helped clarify) Yzerman's comments:

Bowman said the league should poll players with their opinions of how to alter the rules surrounding fighting that are not in the fabric of the game — especially the so-called "staged fights" that feature two enforcers duking it out.

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"They had a survey in 2011-12 and 95 percent of the players said not to abolish fighting," Bowman said. "(The league has) to present more to the players, not abolish it as much as going forward with mandates that we think will work."

Among those, Bowman suggested, "maybe fighting has to stop when helmets are off" or "you give game misconducts for certain ones — you get the player out of the game."

Another option is quotas. If a player reaches a certain number of fights, he then is suspended.

"There have to be ways to tweak it," Bowman said.

Bowman said he doesn't envision a time when fighting is eliminated completely from the game.

"I don't think so, no," he said. "You might see rule changes that if you do fight under certain circumstances — without any rhyme or reason — you may not be able to stay in the game. That's what Yzerman was saying."

I find this argument hard to take issue with, especially with where its coming from. The question is...if some kind of rules are placed to limit but not abolish fighting, can the league actually pull it off?

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I'm puzzled by people mentioning the Draper/Lemiuex and Lidstrom/Laperrierre hits. On both occasions we had fighters on the team., on both occasions they did nothing to prevent the hit occuring. No point circle jerking over Downey dropping the gloves when Lidstrom is already out injured. Clearly Downey failed as an enforcer.

Lemiuex was a dirty SOB his entire career and enforcers did nothing to stop his cheap-shotting.

So getting rid of enforcers and fighting will lessen cheap shots and stick work?

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So are you arguing that unless we can get rid of ALL risk in the game, we shouldn't try to remove ANY risks at all?

In those instances a fight would still happen, just when it was over McCarty would get a game misconduct. The fights that most people use to justify keeping it in the game would still happen. The game misconducts would get rid of enforcers though, who don't play more than 5 minutes a night and only fight other enforcers.

With the settlement that just happened in the NFL its inevitable that fighting will eventually be banned in Hockey. It doesn't matter how the players feel about it, if its going to cost the league hundreds of millions or even billions of dollars in settlements/legal judgements, the league will just make the decision for them.

As many have tried to explain earlier, fighting is NOT part of the game, that would be like arguing slashing, cross checking or hitting from behind is part of the game.

There will always be a 'risk' in contact sport such as ice hockey; there's no way possible to remove them all...

What needs to be addressed is - is the NHL better off with fighting, or without?

Yes - I agree that injuries have, and will continue to take place for those who choose to get involved in a fight, but injuries also take place for those who don't fight as well.

Go back to page 3 of this thread; check out what Paul Maurice had to say about both the NHL, and rival league KHL...He felt there were more potential issues regarding stick work, and cheap shots in the KHL than the NHL...He also mentioned how it can be a tactic to have a 'thug' on the bench, and have that 'thug' engage a more skilled opponent into a fight in order to take that opponent out of the game.

Also on page 3 I posted a pic of Sam Gagne with his jaw broken from an accidental high stick...What damage would we see if several players on the ice decided to use their sticks on each other instead of their fists?

Again - I'm of the opinion that this should be voted on by the NHLPA.

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So getting rid of enforcers and fighting will lessen cheap shots and stick work?

I may be off base for saying this, but many of those who are in favor of eliminating fighting at the NHL level will quip..... "Well - does fighting prevent cheap shots?"

I think the obvious answer is no - fighting does not prevent all cheapshots, but it may make a few guys think twice about their actions - especially against certain opponents.

With that said, and you've already brought it up - will the elimination of fighting at the NHL see a significant reduction of cheap shots, and stick work?

Many of the anti-fighting crowd will have a tough time answering that one.

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Unless I'm misreading the rules (and I just went back and re-read them), the officials can already give a game misconduct if they feel that it is warranted.

Plus there are all sorts of additional penalties- helmet, instigator, fight strap, third man in, leaving the bench, not clearing the area, continuing a fight, etc.- that if it's really a problem, they can throw one of those in as well, which adds to the number of penalty minutes.

Or am I wrong?

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Unless I'm misreading the rules (and I just went back and re-read them), the officials can already give a game misconduct if they feel that it is warranted.

Plus there are all sorts of additional penalties- helmet, instigator, fight strap, third man in, leaving the bench, not clearing the area, continuing a fight, etc.- that if it's really a problem, they can throw one of those in as well, which adds to the number of penalty minutes.

