NHL Could Follow OHL’s Lead, Adopt Softer Fighting Rules After Lockout in Attempt to Make Sport Safer

NHL Could Follow OHL's Lead, Adopt Softer Fighting Rules After Lockout in Attempt to Make Sport SaferWith NHL labor negotiations moving slowly and the season
getting shorter, fans already have plenty to gripe about.

It
could get worse, though — significant rule changes that would limit
fighting may be on the
horizon.

Yahoo! Sports reports that, as the NHL looks into new ways to deal with
criticism of player safety, the league is giving attention to the new fighting rules that have been adopted by Canada's OHL. The OHL, which had 30 players with at least 10 fighting majors last year, is planning to penalize frequent fighters with
team-targeted fines and player suspensions.

The new rules say players can be involved in up to
10 fights
without being penalized, but players with 11 to 15 fights will be suspended
two games for each fight. Players with 16 to 20 fights will also be suspended for two
games, and their team will be fined $1,000 per fight.

Colin Campbell, NHL senior vice president and director of hockey operations, said the league is aware of the OHL plan and has talked about what similar rules would look like for the NHL.

"They talk to us when they make rule changes like this," Campbell told ESPN.com on Wednesday. "We’ve discussed the aspect of fighting over the years. We had a couple of initial discussions about this last spring. They were thinking about implementing some sort of quota. I mentioned to him we had debated that internally in hockey operations at the NHL level."

The rule change would go against the physical playing style of many NHL teams, including the Bruins. Boston tallied 61 fights last season. Gregory Campbell, second on the team with 10 fights, would have been under the limit, but Shawn Thornton
would have been suspended for 20 games after racking up 20 fights last season — 10 over the limit.

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