While I want to say it's because of a decline in the fights this year, that apparently isn't completely accurate. According to hockeyfights.com, we're currently on the same pace as we were last year. And, really, the numbers haven't drastically increased or decreased in some time.
|% of Games|
|# of players|
What's unfortunate, however, is that the percentage of games with fights has steadily declined. This year, when you tune into a game, you have a 1 in 3 shot at seeing a fight.
The number of players fighting continues to decrease as well. And while the anti-fighting crowd would tell you fighting has nothing to do with toughness, I think most of us would agree there is a strong correlation. Tough players tend to drop the gloves every once in a while. So I think it's safe to say lineups are getting softer and softer.
Ultimately, this leads to boring, lackluster games. Fights occur (most times) when emotions boil over. But with softer lineups, the game are bound to lack the enthusiasm necessary to turn into a fight.
This might please some. But scoring, passing, and skating just don't cut it for many meat eating North Americans.