Too few opponents to change fighting in NHL

Montreal Canadiens forward George Parros hits his head on the ice as he fights with Toronto Maple...

Montreal Canadiens forward George Parros hits his head on the ice as he fights with Toronto Maple Leafs forward Colton Orr at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Oct. 1, 2013. (JEAN-YVES AHERN/USA Today)

CHRIS STEVENSON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:28 PM ET

MONTREAL - The gruesome image of Montreal Canadiens tough guy George Parros face planting onto the ice at the Bell Centre has cranked up the rhetoric about fighting in the NHL.

There might not be a more useless discussion out there.

The fact of the matter, despite seeing Parros knocked senseless in his fight with Toronto Maple Leafs enforcer Colton Orr, is there’s little desire on the part of the two parties that could affect change – the owners and the players – to do anything but maintain the status quo when it comes to fisticuffs.

At this point, the voices within the game who want to make changes in regards to fighting are too few.

Could stiffer penalties eliminate some fighting?

Probably.

There used to be bench-clearing brawls on a somewhat regular basis, but the introduction of the automatic 10-game suspension for leaving the bench to join in an altercation in 1987 has eliminated that event.

So there is evidence that stricter penalties can change behaviour.

Carolina Hurricanes general manager Jim Rutherford has been an advocate of stricter penalties for fighting and has made that position known at the last few general managers meetings for anybody who wanted to listen.


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