Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Jeff Gordon Supports Fighting!

Okay, okay, so it's not NASCAR's Jeff Gordon. What a way to kick off my first post at Two Minutes, with a nice little misleading headline!

St. Louis Post-Dispatch writer Jeff Gordon wrote up an article in support of fighting that also proposes an interesting method of keeping fighting in the game while also limiting the injuries from punches. The idea? Gloves for the fighters!

"Once a player gets into more than a few fights in a given year, the NHL could force him to wear lightweight fighting gloves under his hockey gloves," writes Gordon. " One-dimensional players who fall into the enforcer category would lose some manual dexterity while wearing fighting gloves under their hockey gloves, but they would retain their ability to throw body checks."

Interesting proposition really. But at the same time, I have to wonder, will it really work? Does adding a light glove really reduce the force of impact from a punch by enough of a degree that it's worth wearing these extra gloves?

And what about the skill players who are good for a few fights each year, like a Derian Hatcher (Good heavens, did I really just use "Derian Hatcher" and "skill" in the same sentence? Okay, a 1998-ish Hatcher), Jarome Iginla, Joe Thornton, or Vincent Lecavalier? How long before they have to put the gloves on?

"The big guys with ability around the net -– Donald Brashear and Georges Laraque come to mind -– would have to think twice about fighting just for the sake of fighting," says Gordon. Essentially, it's a variation on the instigator suspensions. Start a fight too many times and you'll get kicked out, or in this case, get in too many fights, and lose some playing ability.

Adding gloves may be an interesting idea, but it will make fighting viewed more like a sideshow than it already is viewed. Severe injuries in fights are still rare, with only a handful occurring each year. While there have been injuries in fights, there are just as many from hits into the boards. And I don't see anyone clamoring for a layer of Nerf padding to be added over the boards.

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