Will Concussions Lead the NHL to Ban Fighting?
The venerable Toronto Globe and Mail reported last week on what one writer called the NHL’s hypocrisy over fighting. Of course, what’s a hockey game without a couple of guys going after it in a good old-fashioned slug fest.
Last week the Phoenix’s Kyle Chapman and the Canucks Dale Weise did just that, squaring off, throwing vicious shots to each other’s head. Naturally the crowd went wild. But, what’s the game without a fight, right?
There’s a problem here, though. If the league truly wants to minimize headshots and concussions in the name of safety, how does a player slugging someone in the head into a glassy-eyed state accomplish that?
According to one time NHL GM Neil Smith, however, “Concussions rarely are inflicted from fisticuffs in hockey. The jarring effect due to the skating speed is what leads to most concussions.”
Journalist Scott Morrison refers to this NHL double standard as ‘hypocrisy’. “Many still view it [fighting] as a strategy, a momentum changer, a release valve and that it generally involves two players prepared for the blows…” Or what former NHL executive John Shannon calls the “willing participants.”
But, ban fighting? Not sure that’s in the cards. The fans demand it.
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