Or am I wrong?

You're right...

The refs can essentially remove anyone from the game as they see fit...As long as they're willing to catch hell from the coaches/media.

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I may be off base for saying this, but many of those who are in favor of eliminating fighting at the NHL level will quip..... "Well - does fighting prevent cheap shots?"

I think the obvious answer is no - fighting does not prevent all cheapshots, but it may make a few guys think twice about their actions - especially against certain opponents.

With that said, and you've already brought it up - will the elimination of fighting at the NHL see a significant reduction of cheap shots, and stick work?

Many of the anti-fighting crowd will have a tough time answering that one.

I have no difficulty answering that one. To ban fighting would not have an appreciable effect on the number of cheap shots. What it would do is drastically reduce the number of injuries and long term health effects that result from fighting. That should be enough to justify it when you consider that fighting is not a necessary element to the game itself. Cheap shots and egregious stick work could be reduced if guys were heavily sanctioned by the league for taking part in that stuff. As it is now, there is zero consistency and some of the pubishments are severely lacking.

I'm really having trouble understanding this notion that a violent person will be deterred by the threat of more violence.

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I honestly felt he was pretty straight forward (although background noise - the weights clanging in the room during the interview, and my own children making noise made it hard to hear what he had to say), but the message I got was that he doesn't see fighting as a part of the game as his rivals do - as in if it were to happen - so be it, but he doesn't go out, and plan for it.

Honestly - that's fine by me.

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You'd think by some of these posts that we're in the '70's. Fighting has already been reduced significantly. With the percentage of Canadians in the NHL down to about 50% and more players going the NCAA route, it's probably going to continue to decrease.

Half the people here probably don't recall the bench clearing brawls. When they made the penalties harsh enough, they were eliminated. The same thing will happen with fighting. When you have all the players in helmets, visors and mouth guards, what is the point of it anyway?

It seems that there's a fight in a Wings game maybe every 8-10 games? Most of them aren't some enforcer gallantly defending a smaller, weaker, skilled team mate. How many times did Tootoo drop the gloves at the opening face off? That was about a personal grudge, not about his teammates.

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I find it a bit ironic that Yzerman wants to do away with fighting when his lightning have one of the most undisciplined goons in Radko Gudas.

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The above broken jaw suffered by Sam Gagne was an 'accidental high stick'.....Just think of what might happen if there was a purposeful swing of a stick at an opponents head?..

Yeah, if only Vancouver had someone on their roster who could fight, this would never have happened!

Honestly, this is the problem with the fight fans argument. There has always been cheap-shotting in the game, just as there has always been fighting. "Making guys answer" with fighting hasn't stopped the cheap shots.

As I think Harald has pointed out, what has caused a noticable change is the suspensions the league has started handing out for hits to the head.

And BTW, I'm not calling for fighting to be banned, although I believe it is inevitable. Its just the exagerrated "fighting helps prevent cancer!!!!" claims of the fight fans that have always annoyed me. I view fighting as like having nuclear weapons - you need them because your opponent has them.

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I find it a bit ironic that Yzerman wants to do away with fighting when his lightning have one of the most undisciplined goons in Radko Gudas.

I wouldn't say Gudas is an "undisciplined goon". However, it is ironic that his team has guys like Pierre-Cedric Labrie and B.J. Crombeen, who don't offer a whole lot other than fighting.

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As this discussion goes on I feel like Yzerman's comments are getting exaggerated, in this thread a little but even in the media. Unless he's made stronger comments I missed?

Because the initial one he's saying something along the lines of what Babcock said. Pointing out the absurd situation the NHL is in right now. Punishing players severely for hits to the head but then allowing them to punch each other in the head. Regardless of if you want fighting in the game or not, I think people can realize that's an odd position for a league to defend.

Khan even goes so far as to say Yzerman wants fighting eliminated from the game completely. Has he actually said anything like that?

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As this discussion goes on I feel like Yzerman's comments are getting exaggerated, in this thread a little but even in the media. Unless he's made stronger comments I missed?

Because the initial one he's saying something along the lines of what Babcock said. Pointing out the absurd situation the NHL is in right now. Punishing players severely for hits to the head but then allowing them to punch each other in the head. Regardless of if you want fighting in the game or not, I think people can realize that's an odd position for a league to defend.

Khan even goes so far as to say Yzerman wants fighting eliminated from the game completely. Has he actually said anything like that?

