AHL cracks down on fighting, eliminates timeouts after icing

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Some interesting developments from today’s AHL Board of Governors meeting — in addition to new divisional realignment, the league also laid down several new rules, including some aimed directly at the fight game.

From the league:

• Players who enter into a fight prior to, at, or immediately following the drop of the puck for a faceoff will be assessed an automatic game misconduct in addition to other penalties assessed.

• During the regular season, any player who incurs his 10th fighting major shall be suspended automatically for one (1) game. For each subsequent fighting major up to 13, the player shall also be suspended automatically for one (1) game.

• During the regular season, any player who incurs his 14th fighting major shall be suspended automatically for two (2) games. For each subsequent fighting major, the player shall also be suspended automatically for two (2) games.

• In any instance where the opposing player was assessed an instigator penalty, the fighting major shall not count towards the player’s total for this rule.

That first rule essentially takes aim at “staged fights,” or those orchestrated by two players chirping at each other prior to puck drop.

As for the second and third rules, it’s probably worth noting that 22 AHLers had at least 10 fights last year, and eight had 14 or more. (Per HockeyFights)

Other interesting developments from the BOG:

— No more time outs for the offending team on an icing. While it’s not a huge development, it certainly is interesting in terms of a creative way to try and produce more scoring. Coaches looking to give their gassed skaters a break after a long shift will now have to get creative. Maybe Ken Hitchcock’s fake goalie switch will become en vogue.

— The ice cleaning procedures used during promotional timeouts will also be used prior to overtime during the regular season, replacing the “dry scrape.”

For a full rundown of realignment and scheduling, click here.