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NHL GMs weigh in on fighting

NHL general managers think some fighting in their league needs to be eliminated or at least reduced.

They're recommending a rule change that would give a 10-minute misconduct penalty to players who fight immediately after a faceoff. The 10-minute misconduct could also be applied to any other fight a referee believes was staged.

"I'm kind of offended by the fact that it's a staged fight," said Minnesota Wild general manager Doug Risebrough, a 13-year NHL veteran. "The idea is that players have to be involved in the game."

In staged fights, there is an unspoken understanding between teams allowing players to tangle with each other, usually during inconsequential parts of the game.

"I've never really thought of the strategy because I thought it was a dumb idea," Risebrough said.

The GMs also recommended limiting fighting in response to a clean hit, by calling the instigator penalty more aggressively. The league has seen an increase in violent reactions to clean hits.

"I don't like those fights. I don't understand them," said Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke, former GM of the rough-and-tumble Anaheim Ducks and a longtime proponent of fighting. "Start calling the instigator penalties, and we'll get rid of some of this nonsense."

League statistics show that 108 (22 percent) of the first 500 fights this season occurred immediately after the faceoff. He also said there was a 20 percent drop in fights during the last five minutes of the game after the NHL gave an automatic five-minute major penalty for those fights.

"Rules do make a difference," Campbell said.


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