This has been a banner season for fighting in the NHL, and the league doesn’t like that one bit. It’s trying to crack down on “staged fights,” in which two players agree to duke it out as soon as play starts, the Christian Science Monitor reports. A proposed new rule would tack 10 minutes onto the traditional “five for fighting” if the fight looks arranged.
That’s both a reaction to the death of a minor league player after a fight in January, and an attempt to make the game more family-friendly. But for hard-core fans, fighting is fundamental. “NHL brass want to have it both ways,” said one sports anthropologist. “American fans have a strong appetite for carnivals and spectacles.”