Jarome Iginla makes case for fighting

Updated: November 15, 2013, 7:46 PM ET
ESPNBoston.com

Boston Bruins forward Jarome Iginla became the latest to weigh in on fighting in the NHL, writing in Sports Illustrated that he thinks the sport is safer because of it.

Iginla Ideally it would not be a part of the game. But the nature of our sport is such that fighting actually curtails many dirty plays that could result in injuries.

-- Jarome Iginla
"Does fighting still have a place in today's NHL? My answer is a qualified yes," Iginla wrote in this week's issue. "I temper my response because I don't know of any player who truly loves fighting. Ideally it would not be a part of the game. But the nature of our sport is such that fighting actually curtails many dirty plays that could result in injuries."

The 17-year veteran isn't known for his propensity to drop the gloves, but by SI's count he has gotten into more than 60 fights over his career. Iginla wrote that when he does fight, it's usually to stick up for himself or a teammate victimized by a dirty play. He contends there is "purpose behind almost every fight" and argued that fighting "helps hold players accountable for their actions on the ice, even more so than penalties."

"If [fighting] was taken out of the game, I believe there would be more illegal stickwork, most of it done out of sight of the referees; more slashes to the ankles or wrists, and in between pads; and more cross checks to the tailbone," he wrote. "Incidents of players taking such liberties are rare in today's game because fighting gives us the ability to hold each other accountable. If you play dirty, you're going to have to answer for it."

Iginla credits the NHL for enacting rules that help make fighting less dangerous, but there is debate as to whether the league should ban it altogether. The topic came up at the recent general managers meeting, but nothing was decided other than the GMs agreed to discuss it at another meeting in March.

"It's not at the level where it's been in the media," Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli said. "I'm for it [fighting]. I think it's deep-rooted in the game. I think it acts as a deterrent. I understand the head injuries; I understand all that stuff, fully cognizant of it. So our discussion is that we know it's an important issue, but there were other good issues in the game that are prominent.

"Listen, we're the Bruins. We've got guys who can fight. I like the way we've built our team. I think our fans appreciate it too."

Information from ESPN.com's Pierre LeBrun was used in this report.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

Comments

Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.


EDITORS' PICKS

  • Moving Foward
    The Red Sox bats need to get hot if they hope to build off Wednesday's victory
  • Weight Of The World
    As Marathon race director, Dave McGillivray faces a daunting challenge.
  • Want Them Back?
    As we turn the page on the woeful Celtics, it's decision time: Who stays, who goes?
  • All For One
    Our arenas became rallying points in the aftermath of last year's bombings.
  • Playing Favorites
    Scott Burnside explains why he's picking the Bruins to win the Cup.

MORE NHL HEADLINES