Has the concussion issue contributed to the decline in fighting?

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Fighting in the NHL is down 25 percent this season, notes Kevin Allen of USA Today.

Last season there were 697 fighting majors in the first half, and this season there were 519. Twenty-one of the 30 teams have had fewer fighting majors than they had at the midpoint last season. Seven are up and two stayed the same.

Allen spoke with three NHL general managers – Don Maloney (Phoenix), Doug Armstrong (St. Louis) and Brian Burke (Toronto) – to get their takes on the decline in fisticuffs.

Maloney believes all the concussion talk has players thinking twice about dropping the gloves.

Armstrong thinks it’s because pure enforcers are being squeezed out of the league.

Burke, as he’s already said, is worried about the rats taking over the game.

Maloney’s comments are perhaps the most noteworthy, as the concussion issue is often downplayed by hockey people.

“Even though very few fights end up in concussion, there is this feeling I have that people are more careful and leery,” he said.