Windsor Star -- As one of the few Wings who does fight – Abdelkader and Brendan Smith are the only current Detroit players with a fighting major this season – he views the frightening video as another potential nail in the coffin for the future of hockey fights.The other night, San Diego Gulls forward Brian McGrattan was knocked out in a fight with Daniel Maggio of the San Antonio Rampage. For now, fighting is allowed in the National Hockey league and in the American Hockey League game.
“I think there could be a place for fighting as far as just policing the guys,” Abdelkader said. “It’s the after the whistle stuff, the different things that can go on.
“At the same time, no one really needs to fight anymore. I just think you’re seeing less and less of it. Players are more skilled and focused on playing (well) on the ice than going out and fighting. You’re not seeing a fourth line that’s full of guys that are going to go out and fight.”
In Detroit’s most recent game, no Red Wing challenged Philadelphia’s Ryan White after he was assessed a match penalty for a head shot on Detroit’s Tomas Jurco and Wings’ coach Jeff Blashill accepted that development as a reality of the way the game is played today.
But for how long?
Most Junior hockey league have done everything they can to limit the number of fights a player can be involved in during the course of a season. The OHL has a 10-fight limit. After a player reaches 10 in a season, he's subject to stiffer disciplinary action. In other words, fight 11-15 are rewarded with a two-game suspension.
College hockey banned fighting many years ago.
If you watched the fight in question, you know it was an ugly incident. None of us ever want to see player get hurt on the ice. The McGrattan incident will give anti-fighting cabal the necessary ammo it needs to push for a fighting ban in all levels of hockey. Actually, these incidents will give credence to their argument.
In today’s salary cap NHL, teams can’t afford to carry one-dimensional players on their roster. They don’t have that luxury. Teams can’t afford to have a player that plays four shifts a game and sits on the end of the bench huffing and puffing at people. They need players that can score goals, kill penalties and chew up minutes.
Players that can fight and play hockey have greater value and still have a role in the NHL. See L.A. Kings forward Milan Lucic.