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I posted this in another section, part of a response to someone suggesting we sign Bertuzzi. Someone suggested I post it as its' own thread to see the response, so here goes...... I've edited the Bertuzzi part out.

It is clearly time the League needs to clamp down on violence. These are my suggestions.

First off, to those who always use the argument, fighting is part of the game, no it is not. Read the rules. No where does it say a player may beat another player up. In fact there is a rule that says you can not and if you do you get a penalty. So point of fact, fighting is not and has never been allowed in hockey. The problem then is how to punish a player who fights.

What the NHL has done over the last 25 years is to punish a player who fights another player who just cheap shotted one of his team mates. The enforcer. No more John Fergusons, no more Bouchards, no more Semenkos. Instead what we end up with is fighters who fight other fighters for absolutely no reason whatsoever other than to provide some fans with their fix....So now we have stupidity. Fighting of this nature needs to be removed entirely. Put in a UFC bout between periods if you have to for cripes sakes but this nonsense fighting is absolutely ridiculous and makes the NHL look laughable.

Which leaves what I call "legitimate" fighting. This is the fight that breaks out after a Kasparaitis cheap shots Kostytsin and Laraque or whoever is on the ice with Kostystsin at the time grabs Kaspar and pummels his head in in revenge. This is a reactionary penalty, and deserves a five minute major penalty. The instigator should go to Kaspar for starting the whole problem. Note that it starts with the cheap shot. If it had just been a little trip or something and one of our guys retaliated by punching the other guy out, then yeah, he'd get the instigation penalty too. And that's when you eject him from the game.

Either of these two incidences are better than the next....

.....the retaliation. This is where it gets ugly. Kaspar cheap shots Kostytsin, and we all look on in horror as Andrei crawls off the ice, but no one does anything. We don't react in the heat of the moment. That would be understandable. No we sit and brood and then all of a sudden in the second period, over an hour later mayber, wham, we hit Kaspar with a vicious head shot that knocks him out. This was not reactionary, in the heat of the game. It was cold. It was calculated. It was premeditated. This is suspension material. Three games minimum. And a hefty fine to player and coach.

Then we get to the 'next game retaliation". This is the same as above but the payback does not come in the next shift or period, but in the next game, or even further on. This is even more premeditated than the above example and deserves a minimum 10 game suspension. This would have applied automatically in the Bertuzzi incident. Perhaps it would have made the Canucks think twice about retaliating.

Beyond that they should bring in a rule that states that that if a player injures another player in any way that was against the rules, he will be suspended (or may be suspended) for the length of the injured player's injury. In other words, injure another player and you are out as long a he is out. Whoa, suddenly a whole new degree of respect between the players is reborn.

There is a mentality among many players today that when you hit someone you do it to hurt him. Like Scott Stevens. Can anyone honestly say that when he hit a guy he was not trying to take him out. Injure him. And half the hockey world loved it, ate it up, praised the guy. I have nothing against Stevens. He was an awesome defenseman but was a product of his time. How he played has become acceptable, has become an example of how to play the game. Dion Phaneuf has a commercial where he basically says he is trying to hurt guys.

But what about Lindros and the countless other guys Stevens and others like him have pounded away at until their careers were ended prematurely? It is becoming more and more obvious that this type of play, this attitude, has lead to more concussions and head related injuries than ever before.

The solution can be found in the NFL I believe. Football, like hockey, is a rough and inherently dangerous sport. Both allow players to hit each other as part of the game. When banging into each other is part of the game it should be apparent that rules need to be implemented with regards to how and how hard players can do so. The NFL has long had an "Unnecessary Roughness" rule. The NHL should bring in a similar rule.

I remember watching in horror as Brian Savage was hit and broke his neck. The announcers kept saying it was a perfectly good check, it was completely fair. All I could think is if the rules allow that, the rules need to be changed. The hit was textbook, a good clean hit. But there was no doubt it was excessively hard, and no doubt that it was going to hurt Savage. It was unnecessarily rough. Just like the countless headshots that Stevens dished out over the years.

