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Thursday, February 12, 2009

Don't Stop The "Eye Of The Tiger"

The London Hockey Concussion Summit just recommended '...fighting... be eliminated from... the game...'. It is difficult to argue with the medical ramifications of concussions which can be produced by fighting...

That said, your opinion depends on your point of view. I personally believe fighting for no reason is pointless. To defend yourself, to stick up for a teammate, for team honor? Those reasons I understand.

Hockey is, well, life. But Hockey is also a sport, and in that regard, entertainment. An undeniable time you know fans are entertained is when a fight ensues. This is expressed when they rise out of their seats in the arena and everything else stops in a room as 'Eye of the Tiger' comes up on the jumbotron speakers when players square off. In some markets, it is THE reason tickets are sold and allows players to earn a living on the ice. Fighting is one integral part of this game that defines its marketability and sets it apart from other sport. And as in life, fights sometimes happen.

So if it is difficult to argue with medical knowledge and fights are sometimes necessary, then a compromise seems to be in order. I say, allow fighting for those times they are needed, but ensure there is penalty so as to make it really worth it. If they must square up, let the fight go until someone is in danger or their is an unfair advantage. Then apply a five-minute major and a game misconduct.

There would then be reasons not to fight in the normal course of a game. First and foremost is because those who do, won't play the rest of the game. Not to mention coaches will not like skating with a short bench on a regular basis.

This penalty for fighting will also possibly morph the role of 'enforcer' into someone who can contribute to scoring and checking more than sometimes is the current case. Venting frustration will have to rest in harder checking and more scoring because they are the best ways to get at an opponent.

But, for times when it is needed, fighting would still be there. Fans would still be entertained and royalties for 'Eye of The Tiger' would still be paid. Don't take away the 'Tiger.' Just provide more protection through raising the fighting penalty.

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