During the first intermission of Wednesday’s rivalry night game between the Red Wings and Bruins on NBCSN, studio analysts Mike Milbury and Bob McKenzie had an in-depth and interesting discussion about fighting’s future in the NHL.
For a different perspective, here’s veteran — and currently unemployed — enforcer Kevin Westgarth, discussing the reduced fisticuffs (per the Globe and Mail):
Westgarth, a Princeton graduate who played for the Calgary Flames last season and had originally planned to be an orthopedic surgeon before fighting his way up through the minor leagues, says he isn’t willing to pin it down to any one thing.
But he believes the trend that saw more than 70 per cent of NHL games go fight-less last season – for only the second time in the past 35 years – is a permanent one.
While a few remain, the heavyweights are disappearing.
“It most likely will continue,” Westgarth said. “These things have ebbed and flowed in cycles. They’ve been harping on the death of fighting – that’s been 10 years going back, it seems – but this year I’d say with some of the more noteworthy enforcers not finding jobs this year it’s finally happening.
“I think we’re all kind of a little in disbelief … Everybody was waiting for that first domino to fall: One team picks up a big guy and then there’s something akin to an arms race. It seems like that first domino never fell this year.
“And here we are.”