Parros’ concussion is not a good example of the need to ban fighting in the NHL – it was more accident than fight related


Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images
Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images

The 2013-14 NHL season is mere days old and already the hot topic is fighting. At a time when discussions on sports networks might logically be focused on how the first taste of the new hybrid icing rule is playing out attention is on the incident in the Montreal Canadiens home opener in which Habs player George Parros received a concussion.

Early in the third period of Tuesday’s game Parros and Toronto Maple Leafs tough guy Colton Orr  had a scrap. According to CBC it was the eighth or ninth time these two have squared-off during their careers, and it was the second time in the game. In an attempt to land a punch, Parros lost his balance and hit the ice chin first – a classic face-plant – resulting in the concussion. What needs to be pointed out is that immediately Orr stopped, backed off and, realizing the situation was serious, called for medical assistance.

There may well be many reasons to banish fighting from hockey, but this incident isn’t one of them.

There may well be many reasons to banish fighting from hockey, but this incident isn’t one of them.  In fact you could argue that when two “designated fighters” pair off some unwritten rules of the trade are in effect. If this had been a mismatch between a small fleet forward and a burly defender that’s a whole different situation. Had Parros’ concussion been the result of an Orr haymaker that too would be different. But Parros could conceivably have lost his balance in a scramble for a loose puck and still suffered the concussion. It was more accident than fight related.

I suggest the NHL get rid of the penalty called “fighting” … because by having a fighting penalty you recognize that it is part of the game, just like tripping or holding.

I’m pleased that George is out of hospital and wish him a speedy recovery, but I think the league needs to look elsewhere to find a reason to bar fighting. In that vein may I suggest the NHL get rid of the penalty called “fighting” and replace it with “personal foul” or “unnecessary roughness” because by having a fighting penalty you recognize that it is part of the game, just like tripping or holding. Those infractions are illegal, but are part of the game, hence the penalties name for them.

MeDCMontreal is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that. a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and Freans and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DC on Twitter @DCMontreal and on Facebook, and add him on Google+
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3 thoughts on “Parros’ concussion is not a good example of the need to ban fighting in the NHL – it was more accident than fight related

  1. One thing I think should be pointed out, yet nobody is, is that while this was an accident it is one that keeps recurring. When people get in fights, they often fall, and occasionally hit their head on the ice, the reason for this is obviously the fight. So while this was an unfortunate accident the only reason that Parros hit his head was due to the fight. What difference does it make if the concussion was due to a punch or him falling and hitting his head? The cause and effect are still the same: the fight, which results in a concussion. If a concussion occurs for a reason related to active play that is another issue entirely. Taking the blame away from the fight makes no sense, particularly when this exact thing keeps happening because of fights. e.g. Don Sanderson,

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