Finally I have been noticing a whole new trend in the NHL, one that worries me greatly. I wonder if anyone else has noticed this. It's a different kind of cheapshot. It's a tandem penalty. One guy hounds another player, and purposely blocks his view of his team mate coming in with the big hit out of nowhere. Pittsburg hit Koivu like that a couple of years ago in retaliation for Lapierre supposively butt ending Crosby at the opening face off. Don Cherry later showed frame by frame that Max's stick never even touched Crosby. But his teammates didn't know that and they wanted vengeance. They obviously decided to try to take out our top center, Koivu. One of them hounded Koivu all the way up the ice and then stops suddenly and his teammate is there to hit Koivu. The hit itself, while here is nothing wrong with it by the rules. But the whole notion that these two guys are working together to be able to deliver a check that sends an opponent to the hospital is very disturbing to me. They probably practice these plays. We lost another player like this this year. I'm think it was Kostytsin....

I think with these little rule changes, the game would be cleaned up considerably. Removing fighting entirely is not the solution. Bringing in a whole new level of respect between the players is.

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lol...man they should just let them police them selves...with this stupid rule about instigating players get hurt more often lol cuz the tough guys cant do a damn thing about ppl cheap shotting their players. i wonder how many players got hurt since this dumb rule was put in....Fighting is apart of hockey if you say it isnt you should look at hockey games from the 1970s they policed them selves they protected their stars and if ppl ever did cheap shot a person they answered to the tough guys on that team. Gary buttface is turning this sport into a wuss of a sport and its sad....

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lol...man they should just let them police them selves...with this stupid rule about instigating players get hurt more often lol cuz the tough guys cant do a damn thing about ppl cheap shotting their players. i wonder how many players got hurt since this dumb rule was put in....Fighting is apart of hockey if you say it isnt you should look at hockey games from the 1970s they policed them selves they protected their stars and if ppl ever did cheap shot a person they answered to the tough guys on that team. Gary buttface is turning this sport into a wuss of a sport and its sad....

Take that damm instigator rule and flush it.

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An unnecessary roughness penalty is not the way to go. Why? It's another subjective, grey area call. Referees have enough crap to watch for/make subjective calls on (ex: holding), they don't need to be making judgment calls on whether or not someone is being 'unnecessarily rough'. Often times, especially in hockey, hits look a lot worse than they are. I can't tell you how many times I've seen a guy get completely plowed through, flip through the air, spin around, and land in a weird position...only to get right back up and go go go. I don't need a referee seeing that same flipping, spinning, and odd landing, only to decide that it was "too rough" and call a penalty which could decide the game/series.

All I can really agree with is the idea of increasing the penalty for injuring a player. I can't say I think the suspension/fine should be contingent on the length of time missed by the injured party, because then you're adding another grey area (I hate grey areas in case you haven't noticed thus far), where a player has to take his own value, as well as the opposing players value into account before making a hit/getting into a fight. What happens if a valuable big guy (say Chara for example) plows over Laraque in the corner, and Laraque is out for 3 weeks. What's worse, is what if the habs keep Laraque out for 3 weeks because Chara is so damn important to the Booins? No, unacceptable.

If you want to increase penalties on situations where a player is injured, fine them based on how many games the injured player missed. In Bertuzzi's case, this would have essentially forfeited his salary forever...implying a ban from the sport would be acceptable (which I agree it would have been). If losing ones livelihood isn't a significant enough deterrent, nothing will be. I think this would even take care of your Phaneuff concern. He'd have to think about exactly how hard he wanted to hit someone...and if injuring them was really worth losing $xx,xxx for the player being out a week.

Other than that, the instigator penalty needs to be removed entirely. It doesn't work as intended, players simply poke each other and call each other names until one decks the other...at which point HE gets the instigator. It's a waste of time, and the dumb scrums often result in refs pulling a player at random into the box...as a completely compensatory fix to the failure of the instigator rule to do what it was meant.

People are going to get injured, you can't fix that...unless you completely remove any meaning to hitting, and completely remove fighting (at which point some players would still get hurt. Even in football players still fight though it's arguably more acceptable in hockey to do so). Excessively regulating the game is a horrid idea (look at the delay of game rule and how craptastic that is). Regulating the game with subjective rule changes is an even worse idea. Regulate their pockets, instead.

