NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman wants fans to know that fighting isn’t going away any time soon.
Rob Rossi of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review spoke with the commissioner at the NHL Stadium Series game in Chicago and asked for his take on fighting in the league. Bettman stood up for fighting saying it’s not a major part of the game.
“It’s an overblown issue because it’s a small part of the game, and to the extent there are concussions it’s a small part of that,” Bettman said. “Fighting is something we’ll continue to focus on, but there hasn’t been a consensus from the hockey people — on the side of management — or the players to make a change. I’ve been told if the NHLPA did a poll that 98 percent of the players would say don’t change the rule.”
Fans who don’t like fighting will obviously not be happy with this take from the commissioner, but this is essentially what he’s said all along about having fighting in the NHL.
Some believe fighting keeps the league from becoming more of a mainstream sport while others say it’s such an established part of the game it can’t be removed.
Discussions about changing the punishment for fighting were brought up by Lightning GM Steve Yzerman, but those talks are new. If change is going to come, it’ll take more people who think like Yzerman and hold positions of power to make it happen.
It’s hard not to notice how well Lightning captain Martin St. Louis has played lately.
In his past eight games, he has eight goals and four assists including his four-goal game against San Jose on Saturday. That run of great play also coincides with him being omitted from Team Canada’s roster for the Olympics.
St. Louis tells Damian Cristodero of the Tampa Bay Times one doesn’t have to do with the other.
“I wouldn’t say that I’m motivated more now,” he said. “That’s far from the truth.”
“I don’t think I’m playing 10 times better now,” he said. “I played some pretty good hockey before then.”
That’s a fact. Prior to his hot play of late, St. Louis had 38 points in 42 games. Now he’s on a point-per-game pace with 50 points in 50 games and leading the Lightning in scoring. Those stats make leaving him off the Canadian roster all the more head-scratching, especially with his own GM, Steve Yzerman, picking the Canadian team.
With Steven Stamkos’ return on the horizon and Tampa Bay tied with Boston atop the Atlantic Division, making a run at the Stanley Cup makes for a decent backup prize.
PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.
Taylor Hall would love to be part of Team Canada at the Olympics, he just doesn’t think he’s done enough to prove it. (Sportsnet)
Johnny Boychuk and Dougie Hamilton are doing their part to help fill in for Dennis Seidenberg. (CSNNE.com)
The Blues already sent Jake Allen back to the AHL, but Jaroslav Halak still isn’t feeling well. (Post-Dispatch)
Dennis Wideman returned to Calgary’s lineup after missing a month with a broken hand. (Calgary Herald)
More Olympics talk: Blake Wheeler getting named to Team USA is just what he needed. (Winnipeg Free Press)
Meanwhile, Erik Johnson takes his Team USA snub to focus on helping the Avalanche make the playoffs. (Denver Post)
If you haven’t seen what Henrik Lundqvist’s mask for the Rangers’ Stadium Series games, you’re going to want to. His nod to the Yankees is pretty great. (Art of Dave)
The 2014 IIHF Hall of Fame class features Steve Yzerman, Nicklas Lidstrom, and Ruslan Salei among its six inductees. (IIHF)