Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Bettman Chimes in on Fighting in Hockey

The Commissioner is alive! Well, really that statement is just a product of how few interviews our great Commissioner actually gives, and even more so, how many interesting interviews he actually gives. From Monday’s Globe and Sport, Gary Bettman has spoken and said that fighting isn’t going anywhere. Are you surprised? I’m not. Last week, league disciplinarian Colin Campbell said fighting was something the league should take a look at. The statement was blown way out of proportion. What people forget is, it is Campbell’s job to look at everything and anything hockey related. So chatting about fighting is just an added bullet to the list. And there shouldn’t be any worries, the debate starts with the league’s General Managers. You know, the same General Managers that just voted to increase the number of instigators from three to five before a player is suspended? Yeah… that debate should go far.

As for Gary’s comments... Gary isn’t going to say anything that will get him in trouble. And since the GM’s (an extension of team owners) have already had their say on fighting, Uncle Gary is going to be right in line with what they say. Why? Because Gary is an extension of the owners too… what some might call a puppet.

Some quotables from the Globe article:

Bettman told reporters at the CBC that fighting is actually down over the long term and that the fighting-related injuries in the past few weeks may be an "aberration, not a trend."

"Fighting has always had a role in the game and the amount of fighting is determined by how the game is played," Bettman is quoted as saying on the CBC website.

"From a player safety standpoint, what happens in fighting is something we need to look at just as we need to look at hits to the head," Bettman said. "But we're not looking to have a debate on whether fighting is good or bad or should be part of the game . . .

"Players have gotten bigger and we at least have to look at the consequence of that on player safety."

"My view on fighting hasn't changed," Bettman said. "We've never taken active steps or considered eliminating fighting from the game. I've always taken the view that it's a part of the game and it rises and lowers based on what the game dictates."

"The PA [National Hockey League Players' Association] obviously is going to have to be involved," Bettman said. "This is something that's going to have to be discussed with the managers, with the competition committee . . . and ultimately the board of governors."

Response from one of the league's biggest enforcers, Buffalo's Andrew Peters, was

"How long has fighting been around the game of hockey? It's part of the game, the fans love it and there's a need for it, for someone to protect their teammates," the 6-foot-4, 230-pound left winger said.

1 comment:

k.w. said...

Of course, Bettman likes fighting. It's the only national publicity (in the US) the NHL gets these days. Bettman is just trying to save his own ass with those comments. Remember back in the 90s when the NHL was alive and well? And they started making rules about instigators and the like? He still hasn't succeeded in selling hockey as a fast, skilled, tough, highly exciting game. Bettman is a douche.