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While I agree whole heartedly with you on subjective penalties, I also accept that every penalty is subjective seemingly, even tripping. Witness one team getting a diving penalty that could have been called a triiping penalty on the other team,or vice versa.I guess at one point we have to accept that referees need to call the play correctly. To deny any rule changes or new rules have any merit BECAUSE the referres are idiots and will not call them correctly is not really a good reason, or we'll never make any rule changes. I really think it's usually pretty obvious when a hit was unnecessarily rough.

With reagrds to one player faking an injury, you'd obviously need an unbiased NHL doctor to confirm injuries. And a review of the incident would also be needed.

I'm always mindful of new penalties too, mainly because the Habs alsways seem to get the worst out of them, but a crackdown is coming, and it will likely not follow any of the ideas I have suggested, or you have suggested. It will more likely be a total elimination of fighting, which is not the solution in my mind. I believe the solution is to make the players respect each other more . Now the idea of fining them, that I like a lot. But that also comes to the same point, leveling blame correctly. If one player injures another, before you can fine him excessively like you suggest, you must be making a prior judgment that what he did was illegal, that what he did injured another player, and for how long. Once you have to judge a player doing so, it is just as easy (and appropriate) to kick him out of the game for the length of his opponent's injury. It's not like it (either suspension or fines) would be used all the time, because injuries are part of the game, but the threat of it would be enough to make players think before purposely trying to erase an opponent.

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I posted this in another section, part of a response to someone suggesting we sign Bertuzzi. Someone suggested I post it as its' own thread to see the response, so here goes...... I've edited the Bertuzzi part out.

I agree with your analysis. Some argue that fighting is part of hockey... Well, maybe as much as burning red lights is part of driving... It gets done, it gets punished, therefore needs to be well monitored.

Keep your thread going, I think we'll have a lot more to talk about once the season starts.

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Maybe for every fan he'd lose he'd gain 2 others. Soccer seems to do fine without violence. NBA players fight, and are suspended. MLB, NFL, ditto. The NHL allows more violence than any of the more successful sports leagues and the NHL is also the smallest, least successful of them. Strange how the most exciting sport is the least successful.

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...

What the NHL has done over the last 25 years is to punish a player who fights another player who just cheap shotted one of his team mates. The enforcer. No more John Fergusons, no more Bouchards, no more Semenkos. Instead what we end up with is fighters who fight other fighters for absolutely no reason whatsoever other than to provide some fans with their fix....So now we have stupidity. Fighting of this nature needs to be removed entirely. Put in a UFC bout between periods if you have to for cripes sakes but this nonsense fighting is absolutely ridiculous and makes the NHL look laughable.

Which leaves what I call "legitimate" fighting. This is the fight that breaks out after a Kasparaitis cheap shots Kostytsin and Laraque or whoever is on the ice with Kostystsin at the time grabs Kaspar and pummels his head in in revenge. This is a reactionary penalty, and deserves a five minute major penalty. The instigator should go to Kaspar for starting the whole problem. Note that it starts with the cheap shot. If it had just been a little trip or something and one of our guys retaliated by punching the other guy out, then yeah, he'd get the instigation penalty too. And that's when you eject him from the game.

...

Great topic, and overall a well thought out post. A lot of other posters have gone on to talk about how the instigator rule is basically garbage and doesn't serve its intended purpose as well. I agree with that 100%.

Having said that though, I think changing the instigator rule as you described above is one of the best ideas that I've heard on the subject. Why not give it to the person who instigated the situation, not the one who instigated the fight?

If you get a tripping or a boarding penalty, well, whatever, you do your 2 minutes. But if you do something really flagrant (a cross check to the face, etc.) with real intent to injure and an opponent goes after you because of it, you should by all means be given an instigator penalty as well (the guy who took the first penalty, NOT the guy who started the fight). Likewise, if it's clean and someone stupidly starts a fight, give that guy the penalty. Great idea in my opinion.

You know who, as a fan, I really like to see fight? Tom Kostopolous. Not because he's good at it (let's face it, he loses...badly...almost every time) but because he does it to stick up for teammates when something dirty has been done to him. I'd much rather see that than watch Laraque pound on Colton Orr at the opening whistle, which is really pretty stupid and has nothing to to with the game.

