Last week I was talking to a friend of mine from the States and he asked me a question about fighting in the NHL. He wanted to know if the fights were ever staged or planned to add excitement to "the Big Show". I was offended that he would even think that was possible.
I took the next fifteen minutes to explain why a fight happens and how I don’t believe they are ever pre-planned to add to the entertainment value. This isn’t like the WWF with the Hulkster and Andre the Giant laying out a game plan the day before a game!
I have been thinking about that conversation a lot the last few days.
Over the last few years fighting has become a hot topic. With players missing time due to concussions, many people have placed the guilt directly on fighting. Guys do get their bells rung from punches, but I would much rather take a punch than a stick or elbow to the face. I always felt the damage by a fist was going to be less then by one of the other two.
"Staged fighting" is something many members of the media are jumping all over. They define a staged fight as one that was pre-planned or not spontaneous. The MacIntire Vs Ivanas fight is always brought up as an example. They love to say this fight was needless and caused great harm to Ivanas. Both statements could be true but where we’re these people when Probert vs Domi or Brown vs Grimson was going on? Can’t tell me those weren’t staged fights?
Everyone knew it was going to happen, tuned in to watch and loved it. Are we just getting so soft that we don’t want to see it anymore or do we not remember those fights? There are many less fighters around the league than there were before the ’04 lockout, but they are much bigger and stronger which can lead to some serious problems when punches land. It can be scary to watch but don’t try and change the way fighting is perceived.
Fighting is the same as it has always been, two guys going at it. Yes there is more danger but give me a break with this Staged Fighting talk. I support fighting in the NHL and will continue to do so. Don’t even get me started on removing the instigator rule!