Thursday, March 12, 2009

You don't like it? I'll punch you in the face.....

Yesterday concluded the annual G.M.'s meeting with N.H.L. Commissioner Gary (The Count) Bettman. Among the issues tabled, none was drawing more media and public opinion than that of fighting in the game. What was the outcome? Well the powers that be decided they would become more strict with the Instigator Rule and start handing out 10 minute misconducts to players who drop the gloves right after face offs. So What's my problem with this? It solves nothing and serves as no more than an annoyance to the fans who truly love the game! Despite the wishes of all you "Fancified" casual watchers who think "it's too violent", fighting is too much a part of the game that it can't be eliminated without destroying hockey that we love and know. (So please try and resist responding to this blog with rants about eliminating fighting)
Fighting is important to keep players honest. It is there to serve as justice for goons who are out to cheap-shot star players, and take liberties with prone goaltenders. Since the introduction of the Instigator rule in the NHL fighting hasn't really slowed, so trying to enforce it more stringently, probably won't do anything more than annoy teams who have they're body guards taken off the ice for just trying to protect a star player from injury. And in the likely event that it does curb the amount of fights in the NHL, mark my words it'll have a ripple effect in star players getting injured more, fans getting bored more, and rants from Don Cherry on how the game is being destroyed.
So what would I have like to have seen? I'd have like to have seen "The Big Boys" grow a pair and tackle the issue from the perspective of protecting the players who choose to fight. Remember, this issue gained steam after an unfortunate (and extremely rare) death of a player in the minor OHL league. That players helmet came off his head, and as he fell; his head struck the ice. Back to my point, the league should have done more to protect the players from fatal injuries when they fight, by instituting rules regarding helmets staying on. If a players helmet comes off during a fight, the refs stop the fight immediately. Should a player remove his helmet before a fight, or fail to secure his helmet properly causing it to come off, shoul face dicipline. Finally, try getting rid of this garbage of players running in to protect their pal who got laid out with a clean hit. Thiat last rule would be iffy as it's kind of gray. (It would be up to the refs discretion if they felt it was justified.)
I feel the league side stepped the issue by trying to please the no-fighting fans more, but not trying to upset things too much by eliminating it completely. To me this follows along in typical Bettman style. This man truly doesn't understand the game. If he did, he'd not only quit trying to shove hockey down the southern states throats; he'd expand in the stronger more passionate market of Canada! Also, he'd quit trying to pander to the minority crowd that think hockey should be more of a theatrical play than an atheletic challenge of strength, stamina, and strategy etc.
These are just my thoughts people. I'd like to hear your opinions if you'd like. Let me know.....