Removing fighting

Here's a good read on the subject.Might be a bit eye opening to some, and reinforces what many of us already know:------------------------------------------------------- The Death of Hypothesis Mike Toth - Sportsnet I started out writing a column to prove that banning fighting would be the answer to the NHL's ills. But then I made the mistake of interviewing an expert witness.The first rule of writing a column?Begin with a hypothesis.Hypothesis: Banning fighting would be an effective method of curtailing violence in the National Hockey League.So far, so good.Rule number two? Search out people with opinions that back up your hypothesis.Rob Daum is the hockey coach of the Canada West champion University of Alberta Golden Bears. They're coming off an undefeated season and are the overwhelming favorites to win the CIS finals that begin on March 25th in Fredericton, New Brunswick. Fisticuffs are forbidden in university hockey and when I talked to Daum I fully expected him to regale me with tales of the peaceful, easy feeling that washes over players when they don't have to worry about dropping their gloves.Rule number three?Be prepared to have your hypothesis blow up in your face.Daum, you see, firmly believes that fighting should be part of the university game. He may be at the helm of a team that moves the puck like the '84 Oilers but he wouldn't mind if the '74 Flyers showed up every once in awhile."I'd prefer to see players police themselves," says Daum. "As soon as you remove fighting, stick work and hits from behind are much more prevelant."The regulations prohibiting scrapping are strict.Your first fight?A game misconduct and a one-game suspension.A second bout?A game misconduct, a two-game suspension and up the scale it goes.Daum says his team has only been involved in two fights all season. However, that doesn't mean everything is warm and fuzzy. Before joining the Golden Bears, Daum spent seven seasons behind the bench in the Western Hockey League. He believes cheap shots are much more common at the university level and says a lot of others feel the same way."The parents of kids who come to our program from the WHL tell me they can't believe how much stick work there is in the Canada West," he says. "Most players don't want to fight but they'd rather drop the gloves than take a stick to the face." But what about the climate of violence that fighting could create in the university game?Daum admits there's always a risk of a single bout escalating into something more serious. However, it's a chance he's willing to take."You never want to see fighting used as an intimidation tactic or to send a message when your team is getting thumped 5-1," says Daum. "But I believe that most coaches in our league are responsible enough to not allow that to happen."Canada West coaches will congregate for their annual meeting in Fredericton next week and Daum says that lifting the ban on fighting will be one of the most important items on the agenda. If it gets the green light at the league level, the plan will also be discussed at the CIS coach's meeting. If there's enough support at that session, it will then be brought to the attention of Canadian university athletic directors.There's nothing wrong with having a hypothesis.

It's still an excellent starting point. However, when you talk to someone who disagrees with your hypothesis, it can sometimes lead to a story that's even more interesting.Don't get me wrong.I'm still not convinced that getting rid of fighting in the NHL isn't the right thing to do. But that's now the focus of a future column. The fact is, Rob Daum is the expert witness this week and the NHL would be wise to call on him to testify before deciding what to do on the fight front. "I laugh when I hear different leagues talk about eliminating fighting," says Daum. "Go ahead and do it. But be prepared for a whole different world."I'll talk to you next week.And who knows?Maybe I'll even be able to write a column without someone screwing up my hypothesis.Check in Thursdays for Sportsnetnews host Mike Toth's take on the sports world.

This reminds me of a couple college hockey games I saw on ESPN not too long ago. I think it was the Frozen 4. Very exciting and fast paced, but man there was so much stick work, cheap shots, and dangerous hits were guys dove head first to hit guys head on (and from behind) I was surprised they didnt call the game due to injuries. If they had been making hits like that in an NHL game it would have been called because everyone would have been given an attempt to injure and match penalty. I'm surprised that college players arent expert hitters when they come into the NHL after all that.

But even the announcers said the play is very dangerous (more so than the NHL) and they get careless partly because of the extra equipment (face cage) that they wear so they dont care if their sticks get up but also because fighting is illegal so there is no accountability so everyone out there goes nuts.

Same stuff happens in the euro leagues.People look at the Olympics or World Championships as an example but are forgetting that's just the elite few of the elite playing a small tourney.The league play over there is scary with the stickwork and cheapshots.

ttt to read when I'm in class tommorow.

IMO the lack of fighting promotes more stickwork in Europe, but as Hellfire said, more hitting in College. There is some WILD hitting in College, but I would say most of it is pretty clean. The game has developed there that the best revenge is a hard clean hit. There is still frustration there though. A lot of the good bodycheckers these days ARE coming from US College hockey. Jed Ortmeyer (Michigan) came out of nowhere to make NYR this year as probably their best defensive foward and bodychecker after Holik. I would love to see the NHL get more hitting AND keep the fighting. I think actually REALLY calling the obstruction would allow for this. Guys could get through to make their hits.