NHL looking at changing fighting etiquette rules

Josh tupper
March 15, 2023  (10:06)

Fighting is a part of the game of hockey whether you like it or not. It's how players keep one and other honest, or how teams try and sway the momentum of a game. Even though numbers of fights have decreased in the league over the years, it is still a part of the game and always will be.

But that won't stop the National Hockey League from trying to change fighting etiquette rules. That is one thing being discussed at this year's NHL General Manager's meetings. At this years meetings teams are speaking about players being forced to drop the gloves after a clean hit. Something that has become all too common for players like Jacob Trouba.
Trouba has developed a reputation around the NHL as being the league's biggest hitter. Despite delivering these checks cleanly on multiple occasions, he's been forced to drop the gloves to defend his actions. This leaves the New York Rangers penalized with one of their best defenders sitting in the penalty box for 5 minutes. While the other team often doesn't receive an additional penalty.
Toronto Maple Leafs General Manager Kyle Dubas had the following to say on the matter:
It's a real tough one to discuss. Because, if there's a clean hit against anyone on your team and your team doesn't do anything about it, you get heavily criticized for it. If you do do something about it, you take a penalty, and you get criticized for that. I think people use your reaction to clean hits to judge whether your team is tough or not. And that's the hard part is we can talk about the rules and everything, but there's also the noise that comes after because people are looking for indicators of what your team is about.

Ottawa Senators General Manager Pierre Dorion added the following:
Good, clean hits are part of the game. It's been in the game for over 100 years. I think the players police themselves pretty well. I think there's a certain amount of respect between the players. I think they understand if it's a good, clean hit, it's part of the game. When the hits are not clean, obviously player safety comes in, or the referee within the game will call the penalty. The rules are great. Just apply them, and let the game go on.

While the General Manager's didn't leave with any consensus it's clear the GMs would like to see players who initiate fights after clean hits called for the instigator penalties as written in the rules.
At the same time this creates some confusion for players, because a hit from a player's perspective may seem dirty, while clean from the referees. It truly just seems like a way for the NHL to continue to try and phase out fighting completely.
15 MARS   |   270 ANSWERS
NHL looking at changing fighting etiquette rules

Do you think the NHL is trying to push fighting out of the game?

Yes they are and they should259.3 %
No, they aren't269.6 %
Yes they are, but they shouldn't21981.1 %
Latest 10 stories