A new rule that enacts an automatic suspension upon a player’s 10th fight during a season has helped reduced fighting in the OHL by about 20 percent, according to The New York Times’ Jeff Z. Klein.
One might assume that the league’s enforcers are upset about possibly being marginalized, yet last season’s most frequent fighter Ty Bilcke said the league’s “definitely better because of it.”
“It’s definitely in the back of guys’ heads — they know,” Bilcke said. “Guys are more cautious. I think there’s a lot less dirty games, and play isn’t getting out of hand as much.”
Overall, Klein reports that fighting has declined about 20 percent – from .92 per game last season to about .71 so far in 2012-13.
Former NHL player and current Windsor Spitfires coach Bob Boughner argues that it cuts down on what sometimes seem like choreographed fights, forcing players to pick their spots.
“You can only do it so many times, so make sure you’re sticking up for a teammate or trying to change the flow of the game or something like that,” Boughner said. “But to fight for no reason? Especially with this rule, it doesn’t make sense anymore.”
Perhaps the NHL will take note?
(H/T to Kukla’s Korner.)
Mike Weaver has retired. The 37-year-old defenseman made the announcement today via the NHLPA.
“What an enjoyable experience to do something you love for 11 years in the NHL and 15 years in professional hockey,” said Weaver in a release. “I could never have imagined this. Hockey is more than just a game to me. Thanks to the Atlanta Thrashers, Los Angeles Kings, Vancouver Canucks, St. Louis Blues, Florida Panthers and the Montreal Canadiens.
“I would also like to thank the fans who brought the energy and excitement every night to the arenas. When the game starts, your teammates are who you trust, rely on and respect the most. Thank you to all my teammates for all the memories that will last a lifetime.”
Undrafted out of Michigan State, Weaver ended up playing 633 games in the NHL, plus 28 more in the playoffs.
Dylan Larkin — despite being just 19 years old — will begin the season on the Detroit Red Wings, a team not normally accustomed to having teenagers in the lineup.
Coach Jeff Blashill confirmed the news this morning. Larkin could apparently start on a line with Henrik Zetterberg and Justin Abdelkader.
Larkin, the 15th overall pick in the 2014 draft, had three goals and one assist in five preseason games. A natural center, he’s shown the potential to one day step into the kind of “big-time” role that Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk have played for so long in Detroit.
“You have to give our scouts credit,” former coach Mike Babcock told ESPN in May. “We got a great pick where we picked. How high end is he? How soon?”
Related: Coaching change ‘one of the reasons’ Larkin signed with Wings