|While the NHL says it is constantly monitoring all aspects of the game, including fighting, there's nothing on the agenda to change scrapping. (Amber Bracken/QMI Agency)
There is a perception that there’s a movement within the game to curb or eliminate fighting from the NHL.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Such talk is purely media driven, which is confirmed by several GMs around the league.
Deputy commissioner Bill Daly, Oilers GM Steve Tambellini and even Detroit GM Ken Holland, who hasn’t employed a tough guy in years, all insist they have no desire to see fighting addressed at the upcoming GM meetings next month.
What’s more, they are not aware of any GM who has any interest in doing so.
Fact is, many observers confuse eliminating brain injuries and head shots with eliminating fighting — but they are two completely different issues.
That point is driven home by a study by David Milzman, a Washington doctor from Georgetown University named who studied all 1,239 games last season and found that of the 710 fights, only 17 players were injured and missed the next game. Only three had concussions.
“Fighting is much less dangerous than regular play as punches thrown on the ice rarely have more than 20% of the impact of a punch thrown on solid ground,” said Milzman.
While the league says it is constantly monitoring all aspects of the game, including fighting, there’s nothing on the agenda to change scrapping.
“I wouldn’t say I see a push. We took a good look at it a couple years ago and made some decisions in and around staged fights,” said Daly. “I don’t think it’s on the front-burner with GMs in terms of issues we need to discuss. It’s obviously something we look at and are always monitoring and maybe at some point it will be raised in a GM meeting.
I don’t think it’s there yet or a top agenda for a meeting.”
“I’m not against fighting — I think it has a place in the game,” said Holland. “I’ve never heard of anyone pushing to eliminate it.”
NEUTRALIZING THE NUGE
Last weekend, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins made his Hockey Night In Canada debut by piecing together a hat-trick.
Things didn’t go quite so smoothly in the following three games as teams have been able to shut him down.
The team that had the most luck stopping him was the Calgary Flames, as head coach Brent Sutter ensured his club keyed on the 18-year-old by physically manhandling him.
Ironically, it’s Sutter who stands to gain the most if RNH is sent down as he owns the WHL’s Red Deer Rebels, which is where the youngster would return to if he doesn’t survive his nine-game tryout with the Oil.
Rumours swirled Nugent-Hopkins would sit in the pressbox last night to make room for Sam Gagner, but that wasn’t the case.
Assuming he suits up the next couple games, his ninth and final game comes Thursday against the Washington Capitals before a decision has to be made. By no means is it a given he’ll stay.
Winnipeg Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff said Saturday they’re still taking it one game at a time with 18-year-old Mark Scheifele.
While they’re thrilled with his surprising play, his ice-time has been held to under 10 minutes three times including last night, and thus he will likely will be sent back to the OHL’s Barrie Colts.
Mike Comrie is still having trouble walking following hip surgery last December. He’s since had further diagnosis and treatment in England.