Colin Campbell isn't ready to ban fighting in the NHL. But he's willing to look into the matter.
In an interview Saturday with Hockey Night in Canada's Ron MacLean, the senior vice president and director of hockey operations for the NHL admitted to being alarmed by arecent rash of fighting-related injuries, and said the league will hold talks on the issue.
"I was concerned about Todd Fedoruk and the way he went down," Campbell said,referring to the Philadelphia Flyers tough guy who was knocked unconscious by a punch from Colton Orr of the New York Rangers earlier this week.
"And I've been concerned about a few players who have gone down in fights this year."
Campbell, the man in charge of league discipline, refused to support the idea of banning fisticuffs entirely, butsaid there ought to at least be an open dialogue on the issue.
"No one is saying we should get rid of fighting," Campbell told Hockey Night in Canada."I'm just saying we should ask the question, because before everyone was afraid to ask the question."
Campbell said official discussions on fighting will be convened, but did not offer a time table for when they might take place.
"We have a competition committee that will discuss this, and at the end of the day they will make a recommendation to the board of governors," he said.
Bettman mum, Cherry chimes in
Campbell also refused to say whether Gary Bettman was in favour of banning fighting. The NHL commissioner has in the past played a key role in pushing through rule changes such asthe crackdown on obstruction fouls.
"We've never discussed fighting in hockey," Campbell said. "He usually leaves the hockey matters to the hockey department. Gary is just concerned about the welfare of players and the injuries.
"He's never talked about whether fighting should be in the game or should not be in the game."
On his Coach's Corner segment later Saturday night on CBC, Don Cherry dismissed Cambell's assertion that the NHL needs to look into fighting.
"This is a violent sport, a tough sport," Cherry said. "We gotta play the game, people are paying money, it's entertainment."
Cherry's and Campbell'scomments on Hockey Night in Canada came on the same day the Atlanta Thrashers announced forward Jon Sim is out indefinitely after undergoing surgery to repair a broken left orbital bone suffered in a fight with San Jose's Mark Bell during a game Thursday.
The incident occurred a day after Fedoruk was taken off on a stretcher after being dropped by Orr.
Earlier in the week, Campbell meted out a five-game suspension to Nashville's Jordan Tootoo for a gloved punch that felled Stephane Robidas of Dallas.