The slow, quiet death of fighting in professional hockey continues. The American Hockey League introduced new rules about fighting in an attempt to curb staged fighting in particular.
These rules accomplish a couple of things. In addition to curbing the number of staged fights by adding a game misconduct to fights immediately following a faceoff, steeper penalties are assessed to players who rack up too many fighting majors.
Every year, minor and junior leagues do more to curb fighting. The NHL has to be fine with that.— Travis Hughes (@TravisSBN) July 7, 2016
What Travis touches on here (and continues in a tweet chain you should read) makes a whole lot of sense. The NHL doesn’t want to fight the sure public relations firestorm that would come by tightening fighting restrictions themselves; but if the AHL can take care of it for them? Yeah, they’re fine with that.
If we keep moving down this path we’ll see fewer and fewer fighters graduate from the AHL into the NHL and from there fighting will become a less common practice. Whatever your thoughts on fighting, this movement is inevitable.
The NHL wants to at least give the appearance that it’s taking head injuries seriously and eliminating fighting slowly but surely is a good way to do that. Now we’ll see if they start to care about dangerous hits and penalties in playoff games as well as regular season contests.
Hey, I can dream.