NHL Fights and the Headshot Debate: Where’s the Science?

October 15th, 2011 by Dustin Olson Leave a reply »
It would seem to be dark days for proponents of fighting in the NHL. Our champions in the media are few and far between and the loudest of them (see: Cherry, Don) appear to be descending further into senility by the minute.

This week, Arron Asham's knockout of Jay Beagle and subsequent Razor Ramon impression was more goon than enforcer and will surely give all the ammo in the world to anti-fight pundits like Dave Hodge and the cantankerous crew that joins him Sunday mornings on TSN's yawn-inducing The Reporters. 

But what seems to be gaining momentum following the Asham/Beagle affair is the perceived hypocrisy of a league that is working feverishly to eliminate checks that target the head while allowing its players to engage in a consensual toe-to-toe that will most likely result in a series of bare-knuckle punches to the body part they're so desperately trying to protect. 

Pro-pugilists are struggling mightily to explain the difference, as evidenced in the following exchange between Rob Ray, the former Buffalo Sabres enforcer, and TSN's Michael Landsberg in an interview on Landsberg's Off The Record, yesterday:

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