NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly shared his thoughts on fighting in the NHL:
WHAT WOULD NHL LOOK LIKE IF FIGHTING DISAPPEARED?
I'm not sure I can even envision the premise. I'm not sure, regardless of what rule changes may over time be made, I'm not sure if fighting is ever eliminated from the game. I think fighting will continue to be part of the game regardless of what your rules are and it is parts of other games as well.
I really can't envision it from that perspective but I'm also not in a position [to] really hypothesize it. It's something that's been part of the game for a long time. Regardless of what our rules are, it's going to remain part of the game in some form or fashion. It's not a question that's easy to answer.
HOW WOULD FANS RESPOND? DO YOU POLL?
I think there's been polling done over time on the issue. Again, I don't think there's any definitive conclusions one way or the other. It really depends on what segment of the population you're talking to. Whether you're talking to fans who come regularly to our game or fans who don't come regularly to our games or non-fans. I don't think there's any definitive conclusion or determination we've been able to reach from any of the polling that's been done on the subject.
FIGHTING NUMBERS ARE DOWN, WHAT DO YOU ATTRIBUTE THAT TO?
Over time, the rules related to fighting have become more severe. Both directly related to fighting but also indirectly. We have a series of rule changes that were changed this past summer that probably in some respects served the purpose of dis-incetivizing players from fighting. Mandatory visors and not being able to remove helmets without being penalized, no doubt has an impact. It's early. It's a third of the way through the season. I'm not prepared to make any broad conclusions on the basis of that. Clearly a combination of rule changes over time has an impact.
IS THERE LESS APPETITE FOR IT? PEOPLE HAVE LESS TOLERANCE FOR FIGHTS?
That would be tough for me generalize on. I think each segment of the fan population is different on that subject. It's part of the game but it's a penalized part of the game. I don't anticipate that's going to change anytime soon. We feel like we've dealt with issues in our game over time in a responsible manner and we'll continue to do that.
HOW HAS THE CONCUSSION LAWSUIT INFLUENCED IT?
I don't think it's impacted any of it to this point. It's early. It's only been a week that we've known about the lawsuit. We haven't even been served in the case. That's a legal technicality. It's very early on in being prepared to respond to that case. Our position on it remains the same, again we're very comfortable in how we've dealt with head injuries and managed head injuries and player safety in the game and we intend to defend the case vigorously.