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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Fighting: Does it Help?

This is actually the first installment on the value of fighting.  Highly controversial topic, no doubt, and it's probably the most hotly contested subject we have ever struggled over.  To get my bias out of the way immediately, I don't think fighting is effective as a deterrent to hitting top players anymore, and thus its only value is to put asses in the seats.  And it does that admirably.  Because we're still a pretty cash-poor league, we need it.

As of right now, Dahntahn Dangler is putting together a pretty extensive statistical analysis of fighting's value, but I want to throw some surface data at you first.  I want to warm up the crowd; I am Bobcat Goldthwait to Dahntahn's Jim Gaffigan.

Basically, I just did a little (emphasis on "little") research and put together the rankings of NHL teams in terms of fighting majors and overall standings at the end of the year.  I included the last 20 years (if I could; the Ducks only go back 17) to see if the best fighting teams showed signs of also being the best teams overall.  So, I took 5 NHL teams and this is what I got (Note: rankings on the left of the chart are flipped, for the record):
As you can see, there's not a strong correlation between fighting and success here.  The closest would probably be the Ducks, who have had some success with their grit lately.  On the other hand, it has been the emergence of Getzlaf, Perry, and Bobby Ryan more than anything that has brought success, as well as the Pronger trade (Pronger doesn't fight much, for the record).


  1. No, it doesn't help. Fighting is the ultimate manifestation of reckless, undisciplined play. As they say in Philadelphia:

    If you can't beat 'em, beat 'em up.

  2. Do you realize that Bettman HAS to support fighting because it's profitable?

  3. ... but unlike the Commish, I have the luxury of looking at fighting from a completely objective point of view.


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