Yesterday Montreal Canadien’s tough guy, George Parros fell on the ice and was knocked out cold during a fight. As Kelly MacParland of the National Post said in commenting on the incident, “It’s a bit like a Canadian version of sumo wrestling, but with much more padding. Everything is staged and negotiated in advance; the contestants generally bear no ill will towards one another. Often, they have nothing but respect, and nod appreciatively when the “fight” is over.”
Don’t expect there to be a change in NHL policy any time soon. In a recent interview on CBC TV Bettman danced around the issue of fighting in the NHL. He made it (sort of) clear that fighting was part of NHL tradition and they have no interest in trampling on tradition. (Bettman’s comments start at about 3:20 of this video.)
The thing is, fighting is boorish, has not really proven to draw fans, and even if it did, is a phoney part of the game that caters only to Neanderthals like Don Cherry.