This week, all 30 GMs will be convening in Florida to discuss several changes that can be made to help the game. The biggest topic of discussion: fighting. There have been some isolated, tragic, incidents involving head injuries/death from players hitting their heads on the ice as a result of fighting. None of these incidents occured at the NHL level. The general concensus is that players should be forced to wear helmets during a fight, to prevent such an injury. Further studies will be conducted to see if fighting actually belongs in the game.
First off, if they banish fighting, they will lose a ton of fans. Fighting is a part of the game, deal with it. That said, there are certain types of fights that are ridiculous. The planned fight off the draw is stupid, let the fight come from the emotions of the game or as a result of a dirty hit. I emphasized dirty hit here because I’m so sick of these fights breaking out over a clean hit on a player. The hit was clean, there’s no need to start a fight over that. Start a fight over an intentional knee-to-knee, or a player leaving his feet, or an elbow, or anything of that nature. Those are retaliation fights that are fine by me. This crap you see when Player A starts a fight with Player B because Player B laid out Player A’s teammate (Player C) with a clean shoulder to the chest.
Another topic up for discussion is Brian Burke’s proposal to revise the CBA allow GM’s to pick up a portion of a player’s salary in a trade, much like what you see in baseball. NHL execs are against this because it’s a way of circumventing the salary cap. GMs love it because it helps promote the trading environment, that hasn’t seen many big trades in a few years.
I’m very big into the business of hockey, and personally, I don’t see why NHL execs are against this, as long as the salary being eaten counts against the cap. The example Scott Burnside uses in his article (link below) is one we as Ranger fans can relate to. What if Glen Sather wanted to move Scott Gomez, but because of the cap, couldn’t find a suitor with enough room to take his contract. This clause would allow him to pick up $1 million a year, have it count against the Ranger cap for the remainder of the contract, and trade him to Team A, which now can fit Gomez. The Rangers win, Team A wins, and the fans win because we love seeing huge deals go down at the deadline.
If you could trade Rozsival and his $5 million cap hit for a young player and his $1 million cap hit, plus pick up $1 million a year of Rozsival’s contract (totaling $2 million, instead of Rozsival’s $5 million), wouldn’t you be happy?
Other topics at this meeting include “punishments” for All-Star snubs (Datsyuk, Lidstrom), and revised tiebreaking, can be read in detail at Scott Burnside’s article here.
Update 3:00pm: I was reading through Page 2 on ESPN, and came across DJ Gallo’s take on new fighting rules. Numbers 1 thru 9 are eh, but #10 made me crack up:
Here are 10 rules I think everyone can agree on.
1. When levying insults, the fighters should strive to use formal and respectful terminology such as: “I engaged in coitus with your beautiful mother one evening prior.”
2. Neck punches are welcome, but fighters should avoid punching the voice box so referees can clearly hear pleas for mercy.
3. An opponent’s sweater may be pulled up over his head to punch him in the back of the head only if he does not possess unsightly back hair.
4. Biting is only allowed with the use of a mouthpiece. If a mouthpiece is not used, no biting of the face is permitted.
5. Purple-nurples may be administered for a maximum of 10 seconds.
6. Skate blades may not be used to hack off the limbs of the opponent.
7. Souvenirs — scalps, tooth necklaces, and the like — may only be worn by the fight’s victor until the end of the period in which the fight took place.
8. Penalty box time following fights shall be spent writing an apology note to the other combatant. Sarcasm should be kept to a minimum.
9. Fight participants retain no monetary rights to fight footage sold by the NHL for marketing purposes.
10. All rules can be ignored when fighting Sean Avery.