There shouldn't be fighting in prospect games

Cam Charron
September 12 2011 10:52AM

 

 

The scene: After a hard-fought prospects game at one of the many preseason tournaments sprouting up across North America, a progressive coach brings a player into his office to discuss the fighting major the player earned the night before in the second period of a 5-1 hockey game.

"Oh, hey, it's good to see you showed up. I wanted to call you in here with regards to that fight that you had last night in our prospects game.

Listen, I don't know who told you that the best way to get noticed during these tournaments is to stand up for either yourself or your teammates, but it isn't. Our scouting staff have spend hours watching you and, while we may not have drafted you this past spring, it by no means indicates that we don't know much about you. 

We invited you to this camp so that we could test you out in a few game situations under our control and see how you handle them. One of those isn't fighting, trust me. You don't have to prove anything. We know how hard you work already.

Look, you're a good hockey player. I've seen some of your game tape from junior hockey, and there's a lot of good things that you can do, and trust me, we're looking. We know how hard you've worked to make it this far in hockey, and you definitely don't need to prove it to us. Particularly by doing something as dangerous as fighting; I was nearly sick to my stomach last night watching you scrap and I'm relieved that you and the guy on the other team you fought came out unscatched, but let's not toy with fate.

I don't want to connect the dangers of fighting to some of the tragic deaths we've seen over the past two summers because in all those terrible cases there were outside influences factor in, but that doesn't mean that this organization takes them lightly. Hockey is already a fast, dangerous, violent game that can hurt you in many different ways and we don't want to add to that list on dangerous, violent things in this sport, particularly with something that this organization doesn't feel has a tangible impact on the game.

You may think that you're turning the momentum in the game, but, trust me, we've done a bit of research. For all the examples you can find of a player overcoming an opponent in fisticuffs and motivating his team to score a goal and come back to win the hockey game, we can find just as many examples of times it didn't work.

In the end, while I appreciate that you want to show how hard you've worked, I'd feel a lot better if you showed me in other ways. Win puck battles, create scoring chances, or even do something as simple as set up an offensive zone faceoff—really, our coaching staff and video analysts are looking at all these things when we evaluate our players. We want to see you do things on the ice that we think can help us win the hockey game, and we don't want to see you taking part in a sideshow when we don't know the full effects of the toll fighting can take on a player, particularly one so young as yourself."

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Cam Charron is a BC hockey fan that writes about hockey on many different websites including this one.
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#51 Archaeologuy
September 12 2011, 12:34PM
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Pension Plan Puppets wrote:

I tend to think they have a bit of inner beauty but I'm just a silly romantic.

I bet you know the proper time to use a semi-colon as well. Well, sir, I do not; and that's a fact!*

*Or do I actually remember those dark and mysterious lessons from Frances Aleba's English 101 class...**

**Turns out, no. I do not. But I kept the textbook, so in a bind I can still figure it out.

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#52 PopsTwitTar
September 12 2011, 12:39PM
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@Pension Plan Puppets

PPP:

"People aren't advocating for all fighting to be gone by the way."

Well, technically, I am.

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#53 Archaeologuy
September 12 2011, 12:40PM
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Cam Charron wrote:

"I just take exception to the idea that fighting in hockey is wrong."

Because we've always been at war with Eurasia.

I dont like that the Queen can do whatever she damn well pleases but cant make the same move a Knight can. Seems pretty arbitrary, but that's the way the game is played. I guess I'll live with it.

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#54 rubbertrout
September 12 2011, 01:14PM
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Didn't Gregor or Brownlee write an article a ways back that said that in a poll the majority of the NHL players actually would prefer that fighting not be a part of the game?

EDIT: I think it had to do with the instigator rule specifically as opposed to fighting in general.

EDIT # 2: Here it is.

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#55 Danny Gray
September 12 2011, 01:28PM
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@Ducey

I don't want players fighting in training camp.

The point is is that these games are largely meaningless. It is an unacceptable risk to have your prospect fighting in a meaningless game. For most of these guys there is little chance they start the season in the NHL, why risk an injury in an exhibition game?

