One of the signature moments of the 8-0 blowout that the Nashville Predators dropped on Detroit a couple weeks ago came in the 2nd period, when Shea Weber fought Red Wings defenseman Andreas Lilja. It was as one-sided a bout as you'll ever see in the NHL, with Weber getting several solid shots in before the linesmen broke it up. After not having played since that game, Ansar Khan of Mlive.com reports this morning that Lilja has now gone on long-term injured reserve, and won't play until at least March 27.
There's been much discussion this season on the role of fighting in today's NHL, so I feel obligated to share my opinion one this one; if ever there was a case for the presence of fighting in hockey, this would appear to be it. Lilja's action just prior to the fight, hauling Weber down to the ice from behind, and grabbing his head to do so, is an astoundingly dangerous thing to do in a hockey game. If Weber's hockey helmet had come loose, he could easily have suffered a life-threatening injury on the play. The Preds defenseman, quite naturally, reacted like a tiger taken by the tail, and took care of business.
Whether or not the staged, "let's go right after the faceoff" fights can be eliminated from the NHL is a subject worthy of discussion. But this fight is an example of something that would happen in just about any sport; one player puts another unneccesarily in harm's way, and gets a pounding for it. I hope Lilja recovers from his injuries soon, and has learned not to do such a foolish thing ever again.
What changes, if any, should the NHL mandate around fighting?
Nothing - the game works well as-is. (15 votes)
Require helmets to stay on during a fight (4 votes)
Automatic game misconduct for a fight (1 vote)
Get rid of the Instigator Rule, fighting isn't such a problem (8 votes)
28 total votes