SUN Hockey Pool

Enforcer defends art of facing off

RANDY SPORTAK, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:47 AM ET

DETROIT -- Andre Roy understands the belief fights between NHL heavyweights that occur off the faceoff are staged.

Therefore, the Calgary Flames policeman understands the league's intention of curtailing them by handing out a 10-minute misconduct to players who engage in a scrap upon the drop of the puck.

However, Roy pointed out there is a safety factor involved in the process.

"I like being able to get ready for a fight instead of having a guy jump you," Roy said yesterday. "A lot of times, guys just drop their gloves quickly and start throwing (punches). I'd rather have a chance. If they bring that rule, I guess it's just another adjustment. You'll have to be ready faster."

During the recent GM meetings in Florida, a recommendation was made to hand out misconducts in an effort to cut down the number of fights believed to be staged.

Roy, in his 10th NHL season, defended how he and other policemen throughout the league drop the gloves.

"It seems like that," he said of what detractors call staged fights. "When we go out there, we almost know it. When a team's down and I go out there and they put their guy out there, I almost know he's going to ask me or he knows I'll ask him. That's how it is. We know we have to get something going, and that's how it is.

"Fans love when they know something's going to happen, two guys off a faceoff."

Prior to last night's game against the Detroit Red Wings, Roy had been involved in nine fights this season, one fewer than teammate Eric Nystrom.

Nystrom, admittedly not in the heavyweight class of NHL fighters, said he's not a fan of staged fights.

"I want to be in a physical confrontation with somebody first, when you hit somebody and look at each other and step back," Nystrom said.

"But I know how it is for the heavyweights."


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