Briere supports fighting as rat deterrent

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We’ve heard a lot from the anti-fighting crusaders lately. Now here are a few opinions from the other side, starting with some rather pointed comments by diminutive Flyers forward Danny Briere.

“For people who haven’t played, sometimes it’s tough to understand,” Briere told Fox Sports. “But most players feel fighting leaves the game cleaner.

“Guys like Sean Avery, Patrick Kaleta, Max Lapierre who run around and do dirty plays have to answer for their acts. You take fighting out, every team would have four or five of them.

“Fighting makes those guys pick their spots. And when they cross that line they have to answer the bell.”

Of course, hockey players don’t have to answer the bell like they used to – not with the instigator rule. And for Hall of Fame forward Bob Clarke, that’s a bad thing.

“The game was safest when players were allowed to defend one another,” said Clarke. “The league has taken all that out.

“Two referees were put in not to make the game better but to make sure players couldn’t get even with each other. Players who never threw a check now hit because there are no repercussions. The league has been suspending players forever and it never has stopped the goofiness.”

Fox Sports also spoke to Edmonton GM Kevin Lowe, Toronto GM Brian Burke, St. Louis president John Davidson and legendary enforcer Dave Schultz, but we won’t steal all the quotes.

None of the pro-fighting arguments are particularly ground-breaking, but they’re worth noting given they’re being made by people intimately involved in the game.