Matt Beleskey #39 of the Anaheim Ducks and Ryane Clowe #29 of the San Jose Sharks fight in the first period at Honda Center on February 4, 2013 in Anaheim, California.
(February 3, 2013 - Source: Jeff Gross/Getty Images North America)

Fighting frequency way up in shortened season


If you feel like players have been dropping the gloves a lot more this season; you’re right.

Through Feb. 25, there have been 0.55 fights per game, which is up from 0.44 in 2011-12, according to ESPN The Magazine.

To look at it another way, if picked a game at random and watched it all the way through, there would be a 41.4% that you’d see a scrap. That’s the highest it’s been since 2001-02.

San Jose Sharks forward Ryane Clowe, who has 70 penalty minutes in 20 games this season, thinks this spike in aggression can be traced back in the lockout.

“After the first few games, when players were getting their stamina back, the games got tight and physical,” he said. “You’re so energized and hyped up to be playing again.”

Fighting tends to decline towards the end of the season, but it’s hard to gauge if the shortened campaign will be any different.

“When you get to the last 10 games of the season, discipline becomes paramount,” said Dallas Stars coach Glen Gulutzan. “But you’ll still see fights if there are races down the stretch and teams are looking for any edge.”

With the season only lasting 48 games, there isn’t as much time for teams to separate themselves from the pack, and that might lead to a very tight race between a lot of teams for playoff spots until the very last day.

Avs unveil new third jerseys

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The Avalanche will be throwing a bunch of different looks at us this season.

Having already released jerseys for February’s Stadium Series game, the Avs unveiled their new third sweaters on Friday — less than 24 hours after a bitter 5-4 home loss to Minnesota in their season opener.

(Guess Colorado wanted to send out some good vibes after blowing a 4-1 third-period lead.)

These new thirds won’t come as a huge shock, however. Last month, several websites published leaked images of Colorado’s and Anaheim’s third jerseys, so the design has been in the public eye for several weeks.

Colorado will debut its new thirds on Oct. 24, in a Saturday night tilt against Columbus.

Related: Roy explains why he didn’t call time out

Report: Escrow set at 16 percent

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Hey, remember in June when the NHLPA voted to keep the five-percent growth factor in spite of increasing worries about escrow?

Well, here’s why that decision was a significant one, via TSN’s Frank Seravalli:

With early revenue projections in place, the NHL and NHLPA set the escrow withholding rate for players at 16 per cent for the first quarter of the season on Thursday.

That means every player will have 16 per cent of earnings deducted from their paycheque and put aside until after all of this season’s hockey-related revenue is counted to ensure a perfect 50-50 revenue split with owners.

Now, this doesn’t mean that the players will definitely lose 16 percent of their salaries. Typically, they receive refunds when all the accounting is done.

Still, 16 percent is a good-sized chunk to withhold. They won’t be thrilled about it.

Related: To understand escrow, consider Duncan Keith