Time to change the Rule Book
Does the National Hockey League have an image problem? After last week, you bet it does. For all the great strides the league has taken to gain credibility for the sport nationally and attracting newer and younger fans, last week erased a lot of it.
For the most part, the record book as it is written has largely stayed unrefined for decades, other than a minor change to offsides, icing, hooking and holding etc. As far as the major fighting penalties, they have been not been addressed. Sure they have an instigating rule, but does that really determine whether one guy starts a fight or not?
Once again, let me say that no one has a issue when two hockey players fight, they talk about it and agree to drop their gloves and throw punches. Its the cheap shots and dirty plays that need to be addressed.
When politically correct people use the “ treat everyone the same “ philosophy, they let the really bad apples get away with everything while the guy who protects himself get dragged into the abyss. As of now the rule book states that it is a two minute minor and a game misconduct for instigating a fight. Please, someone tell me what the ratio is between how many instigator minors are called compared to the number of fights that take place. If Gary Bettman wanted to make sure that incidents like the Pens/Isles and Bos/Mon games don’t happen, make it a game suspension for starting a fight and double the suspension every time it happens.
Take the nasty incident when Matt Martin jumped Max Talbot. If Talbot didn’t see him at the last minute, the league would have had another Todd Bertuzzi situation on their hands. If the league really wanted to make sure an incident like that never happens again, Colin Campbell should have handed down no less than a 20 game suspension, then players would think twice about acting like an ass and having to explain to their family why they are idiots and why he embarrassed them to whole sporting community, not to mention the money lost.
I will add that I am not sure what the Collective Bargaining Agreement allows for, with regard to penalties and suspensions, but if that was the factor of such lenient punishments then the Players Association is just as much to fault.