I was wondering the same thing. From what I understand, he was saying that sterner penalties would reduce the "unnecessary" fighting. (My expression in the quotes, not his.)

Basically, what I got out of it was that he just thought there was too much fighting that didn't need to be there. Kind of like the people who like the fighting, but don't like the enforcers or staged fights.

If anyone has anything more where he's saying that all fighting is bad, please let me know.

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Drew Remenda (color commentator for the Sharks) went on an anti-fighting rant to which the Red Wings were central; he noted that the Wings have been the most successful team from 1995 onward despite having had, by a substantial margin, the lowest number of fights out of any team (expansion teams included) during that period.

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Drew Remenda (color commentator for the Sharks) went on an anti-fighting rant to which the Red Wings were central; he noted that the Wings have been the most successful team from 1995 onward despite having had, by a substantial margin, the lowest number of fights out of any team (expansion teams included) during that period.

Also makes for boring hockey while the game is going on. Low scoring games with lots of passing and no checking or fighting is quite boring. That's why as a wings fan I watched eastern conference games almost as much as the wings.

F.Michael and Hockeymom1960 like this

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Also makes for boring hockey while the game is going on. Low scoring games with lots of passing and no checking or fighting is quite boring. That's why as a wings fan I watched eastern conference games almost as much as the wings.

I've been in the same boat...

These past 3, or 4 seasons in particular I've tuned into games featuring the Bruins/Leafs/Habs/Flyers games instead of the usual Wings vs 'some Western Conference team'.

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From CBC:

In an interview with the CBC's Peter Mansbridge Monday that touched on the league's new helmet rule and violence in hockey, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said fighting was "part of the fabric" of hockey.

But, Bettman added change is coming, albeit gradually.

"When we make changes, we respect the tradition" of the game. "You don’t throw a light switch to effectuate change. The game is evolving and we are constantly wrestling with that balance,” Bettman said.

Typical Uncle Gary; he's so full of it his eyes are brown.

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It is just a matter of time before Bettman and company has ruined the game of hockey completely. They will not stop until hockey looks like figureskating.

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Drew Remenda (color commentator for the Sharks) went on an anti-fighting rant to which the Red Wings were central; he noted that the Wings have been the most successful team from 1995 onward despite having had, by a substantial margin, the lowest number of fights out of any team (expansion teams included) during that period.

Are the Wings evidence that fighting isn't neccesary, or are they evidence that fighting is neccesary but doesn't need to be used often?

Yeah, if only Vancouver had someone on their roster who could fight, this would never have happened!

Honestly, this is the problem with the fight fans argument. There has always been cheap-shotting in the game, just as there has always been fighting. "Making guys answer" with fighting hasn't stopped the cheap shots.

As I think Harald has pointed out, what has caused a noticable change is the suspensions the league has started handing out for hits to the head.

And BTW, I'm not calling for fighting to be banned, although I believe it is inevitable. Its just the exagerrated "fighting helps prevent cancer!!!!" claims of the fight fans that have always annoyed me. I view fighting as like having nuclear weapons - you need them because your opponent has them.

I don't think anyone has argued that fighting would stop all cheap shots- if it did, why would there be fighting? It may be a more 'fair' alternative to more reckless plays.

Edited by WorkingOvertime

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I was listening to the B's on the radio last night, so I didn't get to see what led to Thornton and Labrie going at it, but from the radio broadcast it did not seem like the scrum at the net(previous shift) was that bad to need a fight.

And if it was that bad, wasn't McQuaid's cross check something worse that should have led to another fight?

Was last night's fight "necessary" (need a better word than that), was that protecting anyone?

Was Labrie really going to town in the scrum in front of the net?

Again I was listening on the radio so these questions are honest!

Edited by Opie

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I was listening to the B's on the radio last night, so I didn't get to see what led to Thornton and Labrie going at it, but from the radio broadcast it did not seem like the scrum at the net(previous shift) was that bad to need a fight.

And if it was that bad, wasn't McQuaid's cross check something worse that should have led to another fight?

Was last night's fight "necessary" (need a better word than that), was that protecting anyone?

Was Labrie really going to town in the scrum in front of the net?

Again I was listening on the radio so these questions are honest!

I'll look for the NESN replay; usually it'll be on the next day...

To answer your question...I guess one way of looking at it is some players just naturally play with an aggressive edge, and when push comes to shove - they'll throw punches...I feel both Thornton, and McQuaid play with that edge...The Bruins have a team full of these sorts of players.

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