Concussion reignites fighting debate

MONTREAL -- Montreal Canadiens enforcer George Parros is out indefinitely with a concussion, once again opening the debate about whether fighting needs to be eliminated from the game.

Parros was knocked unconscious after falling face-first into the ice during a fight with Toronto Maple Leafs tough guy Colton Orr early in the third period Tuesday night. Parros was taken off the ice on a stretcher, was hospitalized overnight for observation and was released Wednesday morning.

Parros fell hard on his chin while attempting to punch Orr, who was tugging at his jersey. It was their second fight in a physical game won by the Leafs, 4-3.

The incident again raised debate about whether fighting needs to be eliminated from the game.

"I believe a player should get a game misconduct for fighting," Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman told TSN's Darren Dreger on Wednesday. "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."

Added the Hall of Famer: "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."

Scotty Bowman, the NHL's all-time winningest coach, agrees that something has to be done.

"It's a pretty complex issue," Bowman told Pierre LeBrun of ESPN.com on Wednesday. "But with the emphasis on hits to the head, and the seriousness of concussions, if you look at fighting -- it's mostly hits to the head. It's something that has to be looked at.

"I definitely believe the players have to have a voice in this."

Carolina Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford agrees.

"We've got to get rid of fighting, it has to go," he told TSN.

David Poile, GM of the Predators and Team USA in Sochi, said any discussion must include the players.

"The players need to have a voice in this, it's their game as much as ours," Poile said. "We as managers meet on a regular basis, three or four times a year, and every meeting the last few years has been about safety, including fighting. It's about making it a safer environment for the players. But I haven't heard one player say he doesn't want fighting in the game. We need to figure this out together."

NHL general managers will assemble Nov. 12 in Toronto, and it's all but a certainty that the topic will be on the agenda.

"We are constantly in touch with our various constituents, including our players and our fans, on all issues pertaining to the game on the ice. At the current time, there is not an appetite to change the rules with respect to fighting," Colin Campbell, the NHL executive vice-president and director of hockey operations, told ESPN.com in an emailed statement Wednesday.

"That said, we intend to continue to review all aspects of our game, with a focus on making it as safe as it can be for our players.''

It was the first game in a Montreal uniform for Parros, who joined the Canadiens last summer after one season with the Florida Panthers.

"You never want to see a guy get hurt like that," Orr said. "It was a scary situation. I just hope he's all right.

"It happened fast. I slipped, and he came on top of me. The ice isn't going to give."

Pierre LeBrun of ESPN.com and The Associated Press contributed to this report.