Bettman: Fighting Part of the Game

The Associated Press
Monday, March 26, 2007; 6:43 PM

TORONTO -- NHL commissioner Gary Bettman says fighting is part of hockey and believes some people have been "running off a little too fast on this topic."

"My view on fighting hasn't changed," Bettman told The Canadian Press on Monday. "We've never taken active steps or considered eliminating fighting from the game.

"I've always taken the view that it's a part of the game and it rises and lowers based on what the game dictates."

While Bettman seemed OK with the game's current stand on fighting, he's concerned about the larger safety issues.

"The discussion that we've been having is about player safety and injuries," said Bettman. "We've had a number of injuries resulting from fighting recently.

"The question is whether or not that's an aberration or whether or not it's something we need to be concerned about."

He's not convinced anything needs to change.

"I think it's premature for anybody to reach any conclusions," Bettman said. "I think the first (thing) is for us to decide whether or not it's an issue, whether or not there needs to be an adjustment. Because there may not be.

"I think people are running off a little too fast on this topic. I know it's an emotional one for a lot of people and it gets a lot of attention, but to have a discussion about whether or not this is an issue is a long way from saying, `Here are the 10 things we need to do.'"

The recent debate started with Philadelphia Flyers enforcer Todd Fedoruk being taken off the ice on a stretcher last Wednesday night after a fight with the New York Rangers' Colton Orr.

The following day, league disciplinarian Colin Campbell said it was time to look at fighting in the game.

"I think it's time to ask the question," Campbell said.

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