Fighting was going to be a topic of conversation among the NHL's powerbrokers this weekend, after the death of Don Sanderson ripped the cover off a simmering debate. The word from the NHL today was status quo, with Gary Bettman reaffirming that an outright ban isn't on the radar but that the League has an eye on potential measures that could address players removing their helmets for fights.
Just after the opening face-off, Klotz and Kevin Westgarth of the Monarchs took off their helmets and squared off. Each player landed several punches, but near the end of the fight, Westgarth landed several punches in a row. The TV replay of the game seemed to show that Klotz was knocked out by one of the blows to the head and then crumpled to the ice.
Once on the ice, Klotz had the seizure, which lasted for 30 to 40 seconds as he lay on the ice along the boards at the Monarchs' bench. Team doctors attended to Klotz on the ice and he was put on the stretcher. [Team spokesperson Brian] Smith said Klotz was alert and responsive on the way to the hospital and watched the rest of the game on television.
Philadelphia Flyers GM Paul Holmgren said on Comcast SportsNet that Klotz was responsive and watched the rest of the game on television, saying: "It was a scary incident ... but we just got word from our doctor that he's clear. There's no facial fracture. They're stitching him up. His jaw is fine and there's no tooth fracture or anything. It's a scary ordeal, but he's going to be fine."
Having not seen the fight and without any knowledge of Klotz's medical history, it's hard to properly assess this thing. That won't stop this from quickly becoming Exhibit B in the latest case to ban fighting from all levels of hockey. That's unavoidable.
Our buddy Steve Dangle has done just that. We've run plenty of links to pro-fighting pieces here; Steve's opposing view deserves the same spotlight:
The disciplinary system in the NHL is a joke. This is the second standpoint. And they'd be right. But let's say a guy discovers his little brother is being bullied at school. One day, he confronts the bully. So one day he clocks him one real good right between the eyes. And all the kids in the school yard cheer, and laugh, because who doesn't like to see a fight? All of a sudden, the cheering stops when the kids realize - this kid ain't gettin' up.
The NHL - both its players and those in management - need to be saved from themselves. Ban fighting. Ban fighting. Ban fighting. Fighting's days in hockey are over. They're done. Kaput. Feel like the game will suffer as a result? Go watch MMA.
People who defend fighting in hockey need to stop acting like they think every incident is a huge tragedy. If you really thought that, you'd ban it.
(UPDATE: Pension Plan Puppets has a point-by-point retort of Dangle's post.)