Evolution of instigator penalty altered game
Ask a player, executive, fan or pundit about the NHL's instigator penalty and you're likely to receive a passionate opinion.
A form of the rule has existed as far back as 1937 -- "A Major penalty shall be imposed on any player who starts fisticuffs," the League's rule book read that year -- but it was before the start of the 1992-93 season that the instigator began changing and shaping the NHL that exists today.
"A player deemed to be the instigator of fisticuffs shall be assessed a Game Misconduct," became the official wording of the rule in 1992. It was most recently adjusted in 1996 to levy a two-minute minor, a five-minute major and a 10-minute misconduct to the guilty party. The rule was designed to curb fighting, which statistics show has steadily decreased during the past 20 years.
The instigator rule draws the ire of some players, the praise of others. It receives simultaneous credit for cleaning up the game and criticism for failing to allow players to police themselves.
But how can a rule that existed before Gordie Howe played his first NHL game get so much credit for both helping and hurting the game during the past 20 years?
To heap all the blame or praise on some new language on a nearly 60-year-old rule doesn't paint the entire picture of that time.
Interesting read, Gregson is an idiot and Bobby Clarke
might be the biggest turncoat in the league. "Brawling was out of control?" You're not one to talk.
Formerly Purely_Purinton (1,378 Posts)
"They say somebody will get hurt in a fight; That's the idea, isn't it?" -Don Cherry