Fights in the NHL might look a little different in 2013-14. Pending approval from the NHL's Board of Governors, all 30 GMs have agreed to on some new rules when players decide to drop the mitts. Any player that intentionally removes his helmet prior to a fight will receive a two-minute penalty on top of his five-minute major. Also, the rule (that was only occasionally enforced) stating that a player will receive a two-minute penalty if he fights with his visor on will be dropped.
Adjusting the visor rule given the NHL's new mandatory visor regulation makes sense. However, why would you penalize a player for removing his helmet prior to a fight? In the past, removing your helmet has been viewed as a sign of respect between players and an attempt to avoid a brutal injury which might occur when a fist meets hard plastic. Now players that want to scrap will have to do so with their lids on or face an additional penalty.
Perhaps this is the league's way of attempting to cut down on the staged fights and theatrics which have preceded altercations over the years. If you think back to the memorable Joe Thornton-Jamie Benn fight, the build up to the fight was almost better than the fight itself. This fight was awesome, but it's probably one the NHL wasn't happy with given the WWE-style showmanship before the actual altercation.
As visors become more prevalent in the NHL, one can only imagine that staged fighting will subside some. The urge to set up a fight might be significantly lower if you know your opponent has his head and face completely protected.
Of course, what's to stop both fighters from simply removing their lids and allowing their extra penalty minutes to cancel each other out?
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