Friday, 10 May 2013
Hockey enforcers are touted as “policemen” in hockey. According to some they hand out retribution for cheap shots and their targets will think twice before about repeating their sins. It has even been suggested that their mere presence on the bench will calm things down and their opponents will play differently. Unfortunately that’s all myth and perception because the facts tell a different story.
Tuesday, 23 April 2013
“It’s time we took some action because, if something isn’t done soon, it will ruin the game for all of us. I’ve never seen so much stuff like this. I never thought it could be so bad. It’s becoming a disaster,” he said. “The idiot owners, the incompetent coaches, the inept players are dragging the game into the mud. They’re destroying it with their senseless violence.” When one of hockey’s top players speaks out you would expect that the league and the NHLPA would listen and perhaps respond. Except the NHL has never fully articulated its stance on fighting and violence despite ample opportunity to do so.
Thursday, 18 April 2013
I’ve spent more than a year publishing 3 or 4 articles per month on why fighting and enforcers are negatively impacting the sport of hockey. Most are opinion pieces but a significant amount provide data and research that dispels the myths that the hockey establishment (players, coaches, team and league executives) uses to explain why it remains in the game. But I’m not the only one providing real facts on why fighting hurts the team.
Saturday, 6 April 2013
So the league is settling down with fewer fights per game over the past few weeks. Some teams have made dramatic changes, either adding some 4th line grit or downsizing their police force and focusing on hockey. I wonder if the teams who have significantly increased or decreased their fights per game have improved their win – loss record. Let’s find out.
Tuesday, 2 April 2013
Last night Matt Martin fought Tom Kostopoulos and quickly dropped him to the ice unconscious. No word at the time of this writing about Kostopoulos’ condition. The video was shared a few million times across the web and a like amount of jokes and comments about the knockout dominated social media. I’m sure that the NHL held their breath for a few hours and then let out another sigh of relief.
Saturday, 23 March 2013
I have made the point several times that fighting is a symptom of player frustration over officiating and discipline. When a player is hit hard with a cheap shot, either they or a teammate feels compelled to take revenge. A 2 minute power play is not enough of a penalty to reduce this emotion. And if the player is hurt then the need for revenge is even stronger and not reduced one iota by a 2 or 3 game suspension for the culprit. The fight becomes one of the most predictable acts in the NHL.
Saturday, 16 March 2013
It’s time for another Rat PIM update, where we look at the dangerous or cheap shot type penalties taken by teams and see if there is any correlation to fighting. A recent article by Liam Maguire on the Cooke – Karlsson skate slicing incident also prompted me to take a close look at some previous Rats in the game. In my opinion, history isn’t very kind to Liam’s argument.
Saturday, 9 March 2013
Just 26 seconds into a Toronto Maple Leafs versus Ottawa Senators match another fight broke out. It was no different than the thousands of fights that the NHL and NHLPA have tacitly approved over the past decade. Players fight to send a message, to intimidate an opponent, to exact revenge for some real or imagined slight, or to simply prove that their role on the team is relevant. But this one was different.
Friday, 1 March 2013
One of the most polarizing and misunderstood NHL rules has to be the Instigator Rule. Hockey fans cite the rule as the cause for the demise of the enforcer role, cheap shots and the increase in concussions. The majority of messages that I get are from fans who never watched a game in the 80’s or have never bothered to look up any history on when or why the Instigator Rule entered the rule book. A recent web post calling for its repeal prompted me to write this rebuttal.
Saturday, 23 February 2013
Back in September I posted an article that highlighted rule changes by various junior hockey leagues in an effort to reduce fighting. The OHL, CJHL and USHL were the most progressive while WHL and QMJHL made little to no change in their rules. Although their seasons are not over yet I thought I would provide a quick snapshot on progress.