Why does fighting need to go? It’s all about the brain

Adam Proteau
George Parros (Richard WolowiczGetty Images)

In 12 years at The Hockey News, I’ve made my position on fighting clear: hockey, and the NHL in particular, doesn’t do enough to curtail it. It can’t be banned any more than the NBA, NFL, MLB or any other professional league can stop people from punching each other about the face and head, but it can be regulated to a far greater degree. That’s not radical or treasonous, no matter how staunch the game’s traditionalists try making it out to be.

The encouraging news is how far the debate has shifted. Where once I heard wisecracks from colleagues who’d make half-serious jokes about me fleeing press row when a fight broke out, I now have a steady stream of people (fans and media) saying essentially the same thing: “I used to love all kinds of fighting, but now I’m with you – I can’t get into the staged fights anymore.” Read more

Max Domi does the unthinkable for breakaway tally

Jared Clinton
(via YouTube)

For those who didn’t know Max Domi, the World Junior Championship was somewhat of a coming out party. But if he wasn’t on your radar yet, he is now.

During Friday night’s game between Domi’s London Knights and the Sarnia Sting, the crafty forward pulled off one of the most incredible breakaway moves you’ll ever see. While it’s not a fancy deke or ridiculous shot, it’s one of the most creative efforts you’ll see all year. Read more

Toronto to get All-Star Game and outdoor game in 2017: Source

Phil Kessel  (Richard Lautens/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

COLUMBUS – The Toronto Maple Leafs will celebrate their 100th anniversary in 2017 with the All-Star Game and an outdoor game, a source with close ties to NHL ownership told thn.com.

And it looks as though the Winter Classic for 2016 will be held in Boston at Gillette Stadium with a game against the Montreal Canadiens. And, of course, the World Cup is scheduled for Toronto in 2016 with eight teams, including an all-star team made up of smaller hockey countries and a team of 23-and-under North Americans. Read more

It’s not hockey without fighting

Ryan Kennedy
Braden Holtby and Ray Emery square off (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

It always fascinates me when someone who claims to like hockey says they don’t like fighting. Hockey has always had fisticuffs, so clearly when they fell in love with the sport, they knew what they were getting into. They’re the sort of folks who go to a Chinese restaurant and ask why cheeseburgers aren’t on the menu, I imagine.

I don’t try to intellectualize fighting because for me it’s a matter of passion – my own and that of the players. Hockey is an intense, physical game played at high speeds. It inspires loyal fans who know the sacrifices players have made to get to the elite ranks and appreciate the danger those same athletes face on a nightly basis just by skating around with each other in ill temper. Are concussions bad? Are hits to the head bad? Sure, but players have known the risks forever and I don’t believe otherwise, even if specific maladies (such as chronic traumatic encephalopathy) have only been named recently. Read more

Rumor Roundup: Maple Leafs, Kings, Sabres, Oilers, and Senators all prepared to make moves following break

(Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NHL)

Talk of the the Toronto Maple Leafs and Los Angeles Kings swapping toxic contracts by exchanging defenseman Dion Phaneuf and Mike Richards persists in the rumor mill. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman believes it could make sense for both clubs. He thinks the Kings might go for it but not the Leafs at this point.

Phaneuf, 29, is in the first year of a seven-year, $49-million contract with an annual cap hit of $7 million. Richards, 29, is in the seventh-season of a 12-year, $69-million deal worth $5.75-million per season. Read more

Filip Forsberg gets that new-car smell in a big way

Ken Campbell
Forsberg and Nuge

COLUMBUS – Filip Forsberg went from having no cars to owning two in record time. The Nashville Predators rookie, who has been bumming rides from teammate Mattias Ekholm most of his first season in the NHL, bought a new Jaguar recently, then won a Honda Accord for being taken last overall in the all-star fantasy draft.

In a recent piece on Forsberg in THN’s Rookie Issue, Forsberg talked about not having a set of wheels. “That might change soon,” he said. Little did he know at the time he was going to have one too many cars before long.

