Thursday, March 12, 2009

Will the Pugilists and Pacifists ever get to make their case?

The ever popular and seemingly never ending debate over the place of fighting in the NHL has once again popped up on the radar, as the two sides of the ages old discussion over the sometimes too physical nature of hockey continue to prepare their cases.

David Shoalts outlines in the Globe and Mail how the recent intervention by the Players’ Association over the controversial hits to the head issue, was less than warmly received by their counterparts in the General Manager’s offices of the NHL.

The GM”s suggesting that those concerns were already addressed by current regulations, a reply that the Players’ Association found to be hard to believe considering the ongoing nature of the head shot in hockey.

That rebuff from the GM’s might come back to haunt them, as Mr. Shoalts points out the competition committee set to meet this summer will be considering some NHL initiatives into fighting, including stronger measures against the “staged” fights, those that typically break out among the teams enforcers prior to a face off.

NHLPA Director Paul Kelly, perhaps still a little annoyed at the dismissive nature of the GM’s over his head shot initiative, offered up the comment that he has yet to discuss any of the NHL’s planned submissions to the committee with his membership.

Perhaps setting the stage for a little political theatre from the player’s side of the negotiating table.

While the battle between the two sides has yet to commence, one might wonder if not unlike Canada’s Parliament, or America’s congress, that partisanship on these issues might yet subvert any possible changes to the way that fighting and the more overt acts of violence in the game get handled.

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