Thursday, September 19, 2013

I wear my visor in a fight*

The NHL has implemented a rule where, if a player gets in a fight (where they get a 5 minute major for fighting, instead of the 2 minute roughing call) and removes his helmet, he gets an additional 2 minute minor for unsportsmanlike conduct.

It's been stated that the reason for this rule is to avoid concussions.  But it's really just a way to penalize fighting even more than it already is.  And I think it's a dumb idea.

Let's be clear here:  the staged fights you see when the guys drop their gloves just after a face-off need to stop.  The players are transparently attempting to pump up the energy of the team, and it's generally transparent.  Although this one (Max Talbot vs. Dan Carcillo in 2009) was an example of one that broke that mold, leading to the Pens eliminating the Flyers.

But a spontaneous fight, where the players just start smacking the living bejeebies out of each other because one guy smashed the other guy into the boards, that almost always results in a momentum shift.

There are also logistical issues with this.  What happens when a guy knocks the other player's helmet off?  What happens if the cause of the fight was a guy high-sticking someone and knocking it off?  Are they penalized then?

I think it's a bad rule, and the NHL should feel bad.

*Sung to the tune of that great 80s hit "Sunglasses at Night".  Yeah, it's a reach.  Deal with it.

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