“It was just a really fun thing to be here with the guys,” Forsberg said. “Hopefully I can play in another All-Star Game and move up in the draft in the future. And I get a car out of this. That’s not too bad either.”

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins of the Edmonton Oilers, who was chosen second last in a fan vote, also received a Honda Accord. No word on whether it was equipped with a block heater.

Both Forsberg and Nugent-Hopkins said they would likely give the new car to a family member, “but you can never have too many cars,” Forsberg said.

Nugent-Hopkins said he expects members of his family back in Burnaby, B.C. will be vying for the prize.

“I’m expecting a few calls from family members lobbying for it,” Nugent-Hopkins said. “We’ll see who gets it.”

Team Foligno makes more coin, but Team Toews has the Cups and gold medals

Ken Campbell
Alex Ovechkin (Photo by Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images)

COLUMBUS – We have no idea which team is going to win the All-Star Game Sunday afternoon, but we’re pretty sure which one is buying the drinks.

Boosted by the surprise late selection of Alex Ovechkin, Team Foligno broke the bank and shattered the NHL’s salary cap with a payroll of $122.91 million, more than $16 million more than Team Toews. The team also picked up $2.25 million in salary when it made a trade to acquire Phil Kessel for Tyler Seguin.

Where Team Toews is lacking at the pay window, however, it makes up for in team achievements. Led by the team captain, teammate Brent Seabrook and Patrik Elias, Team Toews has a total of 10 Stanley Cups, compared to nine for Team Foligno. And when it comes to Olympic gold medals, it’s not even close. Team Toews has 11 of them, while Team Foligno has just five.

Listed below are both teams and the salary cap for each player.

TEAM TOEWS

Jonathan Toews, Chicago – $6.5 million

Ryan Getzlaf, Anaheim – $6.5 million

Rick Nash, N.Y. Rangers – $7.8 million

Tyler Seguin, Dallas – $5.75 million

Shea Weber, Nashville – $7.86 million

Jakub Voracek, Philadelphia – $4.25 million

Corey Crawford, Chicago – $6 million

John Tavares, N.Y. Islanders – $5.5 million

Roberto Luongo, Florida – $4.53 million

Brent Seabrook, Chicago – $5.8 million

Vladimir Tarasenko, St. Louis – $1.75 million

Patrice Bergeron, Boston – $6.5 million

Jaroslav Halak, N.Y. Islanders – $4.5 million

Aaron Ekblad, Florida – $3.78 million

Johnny Gaudreau, Calgary – $1.85 million

Mike Hoffman, Ottawa – $750,000

Patrik Elias, New Jersey – $5.5 million

Ryan Suter, Minnesota – $7.54 million

Mark Giordano, Calgary – $4.02 million

Justin Faulk, Carolina – $4.83 million

Tyler Johnson, Tampa Bay – $3.33 million

Filip Forsberg, Nashville – $1.46 million

TOTAL – $106.3 million

TEAM FOLIGNO

Nick Foligno, Columbus – $3 million

Patrick Kane, Chicago – $6.5 million

Drew Doughty, Los Angeles – $7 million

Ryan Johansen, Columbus – $4 million

Duncan Keith, Chicago – $5.55 million

Anze Kopitar, Los Angeles – $6.8 million

Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay – $7.5 million

Phil Kessel, Toronto – $8 million

Carey Price, Montreal – $6.5 million

Claude Giroux, Philadelphia – $8.3 million

Dustin Byfuglien, Winnipeg – $5.2 million

Marc-Andre Fleury, Pittsburgh – $5 million

Brian Elliott, St. Louis – $2.5 million

Brent Burns, San Jose – $5.76 million

Kevin Shattenkirk, St. Louis – $4.25 million

Jonathan Drouin, Tampa Bay – $3.19 million

Jiri Sekac, Montreal – $1.35 million

Bobby Ryan, Ottawa – $5.1 million

Radim Vrbata, Vancouver – $5 million

Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Arizona – $5.5 million

Zemgus Girgensons, Buffalo – $1.37 million

Alex Ovechkin, Washington – $9.54 million

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Edmonton – $6 million

TOTAL – $122.91 million