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WOW never thought I would read such nonsense on a habs forum. I may not like your team, but habs fans know hockey, and are passionate. This is a Canadian game, up here we don't baby-proof everything. OP must be a channel flicker when the game(s) are on. This game is about pure emotion. You cannot compare it to any other sport. Guess you don't get it =D

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You know who, as a fan, I really like to see fight? Tom Kostopolous. Not because he's good at it (let's face it, he loses...badly...almost every time) but because he does it to stick up for teammates when something dirty has been done to him. I'd much rather see that than watch Laraque pound on Colton Orr at the opening whistle, which is really pretty stupid and has nothing to to with the game.

I agree. I have absolutely no problem whatsoever with the fights Kostopoulos gets in. He fights to protect his teammates and that is not only commendable, it should be somewhat accepted. In other words, don't give him an extra two for getting even witha guy who cheapshots his opponent....in the heat of battle. That's a better outcome, a far better deterrent and punishment, than any penalty you give the guy. When a player does something dirty to another player, I think he is fair game until the next puck is dropped again. Then play resumes and you let by gones be by gones, with the exception that you're going to check that guy hard all night. If it was a really really dirty play and you just don't have anyone on the ice who can punch the guys lights out, then you wait til his next shift. I must admit after the 07-08 season, I was happy to get Laraque because I thought we had been pushed around too easily by Philadelphia and we needed a more physical presence. We needed someone who would defend our smaller guys when other teams took liberties with them. But I don't think I saw him throw his gloves off once and come to the aid of a team mate. All he did was take part in the staged fights that hopefully will be removed from the game next year....

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WOW never thought I would read such nonsense on a habs forum. I may not like your team, but habs fans know hockey, and are passionate. This is a Canadian game, up here we don't baby-proof everything. OP must be a channel flicker when the game(s) are on. This game is about pure emotion. You cannot compare it to any other sport. Guess you don't get it =D

I'm not actually quoting you because of your post but rather to compliment you on your signature. It's awsome of all those little kids to move way over like that so we could get a nice clear view of that Habs jersey. :P

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I don't really agree with this at all. Fighting existed in hockey before the NHL was formed. Voilence existed in hockey before the NHL was formed. It's part of what makes the sport of hockey unique and hockey is already become a shadow of it's former self as it become less and less violent. Take out violence from hockey and you have a soccer game on ice.

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I don't really agree with this at all. Fighting existed in hockey before the NHL was formed. Voilence existed in hockey before the NHL was formed. It's part of what makes the sport of hockey unique and hockey is already become a shadow of it's former self as it become less and less violent. Take out violence from hockey and you have a soccer game on ice.

I don't disagree with anything you say. If you really read what the original poster wrote, though, it has nothing to do with taking out violence from hockey. There would still be hard checks. There would still be emotional fights like there have always been. All that would be removed are those stupid staged fights between enforcers who just do it because they're expected to and because it's what the fans want to see.

I really, honestly and truly do not get excited when there's a random fight at the drop of the puck. Do you? Really?

People say let the players enforce themselves. Well, by not giving a penalty when a player gets in a fight after a cheap shot I think we would be doing a pretty good job of just that, no?

WOW never thought I would read such nonsense on a habs forum. I may not like your team, but habs fans know hockey, and are passionate. This is a Canadian game, up here we don't baby-proof everything. OP must be a channel flicker when the game(s) are on. This game is about pure emotion. You cannot compare it to any other sport. Guess you don't get it =D

See my post above. Nothing wrong with fights that are 'pure emotion'. And there's nothing Canadian about watching boring, staged fights between guys who aren't even mad at each other.

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I don't disagree with anything you say. If you really read what the original poster wrote, though, it has nothing to do with taking out violence from hockey. There would still be hard checks. There would still be emotional fights like there have always been. All that would be removed are those stupid staged fights between enforcers who just do it because they're expected to and because it's what the fans want to see.

I really, honestly and truly do not get excited when there's a random fight at the drop of the puck. Do you? Really?

People say let the players enforce themselves. Well, by not giving a penalty when a player gets in a fight after a cheap shot I think we would be doing a pretty good job of just that, no?

See my post above. Nothing wrong with fights that are 'pure emotion'. And there's nothing Canadian about watching boring, staged fights between guys who aren't even mad at each other.

