Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Instigator Rule Change?

1) We at FAUXRUMORS have been saddened to see the precipitous decrease in pugilism in the NHL the past 10-15 years. We think this course of action is a BIG mistake for the league to try to undertake. Over the past decade especially, Gary Bettman has pushed for/initiated rules to try to curtail or end this aspect of the game. Most specifically the 'instigator rule. Initially this rule was placed in the rule book to prevent 'goons' from going after star players. Its evolved into a way to intimidate players from ever dropping the gloves at all. Most recently Bettman decided that he didn't want to see players fighting at the end of games to 'send a message' or to get retribution for earlier liberties taken. So they set forth the inane rule that a player who is issued an instigator penalty in the last 5 minutes of a game is given an automatic fine/suspension

2) Now don’t misunderstand, we aren’t advocating a return to the bench clearing brawls of the mid 70’s, but think that a return to the levels of the pre Bettman days would be welcomed by a vast majority of fans. There is a very vocal minority of anti fighting folks like Damien Cox who liken us pro-fighting folks as Neanderthals, but ever see a real hockey fan get up and leave a game if a fight was about to happen or occurring? The anti fighting crowd like to muddy the waters by coupling all on ice violence together. However we find a HUGE distinction between two men dropping the mitts and fighting face to face then a player using his stick as a weapon. We might even argue that the too are linked, but not in the way that the anti fighting crowd likes to believe. As fighting has decreased and players have lost the ability to police themselves on the ice, many have resorted to using their stick as a weapon like we would have never seen in the past

3) Who is the favourite player on most teams? Its the leading scorer and usually the enforcer/goon. At least it used to be that way. Additionally with Detroit’s success without a real fighter and with a salary cap, many teams are cutting back on the one dimensional players who would be involved in most fights. The George Parros/Brashears are a vanishing species. We say its for the detriment of the game. Now on to our point. We have been doing a non scientific poll of our readers and among the many folks we have talked with around the NHL. The consensus among most is "BRING BACK OLD TIME HOCKEY!". We gleamed from that they didn't necessarily want a return to the dead puck era, but they did want a return to the emotionally charged game they knew and loved. To STOP the league's attempt to eliminate/legislate out fighting.

4) Fans were adamant in their desire to see a resurgence of pugilism. Its probably not "PC" to say so, but fans LOVE fighting. There is no way to gloss this over. Fans love this aspect of hockey. Its not hard to see. No one leaves during a fight. Again, its no accident that besides a teams leading scorer, who usually is the team's most popular player? Yes, the team enforcer! Want to fill arenas again? Want to increase TV ratings? Who cares what detractors say. They wouldn't like hockey if there was zero fighting. Why cater to non-fans? Give us what we want, and we'll keep coming back for more. Are you listening Gary?

5) Can we please eliminate the silly last 5 minutes instigator rule? The actions of players in the final five minutes of a game should be treated the same as if they occurred in the first five minutes of the game. When games are out of hand, it is typically a cheap, and potentially dangerous hit that leads to an instigated fight. Fights that are instigated to discourage these types of cheap hits used to be, and should still be, the norm in the NHL. If the NHL wants to increase rivalries (which would increase fan attendance and t.v. ratings), they should remove this rule!

6)Additionally, the NHL should strongly consider modifying the entire instigator rule thought process. Research suggests that such a decision would increase fan attendance across NHL arenas. Fights, and the team enforcer, have been a staple of traditional NHL hockey for decades. Enforcers also deter opponents from taking liberties with star players. The current mentality that star players are fair game will lead to an increase in injuries to teams that do not carry tough players. Also cheap hits and slashes have and will continue to increase as players to do not fear retribution as they are protected by current rules.

7) Fauxrumors suggests removing the game misconduct that accompanies the instigator penalty. If there is a clear instigator, that player should receive the five minutes for fighting plus the additional two for instigating the fight. Two instigator penalties in a game could result in an ejection. Instigators can be tracked by the league and a one-game suspension should be levied whenever a player reaches lets say, a total of five instigators. The length of the suspension should double after every five instigators. The tie down rule should stay as is. Fighting outside of a jersey gives the player an unfair advantage.

8) Secondary altercations should not result in an automatic ejection from the game. We suggest levying an additional unsportsmanlike conduct penalty if a player participates in a secondary altercation. These misconducts should receive the same treatment as an instigator penalty. Any combination of the two should result in an ejection from the game and count against the players track record. Are you listening Bettman? We don't want larger nets or silly shapes painted on the ice, just give us back old time hockey!


czechmate said...

Yeah, I'm tempted to agree with you here. While I don't like overly violent games (unless we're talking Montreal/Quebec from the 80s), I do find the league interfering too much with how the game used to be played... Much to the detriment of the viewing product...


1) Great point with respect to the old Habs-Nords games of the 80's. We feel that the anti fighting rules have greatly diluted the potential/actual rivalries in the league.
2) Some might recall the battles the isles-Rangers used to have. They resurfaced in the preseason last fall, but once the regular season started watching those games didn't seem to feel like the old days when those 2 teams hated each other (regardless of where each was in the standings) and we'd see scraps in almost every contest (many more in the stands) LOL
3) We feel this has reduced the overall intensity of the game. We agree the skill level has increased in the past 20 years, but we don't believe that should be to the detriment to what the game once was and could/should be!

Contact the Media