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#56 dawgbone
September 12 2011, 01:29PM
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Ducey wrote:

Sorry, but the prospects game is a proper place for fighting. Reasons:

1) It beats fighting with your own team mates in training camp - or perhaps you don't want it there either. I guess we can just see if Cam Abney is ready for NHL fighting when he drops the flippers with SMac or other veteran in pre season ("Oops, I guess not, sorry you got destroyed").

2)You have to practice fighting just like anything else. Here, prospects are fighting prospects of approximately the same age and experience

3)its part of the game. Part of what teams want to find out is how their younger skilled guys (say from Europe) are going to fare in the heavy going. Is our fiesty Finn just going to yap when the gloves are taped on or is he going to still play his game when someone might slug him a few times?

The prospects games are part of the evaluation process for these teams. They are not some kind of all star game.

1). I'd rather Cam Abney be ready to play as a hockey player in the NHL, rather than be ready as a fighter. Having the latter without the former has little actual value. Not only that, but he's got a full season in the AHL to prove he can fight men.

2). I'm not sure how that makes them anymore ready to take on the experienced pros. Isn't it just more of what they are already used to?

3). Granted, but in a prospects game like this, why not put a rule in place where if you fight you are done from the game? That way if there is a legitimate reason to fight they guy still will (i.e. defend the teammate), but it prevents the sideshow fights from happening because the game is 6-0.

I don't have an issue with fighting in terms of as a tool to try and protect. If one of your good players is getting pushed around and punched in the face, go after that guy, get him off the ice for 5+minutes.

But that's not what the fights last night were about.

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#57 Archaeologuy
September 12 2011, 01:38PM
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rubbertrout wrote:

Didn't Gregor or Brownlee write an article a ways back that said that in a poll the majority of the NHL players actually would prefer that fighting not be a part of the game?

EDIT: I think it had to do with the instigator rule specifically as opposed to fighting in general.

EDIT # 2: Here it is.

From that article, Mixed results on Instigator, overwhelming results for not banning fights.

"Still, it's a jolt to an assumption I've long held, especially considering 98 per cent of the same group of players voted "no" when asked if fighting should be banned in the NHL."

98% of polled players think Fighting is part of the game.

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#58 Peff
September 12 2011, 01:51PM
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Why are all of you people fighting over fighting ? It's here, been here for a very long time ... And until somebody drops dead in an NHL game due to fighting it won't go away . What's next no flying in hockey ??

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#59 Ducey
September 12 2011, 01:58PM
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I'd rather Cam Abney be ready to play as a hockey player in the NHL, rather than be ready as a fighter. Having the latter without the former has little actual value. Not only that, but he's got a full season in the AHL to prove he can fight men. ------------------------------------- I don't want players fighting in training camp. The point is is that these games are largely meaningless. It is an unacceptable risk to have your prospect fighting in a meaningless game. For most of these guys there is little chance they start the season in the NHL, why risk an injury in an exhibition game?

What happens when you are trying to decide if an Abney should play in the AHL, ECHL or go back to junior?

The logical conclusion to your argument is that they don't need the prospect game at all. They saw RNH play last year and will have this year to watch him - why bother?

Further, should we then outlaw hits - especially when its 6-0, as they increase the chance of injury?

If you want no fighting in hockey, fine. There are some good arguments for that position. I could do without the staged stuff. But to start saying to teams and players that you can have it here but not there is unfair to both.

Until you see Abney fighting with guys closer and closer to his ultimate weight division, you don't really know if he has the technique and strength needed to excel.

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#60 rubbertrout
September 12 2011, 01:58PM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

From that article, Mixed results on Instigator, overwhelming results for not banning fights.

"Still, it's a jolt to an assumption I've long held, especially considering 98 per cent of the same group of players voted "no" when asked if fighting should be banned in the NHL."

98% of polled players think Fighting is part of the game.

I know what it says Arch. Once I found the article I was able to read it. I didn't want to edit the contents of my original post after the fact to make it seem like I was covering up my inital recollection.

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#61 Hallsey
September 12 2011, 02:03PM
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@Cam Charron

So you are what 24? Fresh out of university. I'm happy you landed such a sweet writing gig here at the nation... but I'm not sure you are in any position to come across all wise and all knowing when it comes to the way hockey is and should be played considering its doubtfull you ever have. while you where busy working at your school news paper these kids where training their asses off for a shot at the bigs and if fighting is going to get these kids a six figure contract, who sir are you to tell them that they shouldn't?