I am not a big fan of fights, but it's been part of the game for so long it seems like you would be taking something away from the game to take it out. Of course fighting isn't the same as it once was when there was real hatred between players of different hockey teams, but it's still part of the game. I thought the shootout, auto offsides, player in the crease, would make the game better, but they ended up hurting the game. Perhaps it's best the way it started.

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I am not a big fan of fights, but it's been part of the game for so long it seems like you would be taking something away from the game to take it out. Of course fighting isn't the same as it once was when there was real hatred between players of different hockey teams, but it's still part of the game. I thought the shootout, auto offsides, player in the crease, would make the game better, but they ended up hurting the game. Perhaps it's best the way it started.

How is "Its part of the game" an argument in favor of its good for the game?

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I don't disagree with anything you say. If you really read what the original poster wrote, though, it has nothing to do with taking out violence from hockey. There would still be hard checks. There would still be emotional fights like there have always been. All that would be removed are those stupid staged fights between enforcers who just do it because they're expected to and because it's what the fans want to see.

I really, honestly and truly do not get excited when there's a random fight at the drop of the puck. Do you? Really?

People say let the players enforce themselves. Well, by not giving a penalty when a player gets in a fight after a cheap shot I think we would be doing a pretty good job of just that, no?

See my post above. Nothing wrong with fights that are 'pure emotion'. And there's nothing Canadian about watching boring, staged fights between guys who aren't even mad at each other.

Just because YOU are not excited when they drop the gloves after a face off doesn't mean the billion other hockey fans arent either lol

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How is "Its part of the game" an argument in favor of its good for the game?

Because if you take something out of the game you don't know what impact it will have on the rest of game. Hockey is already getting to be a lot less contact then when it started.

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Because if you take something out of the game you don't know what impact it will have on the rest of game.

Which is why you do your reserach and carefully make moves, but ultimately do it for the better of the game.

Hockey is already getting to be a lot less contact then when it started.

It actually has more contact than like 10-15 years ago, due to the faster pace. Also I fail to see the negative if the game gets a little less physical if the game in itself becomes better. While thats a matter of opinoin, its not something drastically evil or anything.

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Which is why you do your reserach and carefully make moves, but ultimately do it for the better of the game.

It actually has more contact than like 10-15 years ago, due to the faster pace. Also I fail to see the negative if the game gets a little less physical if the game in itself becomes better. While thats a matter of opinoin, its not something drastically evil or anything.

I would have to disagree. In the 90s the game was slower, but there was a lot more contact. It was the clutch and grab era where you had to fight for every inch of space. People were allowed to cross check you to the ice in front of their net without being given a penalty. A lot more was let go then is today.

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I think the increase in fighting is directly related to the instigator rule. It protects the smaller players from charging around the ice like maniacs and dishing out head shots, with less fear of being retaliated against by the goons and real fighters like BGL. Players used to be afraid of pulling something like that off because then he would get the snot beat out of him. Instead now he can laugh it off on the bench, or maybe take a couple punches and draw 17 mins in penalties from an opponent (10 min misconduct that comes with the instigator, 2 min minor for actually instigator and then 5 min major for fighting).

The NHL should probably reconsider this instigator rule, because it is NOT working in the way it was intended.

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I agree that there was more clutching and grabbing in the 90s, and more crosschecking, but in fact the clutching and grabbing slowed the play down a good deal, so much so that many hits were less hard. Take Kostopoulos taking out Van Ryn. He said after that he did not blame Kosto as much as the rule changes. He pointed his finger at two changes. One was the fact goalies can not go into the corners so the defenseman always has to race against the opponent for a puck and one or the other of them gets hit. The second was just what I mentioned above.....in the past as the two skaters were racing into the boards after the puck, Van Ryn would have been clutching and grabbing or otherwise interfering with Kosto all the way and they`d have been going a lot slower when he got hit. Now they are racing in at full tilt.

This thread was never about removing fighting from the game. Staged fights have no place in any sport; they make a joke of the NHL. Someone mentioned intensity and emotion. Well yeah, the game is intense and filled with emotion. When a fight breaks out I want it to be because of intensity and emotion. But when one coach glances over at the other coach and they each give a nod and send their fighters out there to fight, I disapprove. When both teams are playing great, no one has done anything and suddenly without any reason there is a fight, right off the faceoff, I disapprove. It`s not only stupid, but it brings bad publicity to the game. It arms people against fighting in hockey with the examples they need to prove their case. It makes it seem like fighting in hockey is nonsensical and staged purely for the enjoyment of a few bloodthirsty fans.

