Fight for your Right: Enforcers still have a home in my NHL
I knew as soon as George Parros was taken off the ice on a stretcher during opening night that the debate would begin again, and it did.
The Habs new enforcer was injured after hitting his face on the ice following through on a punch during a fight with the Leafs Colton Orr.
It was, in my opinion, a freak accident.
But it didn't stop the "get fighting out of hockey" train from rolling through. And it had lots of people on board, including a few GM's, a group that included Tampa Bay's Steve Yzerman.
Don't get me wrong, I am a huge Steve Yzerman fan. He is the epitome of class in hockey. But I was surprised he spoke out about eliminating fighting in hockey.
Because he had an enforcer protecting him for a good portion of his career. Everyone knew if you messed with Yzerman, you would have to deal with Bob Probert. Or Joey Kocur. Or Darren McCarty. And it gave him the room to become one of the greatest players in NHL history.
In his foreword for the late Probert's book "Tough Guy," Yzerman says "On the ice, it felt good knowing Bob had my back."
I am not trying to smear Steve Yzerman in any way, it just struck me odd that he would not want the same comfort and protection for today's stars like Sidney Crosby or his own Steven Stamkos.
He was not alone in his sentiment, as Penguins GM Ray Shero and Carolina's Jim Rutherford also echoed Yzerman's thoughts.
To me, speaking as a life long fan, I could not disagree more. I think fighting has a place in the NHL moving forward.
If you take it out, there will be no accountability for actions. High sticking, cross checking and illegal body checking will escalate and there will be more injuries as a result.
I will also admit, I love watching a good tilt out on the ice.
And as I watch the game and see the reaction from the fans around the rink, I don't think I am alone.
But I am a strong advocate that the players should be the ones who make the decisions on major rule changes.
In 2012, 98 percent of players who filled out an NHLPA poll voted "No" to eliminate fighting.
If that were ever to change, and the majority of NHL players want it out, I would have no problem with it.
These are the men who are playing the game currently, they know what is best for them and I trust and respect their collective opinions more than any media member, fan or General Manager, whether the aforementioned used to play the game or not.
I never like to see anyone get hurt on the ice for any reason, but I look at the Parros injury this way:
George Parros went to Princeton. I would assume if he wanted another line of work, he is probably smart enough to find it. He chose his role in the NHL, and I am pretty sure he is ok with it.
So who am I or anyone else to tell him he can't do it.
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