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#62 Archaeologuy
September 12 2011, 02:05PM
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@rubbertrout

I trust in your ability to read. Please dont take offense. I just wanted to sum it up myself so that it wasnt brought up against me by others who were too lazy to actually read it.

Looking back it seems like I was jumping all over you there, but I didnt mean to.

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#63 Pension Plan Puppets
September 12 2011, 02:14PM
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PopsTwitTar wrote:

PPP:

"People aren't advocating for all fighting to be gone by the way."

Well, technically, I am.

I meant people in the 'consensus' sense and that's my reading of it. There is a minority like Damien Cox that would like nothing more than to see the total elimination of fighting.

Maybe it's because it's the people I interact with most but it seems like the movement is more to rid the game of the useless enforcers and their fights.

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#64 Pension Plan Puppets
September 12 2011, 02:16PM
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@Archaeologuy

I consider semi-colons the most mysterious of the family of punctuation. I try to avoid them at all cost.

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#65 Lochenzo
September 12 2011, 02:16PM
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I think there a full range of issues in hockey. You cannot just point at the fighters. There may be personal issues that lead some to fight - one of the few venues where I guy can do that without getting into trouble with the law. But you cannot say all fighters have problems, nor do all players that have problems go on to be fighters. Patrick O'Sullivan, something happened to him. I'm not sure what the details are, but I think we all know it has affected his ability to step up and be a star player. He is not a fighter.

Most of these hockey players were seperated from their families in their early teens. Maybe the isolation from their family leads to coping problems for some? Some were exposed to bad people. Think Fleury or Mike Danton. Some of these kids have their families looking to leech money off of them. A Lindsay Lohan effect.

There are a range of problems, unique to each player. I think the various hockey leagues and the PA can step up and try to take better care of these kids. A helpline or something like that to help identify any issue.

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#66 Pension Plan Puppets
September 12 2011, 02:18PM
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@Hallsey

"Have you ever played hockey?" is a pretty weak argument.

As for the second one, he's not saying that the players shouldn't do what they are encouraged to do by the teams. He's suggesting that teams shouldn't allow pointless fighting in an evaluation camp.

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#67 Archaeologuy
September 12 2011, 02:25PM
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@Pension Plan Puppets

A shifty sort, to be sure. Are they periods? Are they commas? Can they be both? Choose a side, semi-colon, choose a side. Being the Switzerland of punctuations is nothing to be proud of.

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#68 hallsey
September 12 2011, 02:26PM
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@ Pension Plan Puppets

Personally i dont think it is a "weak" argument but you sir are welcome to your opinion. Second what Cam is doing,using an imaginary conversation instead of a real argument in an attempt to stir up hits for his article, by using a topic which people like you and me are deeply opinionated for or against.

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#69 Harlie
September 12 2011, 02:28PM
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Fighting is a means of weeding out the men from the boys. This is true in society as well.

If your not willing to stand eye to eye and hopefully not but possibly toe to toe for yourself or a loved one than what does that say about your character, should you choose to turn the other cheek?

Fighting, whether we like watching it or not, is an effective character assessment tool. For this reason, I think fighting should be allowed to carry on in the NHL.

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#70 Pension Plan Puppets
September 12 2011, 02:33PM
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@Harlie

"An eye for an eye leaves the entire world blind." - Mahatma Gandhi "But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also." - Matthew 5:39

It does say quite a lot about the character of someone that can turn the other cheek.

However, we're talking hockey and not suggesting that they turn the other cheek. The suggestion is that they not needlessly fight for THREE games.

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#71 Pension Plan Puppets
September 12 2011, 02:34PM
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@hallsey

Are you a professional writer? Then maybe you shouldn't be offering advice to someone that gets paid to write. Not a very good rebuttal is it?

Cam's just using a different manner of getting his point across.

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#72 Hallsey
September 12 2011, 02:36PM
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@mayorpoop

At no point did i to tell Cam "how to write", and if thats how it came across, I'm sorry as i am in no way qualified to tell a writer how to write. My intention was to point out that certain feelings and opinions may not be shared in regards to fighting by people who have and haven't played.

