Thursday, October 3, 2013

Parros Incident Will Not Change Fighting in the NHL

Parros Incident Will Not Change Fighting in the NHL
By: Shawn Lavoie @ SLavoie54

Trent McCleary in 2000, Donald Audette in 2001, Richard Zednik in 2002, Max Pacioretty in 2011, Lars Eller last season, and already this season George Parros on opening night. This is just a short list of players to suffer a gruesome injury at the Bell Centre. Fans in Montreal are witnessing far too many of these types of injuries, and some could argue that the arena is cursed.

Parros, luckily, was alert and responsive once he got to the hospital and suffered no fractures. Best wishes for him, and let’s hope we will see him again in a Habs uniform this season.

This sad incident has brought back the question: Should fighting be banned?

Every player who has been asked the question after the incident has unanimously answered "no". They all say that fighting is a part of the game. Parros’ incident is just an unfortunate accident, and they’re right.
It is known that more players suffer concussions as a result of hitting than fighting. Should they remove hitting from the game? Of course not!
As for the journalists, a majority of them are saying fighting has no place in the game. They argue that the Olympics offer the best type of hockey, and while this is true. It helps their cause that only the best players from every country participate.
When a fourth line is composed of say – hypothetically – Patrick Sharp, Ryan Getzlaf, and Corey Perry, it helps the show. There are not many match-ups in hockey that can beat Team Canada versus Team USA, or Team Russia.
While there is no denying that when the Canadiens will face the Red Wings, with the style both teams play; fighting will not be required to put on a great sho
However, it is hard to imagine the Habs face the Bruins, the Maple Leafs, or the Senators without having at least one good tussle. Yes, those games are extremely fun to watch, as we are witnesses to fast, physical play, and the atmosphere in the building is incredible.
Tuesday’s game was a great example of this. Personally, seeing a good fight is just icing on the cake. A fight happening in the heat of the moment provides great entertainment for the fans and they love it.
As made clear in the last paragraph, you can probably conclude I’m not in favor of banning fighting in the NHL. I am however,  in favor of diminishing the number of fights. Adam Proteau from The Hockey News offers an interesting option for this. He offers to keep fighting in the game, but to have the players ejected after the fight.
I favor his proposition. Because rivalry games will still feature fights, when a star player is victim of a questionable hit, a teammate can still go to his aid
The fact of the matter is, players still prefer to play a full game, so fighting will diminish, and eventually, the role of the enforcer might disappear. As much as I like to see a good fight, I’m not in favor of having a player paid to punch faces.
As for coaches, none will say they like to coach a game without a complete lineup. (Having eleven forwards or five defenders is not ideal).
Fighting still serves its purpose. It can keep cheap shot artists honest. A player may stay calm win he sees a player like a Milan Lucic can go running after him. It is also a way to retaliate when an opponent runs over your goaltender.
The one thing though that a good fight always provides is a jump start for the fans. Look around in the stands when a fight starts, and you will see that no one is in their seats. Sometimes a game may be a little boring, suddenly,  two players drop the mitts and the fans will come to their senses. They will eventually settle down if the game doesn’t pick up, but a fight can at least create a spark and liven up a place.
With that said, “enforcers” and the “staged fight” have no place in hockey.
It’s just a pointless act of violence. Sadly, the league will probably not do anything. Many fans enjoy the violence, and there is nothing that is more violent in the NHL than a fight. With the players who are unanimously in favor of keeping fighting in the game, and with teams liking players who are able to drop the gloves, the league will not budge.
Despite the proof that fighters suffer from problems caused by repeatedly fighting, nothing will be done. As mentioned earlier, I don’t want to see fighting banned, but diminished. I think that fighting does serve its purpose, BUT the role of the enforcer shouldn’t have its place anymore.  Sadly, nothing will change. Fighting is part of the game, and it will not go anywhere anytime soon, and because of that the role of the enforcer will remain.

(Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images North America)

Follow me on Twitter at SLavoie54


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