Ex-ref Fraser explains why Phaneuf-Iginla fight was stopped

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Hockey fight fans were furious on Tuesday when linesmen stepped in to stop Dion Phaneuf and Jarome Iginla from trading punches in Toronto.

It would’ve been a high-profile bout between two former teammates — teammates, by the way, who’ve been forced to deny rumors they had a physical altercation when they were together in Calgary.

So why did the linesmen get in the way? Both Phaneuf and Iginla kept their helmets on, so it wasn’t that.

Per TSN.ca, former referee Kerry Fraser explains:

The League has encouraged linesmen to prevent a fight from occurring if the situation allows them to do so safely. The presence of space and time between players as they measure one another prior to throwing punches often allows the linesmen a small window of opportunity to safely intervene.

Which is the same explanation that TSN Insider Darren Dreger provided today on Montreal radio.

“The benchmark has been reset now,” said Dreger. “Hockey operations made it clear to me that the mandate is, if there’s a safe way to step into a fight and prevent that fight from happening, the linesmen are told to do it.”

Unlike the old days, when linesmen were a bit more patient…