Why Fighting is Needed in the NHL

Ryan Senior Writer ISeptember 10, 2008

Over the last few years, there has been a lot of debate as to whether or not the NHL should outlaw fighting. Some feel that it is a detriment to the sport, nothing more than a ridiculous side-show.  Others feel it is necessary as well as tradition.

I'm here to tell you that fighting not only belongs in the NHL, but is required.

Now, before I get bombarded with comments, hear me out. 

First off, I don't really enjoy the fighting. I'll watch it, but I feel it makes the game look bad.  I hate the "fans" who claim that they only watch hoping a fight breaks out. I'm sure NASCAR fans hate those who just watch hoping an accident happens.

Fighting is necessary, but if Colin Campbell gets serious about punishing all acts of thuggery and dirty play, not just incidents that make the news/sportscenter, it won't be any longer.

Star players, most of them anyway, need policing.  What's stopping a coach from sending out his thug to take a cheap shot at Sidney Crosby? A measly 2-5 game suspension? Said thug will just go back to the minors and Crosby could be out of action due to injury. Now who really loses?

This brings me to the instigator rule.  Meant to discourage fighting, it simply punishes one man for, in most cases, sticking up for a teammate. If someone spears Crosby, his teammates should be allowed to throw off their gloves, grab the cheap-shot artist, and beat him to a pulp.  It sends a message: if you take a shot at our guy, prepare to be punished.

It's also good in this sense: the game is trying to attract anyone and everyone to watch their product. Fights will draw casual interest.  So be it.

Long story short: the NHL needs fighting right now or it needs to dish out severe enough penalties for cheap hits that no one will dare attempt them. Abolishing the instigator rule needs to happen for the sake of this.