In the wake of the scary incident involving Montreal Canadiens forward George Parros on Tuesday night, three NHL managers have told Darren Dreger of TSN that they believe the removal of fighting needs to be considered.
"We've got to get rid of fighting, it has to go."
Tampa Bay Lightning manager -- and Hall of Fame forward -- Steve Yzerman was less demonstrative but firmly believes that the league's stance on fighting needs to be altered. In Yzerman's opinion, the NHL either needs to make in-game punishments for fighting more severe or it needs to be removed from the game completely:
"We penalize and suspend players for making contact with the head while checking, in an effort to reduce head injuries, yet we still allow fighting.
"We're stuck in the middle and need to decide what kind of sport do we want to be. Either anything goes and we accept the consequences, or take the next step and eliminate fighting."
Pittsburgh Penguins manager Ray Shero believes the league needs to take a proactive approach to lessening violent head trauma incurred while playing the game. Shero states that the discussion on fighting needs to be consistent and can't be broached only after an isolated incident:
"It won't happen overnight, but we need to be leaders, not followers in this area," he explained. "I respect other GMs and their views, but we need to look at this and not just when an incident like last night (Parros) happens."
The NHL Players' Association has firmly supported fighting in the past, as a poll taken in 2011-12 showed that 98 percent of the union's membership was for fighting. Altering that overwhelming majority will be an uphill battle, as several players earn a living by filling the "enforcer" role and it's unlikely that the NHLPA would support a measure that could potentially cost jobs.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has remained consistent in his support of fighting and previously stated in an interview from April of 2012 that pucks caused more concussions than fighting, via Newsday:
"Pucks to the head probably cause more concussions," Bettman said, "but I don't think anybody's advocating going to foam-rubber pucks."