I also probably came across overly harsh as this is the second article from Cam that feels more like an attempt to stir up hits than really prove a point. Hey we are all just people with our own opinions and we all have the right to voice them.

I guess i just prefer substance to fiction.

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#73 Bank Shot
September 12 2011, 02:47PM
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dawgbone wrote:

1). I'd rather Cam Abney be ready to play as a hockey player in the NHL, rather than be ready as a fighter. Having the latter without the former has little actual value. Not only that, but he's got a full season in the AHL to prove he can fight men.

2). I'm not sure how that makes them anymore ready to take on the experienced pros. Isn't it just more of what they are already used to?

3). Granted, but in a prospects game like this, why not put a rule in place where if you fight you are done from the game? That way if there is a legitimate reason to fight they guy still will (i.e. defend the teammate), but it prevents the sideshow fights from happening because the game is 6-0.

I don't have an issue with fighting in terms of as a tool to try and protect. If one of your good players is getting pushed around and punched in the face, go after that guy, get him off the ice for 5+minutes.

But that's not what the fights last night were about.

Cam Abney will never be ready to play as a hockey player in the NHL. He might as well practice his fighting, because he's pretty terrible at everything else.

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#74 Hallsey
September 12 2011, 02:47PM
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@Pension Plan Puppets

What I am doing is offering my opinion about Hockey... Not judging him on his punctuation. As someone who has been in and around the game my whole life I think that may give me the right to voice an opinion.

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#75 Danny Gray
September 12 2011, 02:56PM
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@Harlie

They have the Internet in the 1950s?

I'll never understand why a sniper scoring a goal on an ensuing PP isn't seen as much better revenge than pounding someone's face.

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#76 Archaeologuy
September 12 2011, 03:09PM
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@mayorpoop

You know it.

Nothing kills me more than the argument that RNH should go back to juniour. It was argued before he took one shift in Oiler silks. By the time training camp is over we'll have RNH reapeating Kindergarten.

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#77 mayorpoop
September 12 2011, 03:15PM
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@Archaeologuy

lol.

i have always wondered if he wasn't the BPA, you know the guy that is good enough to play right now, then why did we draft him?

~let's make a statement and send the #1 pick back to juniors so he can play at the WJHC~

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#78 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
September 12 2011, 03:22PM
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When two egotists are at odds, it's always an I for an I.

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#79 Spaceman Spiff
September 12 2011, 03:25PM
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Although I appreciate Cam's writing here and his attempt to make this "progressive" hockey coach sound quite smart, if this conversation ever took place at all in real life, it would be something as simple as this:

"Don't effin' fight, OK? It ain't worth your trouble and we're not going to give you a job just because you can fight, OK."

And that's it. If you saw last year's Oil Change series, you saw that the conversationsb between coaches and players tend to be short and they'll be even shorter between coaches and prospects.

As for removing fighting from pre-season rookie tournaments, dream on. Heck, the rookie tournaments are the one place where I'd expect to see more fighting not less.

Think about it: If you're a guy who can fight a lot and play a little and they're dangling a shot at a $65,000US AHL or ECHL contract at you when you don't have anything else lined up, of course you'll fight for it.

And if that tryout could lead to one of those half-million-dollar contracts ... well, you'll fight some more.

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#80 Pension Plan Puppets
September 12 2011, 03:57PM
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@Hallsey

It sure does. The exact same right to offer an opinion that Cam has.

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#81 Pension Plan Puppets
September 12 2011, 03:58PM
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@Hallsey

I guess i just prefer substance to fiction.

Jonathan Swift used fiction to deliver substantial arguments. While not in the same league, Cam is in the same neighbourhood with this post.

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#82 Pension Plan Puppets
September 12 2011, 04:00PM
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@mayorpoop

Because you want the guy that will be the best NHLer not the one that can play in the NHL right away. They aren't necessarily the same nor are they mutually exclusive.

The smart people that want RNH back in junior probably want him there for the same reason they wanted Hall back there last year: the salary cap. But that's a discussion for an entire other post.

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#83 Craig1981
September 12 2011, 04:04PM
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Adam huxley came to camp a few years ago won his fights (beat the hell out of peckem) and himself a contrac (he ended up in the echl and then ahl). On some players fighting is what teams care about and knowing how even the talented ones can do is also important

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#84 Archaeologuy
September 12 2011, 04:04PM
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@Pension Plan Puppets

I wouldnt refer to them as "smart people", but THAT's another discussion too.

