Fighting has been as much a part of hockey as skating for generations, but the rough stuff has been on the rise in the NHL since the 2004-05 lockout. By one account, fights are up by 15% from last season. With the enforcer's role becoming more vital, the New York Times looks at the reasons behind the pugnacious trend.
NHL exec Colin Campbell says today is tame compared to his '70s playing days, but the fading of the lockout camaraderie may be behind the upswing—a theory denied by Bruins enforcer Shawn Thornton. "I’d fight my sister if it came down to it," he said. "I’m friends with some of the guys I throw the gloves down with. If I start thinking who’s on the other side, then I’m not playing the way I can.”