All hockey fans like a good fight, right? That old saying, “I went to a fight and a hockey game broke out,” didn’t just materialize out of nowhere. But there was a time when not all the fights were good ones. Do you remember those?
Unfortunately, no. As much as hockey fans love a fight, there needs to be good reasoning behind every fight. Enforcers have always had their place in hockey and in the NHL. But in the early 2000s, an influx of staged, or predetermined fights, led to rule changes in the NHL.
Some teams and players were agreeing to set the tone for the game by setting up fights in the first few minutes of the game or period. This wasn’t a proper way to showcase the enforcers’ talents and didn’t enhance entertainment value. Here are a few that backfired. Do you remember these?
Fights that break out in the first few seconds of a hockey game usually don’t have a good reason behind them. When players drop the gloves right from the faceoff, the only good reason is to avenge an incident from a previous game between the two teams. This 2011 fight between the Boston Bruins’ Milan Lucic and Buffalo Sabres’ Paul Gaustad was one such instance. Taking action against Lucic for his hit on goaltender Ryan Miller, this staged fight represents a true hockey response to a raw deal.
Fighting will probably never disappear entirely in the NHL. And what fun would it really be if it was? But the rules against fighting are here to stay. From instigator penalties to full-blown 10-minute majors for game misconduct, players will have to bide their time in the box when they fight.
What other staged fights do you remember? Would you watch them again in today’s NHL?
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