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#85 Nolan Moore
September 12 2011, 04:43PM
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Use to love watching 2 big bruisers go at it. But now not so much. I love a good hockey fight, but fighting for the sake of fighting? Fights shouldnt happen in the first period, 3rd most likely after 40 minutes+ when two guys have been battling all game and finally one cant take anymore crap from the other. Just not a fan of two guys from the drop of the puck, going at it.

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#86 spence
September 12 2011, 04:47PM
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we should just take hitting out of the game too cam. we could also change the name of the game to figure skating if you dont like hitting and fighting dont play hockey it is a mans game

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#87 Moses
September 12 2011, 05:07PM
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My Opinion.....

Fighting serves no purpose in the league as far as the game goes. I agree with Cam that it never sways momentum in any teams direction anybody who believes otherwise is entitled to their opinion but I would call B.S. on that.

Secondly I am a fan of proffesional fighting, mainly the UFC. If I wish to watch fighting i will do it there. Thats where the worlds best fighters end up and I have yet to see a hockey player on the pay per view card. (correct me if i'm wrong)

Watching mediocre fighters duke it out in a hockey game no longer interests me as others have mentioned previously as well. When I was a child/teenager it sure did seem a lot more exciting but since those years the fighters have failed to impress me with their fighting skills and for the most part their skills in the game of hockey.

I would not miss it for one minute if it were gone.

But thats just me......

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#88 Gretzkin
September 12 2011, 05:18PM
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I think the instigator rule needs to be taken out so they can fight properly and reinforce the respect of the players. I don't mind a heavyweight bout, but letting them police themselves a bit more could serve to make it safer out there. Without fighting, there's no consequence.

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#89 mayorpoop
September 12 2011, 05:21PM
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@Pension Plan Puppets

as far as RNH goes i will reserve my judgement till he plays with big boys. i like to bring this into conversation because 1)Arch and finally agree on something , and 2) there are so many people foolishly hell bent on, without reservation sending him to juniors. time will tell.

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#90 mayorpoop
September 12 2011, 05:24PM
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the fact that fighting is the main way to gain respect in hockey is so mind boggling to me. is this where we are? really?

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#91 Wax Man Riley
September 12 2011, 05:39PM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

I bet you know the proper time to use a semi-colon as well. Well, sir, I do not; and that's a fact!*

*Or do I actually remember those dark and mysterious lessons from Frances Aleba's English 101 class...**

**Turns out, no. I do not. But I kept the textbook, so in a bind I can still figure it out.

I just had to give you props for the shout out to Frances Aleba. One of my favorite professors ever and the person I credit most for my interest in the English language.

I still remember the first class when he (as he always did) so passionately remark that "words and language are POWER! If you are able to command the english language, you command POWER!"

Tough not to be excited with such a passionate professor.

...Oh ya.. fighting...

Last year I had a change of heart. I was in the "you can't ban fighting, it's part of the game!," and the "this is part of the pussification of the world" camp. Then I watched MacIntyre all last year. Man, is that guy ever a bad NHL player! His fights were brutal too. He had the one good one against Ivanins where it was part of the show (battle of Alberta, 1st game in the "new culture," etc...) and I cheered.

As the season went on though, I thought the staged fights were useless. Every. Single. One. They added nothing to the game.

That being said, the fights I can agree with are the emotional ones. Taylor Hall fighting because he is tired of a guy bein a dick, or Gagner fighting for the same reasons. Those are the fights that change momentum, not the staged fights. I go get another beer when those come on.

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#92 Tayranchula
September 12 2011, 05:41PM
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Im sorry but that was a completely useless article. Players realise they have to fight to get noticed. Last night the Oil had an invite player (Schmidt) and he fought and got noticed. Think an undrafted defensive defensemen is going to get noticed on skill alone?

There will always be fighting and it has to be in the game cause it is the nature of the game. If you get noticed early on and are willing to fight in meaningless games the coaches and managment will see what kind of player you are.