And that is the main problem. Because there are certain times, because of intensity and emotion and because one player does something that demands punishment (and not the type any referee can hand out), when a fight is the best solution, rules be damned. This thread was about bringing back respect between the players. Well, nothing makes you respect the fact that the guy you just elbowed in the head didn`t really appreciate it more than George Laraque punching your head in. No penalty, no fine, no suspension is going to make it clearer.

The instigation penalty is not a bad idea in theory but it is called the wrong way totally. The problem is in casting blame, in naming who the actual instigator is. If a fight breaks out, they look at who dropped their gloves first. What the hell does that have to do with anything. If Gary Dornhoffer (probably spelled his name wrong) elbows Lafleur in the head and Bouchard takes exception, drops his gloves and pounds Gary`s head in, who is the instigator. I think it should be Gary. 2 for instigating, 2 or 5 for elbowing, and 5 for fighting back, unless he turtles. Pierre wiould get 5 for fighting. Unfortunately the NHL calls it the opposite way and this creates a ridiculous scenario.

I believe their stance is along these lines. First and foremost, the ref is in charge. He polices the game, not the players. Any attempt to deviate from this idea or even question it, is a huge no no. Like cheating on your taxes. So Gary elbows Lafleur. One of two things usually happens. One, the referee calls the play immediately, Gary gets 2 or 5 for the cheapshot and goes to the box. Because a penalty is called right away we keep our composure, maintain our discipline, and get a powerplay. We`re happy. Two, the referee either misses the call or ignores it, we are aghast at the non call, Bouchard drops his gloves and pounds Gary`s head in. Now the ref has a problem. First and foremost, he must be in charge. Something happened, sure, but for one reason or another he elected not to blow the whistle. When Bouchard drops his gloves, he is saying without words, you might have missed it but I didn`t and I`m taking charge, I`m policing the game. And this attitude is intolerable by the referees and the NHL. So he gets the extra penalty, that freaking instigator penalty, the penalty that rightly belongs to Gary if anyone, and really results because of bad refereeing. Instigator penalties almost always come about after something happens that the ref doesn`t call. It`s really more like a retaliatory penalty. Or worse, a way the referee punishes a player who has the audacity to not accept a non call and try to take the game into their own hands. A powertrip. But in the end Bouchard ends up with an extra two minutes, Lafleur has a mild concussion and Gary takes a much needed rest in the box. Crapola!

Players are there on the ice. They see what is happening. Generally they don`t come to the rescue of one of their team mates unless they saw something dirty. So I think they should be allowed to police themselves more. Fights that erupt in the heat of battle as a result of a cheap shot are not a bad thing. When we see some guy like Kasparaitis stick his knee out and wipe out a star player (or anyone) the most fitting punishment, the one that will satisfy the other team, is to have the snot kicked out of him. I dare say the referees and linesmen should clear back, make sure no one steps in, and let it go til the guy goes down. I guarantee you`d see a lot less antics and cheapshots from the likes of little pukes like Avery.

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Just because YOU are not excited when they drop the gloves after a face off doesn't mean the billion other hockey fans arent either lol

Are you? Again, I'M NOT TALKING ABOUT LEGITIMATE HOCKEY FIGHTS. I love those. It's just those stupid ones where neither team even seems interested in the outcome. Those ones where two enforcers go at it when nothing major has happened in the game, the fans barely get up from their seats and both teams casually beat their sticks on the boards while chatting to their teammates or glancing at the scoreboard at the same time.

Even if you listen to those in the media who are completely in favour of keeping fighting in the game (Cherry, for instance, who's got a whole line of Rock'em Sock'em videos riding on this stuff :P), these same people are all calling staged fights stupid. It's not about policing, it's not about sending a message to the other team, it's just dumb and with no emotion behind it it's kind of boring.

Read ElCapitan's post above mine. It's excellent, and really explains what he's talking about with regard to changing the instigator rule.

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