I think the more fighting in pre season for players on the cusp of making there pro team is alot better than a player being an injury call up in the middle of the season and doing something stupid to get noticed (like jumping a star player on the other team)

Fighting is what sets hockey apart and what makes the atheletes some of the toughest in pro sports. I think hockey should stop trying to conform to what everyone outside of hockey wants it to be and let it have the traditional aspect to it like every other sport in the world. I dont see Soccer or Rugby changing anything and it has been around alot longer than hockey

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#93 Wax Man Riley
September 12 2011, 05:50PM
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Harlie wrote:

Fighting is a means of weeding out the men from the boys. This is true in society as well.

If your not willing to stand eye to eye and hopefully not but possibly toe to toe for yourself or a loved one than what does that say about your character, should you choose to turn the other cheek?

Fighting, whether we like watching it or not, is an effective character assessment tool. For this reason, I think fighting should be allowed to carry on in the NHL.

I've never been in a fight (in the real world anyway, hockey fights don't count, as I have been in hockey fights).

Does the fact that I have never been in a fight in society speak to my character? I believe it does, but not in the way you think. Anyone that knows me will be able to speak to my character.

Fighting in society is NOT a character assessment tool.

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#94 popstwittar
September 12 2011, 05:58PM
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Pension Plan Puppets wrote:

I meant people in the 'consensus' sense and that's my reading of it. There is a minority like Damien Cox that would like nothing more than to see the total elimination of fighting.

Maybe it's because it's the people I interact with most but it seems like the movement is more to rid the game of the useless enforcers and their fights.

I hear you. I realize I am in the distinct minority - for now. But once you start eating away at things like "useless goon on goon" fights, its hard to stop carving away the other types of fights.

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#95 madjam
September 12 2011, 06:27PM
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Physical intimidation has and still is an integral part of hockey . Even with fighting and head shots removed from game , they can/will find other ways to intimidate and wear off emotions . Unfortuneately that will probably mean more stickwork ,etc.. No one thing will do everything by itself . One thing that will never work is leaving it up to the players !! A dangerous play rule might be best avenue to start from , which frowns upon players targeting vulnerable areas of body . Maybe a good penalty for targeting a dangerous play infraction would be to have player have to hug and kiss his opponent for forgiveness . That embarrasssment just might work to curtail some of that injurious unwanted play .

The staged fight is still better than watching your star players getting beat to a pulp or run at by big goons , etc. that frequently happens still . Star rules i am for , just like quarterback rules in football ! Not like all the stars are Iginlas or Ovechkins .

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#96 ted sheckler
September 12 2011, 06:44PM
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Worst article on the nation of all time. Can we install pillows on the boards and outlaw slapshots as well? Give me a break.

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#97 Eddie Shore
September 12 2011, 06:54PM
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One thing being overlooked here is that these games are not "meaningless". These kids have 2 or 3 games to make an impact on management. If fighting a guy tonight, gets me in the lineup tomorrow, you better believe I am going to fight when asked.

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#98 rubbertrout
September 12 2011, 07:01PM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

I trust in your ability to read. Please dont take offense. I just wanted to sum it up myself so that it wasnt brought up against me by others who were too lazy to actually read it.

Looking back it seems like I was jumping all over you there, but I didnt mean to.

No worries. I presumed that if we weren't talking about Robbie Schremp we wouldn't have to come to blows.

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#99 Wax Man Riley
September 12 2011, 07:23PM
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Peterborough wrote:

Another ridiculous piece of garbage from Cam Charron, who has quickly become the most irrevant writer in the nation family.

Congrats Cam! It can't have been easy.

I don't agree with everything that is written on the Nation Sites, but I appreciate them for writing it.

Add something of value, or keep your garbage comments to yourself.

Also, "irrevant" isn't a word.

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#100 dawgbone98
September 12 2011, 07:56PM
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Craig1981 wrote:

Adam huxley came to camp a few years ago won his fights (beat the hell out of peckem) and himself a contrac (he ended up in the echl and then ahl). On some players fighting is what teams care about and knowing how even the talented ones can do is also important

And how many NHL games does Adam Huxley have? It's fantastic that he's managed to find a career but it served almost no point for the Oilers.

Finding careers for goons is probably the last thing these camps should accomplish.

I fully understand why the players are doing it, but I think the point is that the teams shouldn't encourage it.

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