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I appreciate Gillis'/GM's early stance on fighting safety

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A handful of NHL GM's are in Florida discussing issues including goaltender equipment size, headshots and safety in fighting. Here's what Mike Gillis said about the fighting issue today:

"I think that's a reaction to players deciding they were going to unilaterally take their helmets off before a fight, so to discourage that activity they (OHL) created a rule," Gillis said. "It's still in its infancy. You don't know what the result of that rule is or whether it's an effective tool or an ineffective tool. That was a reaction to a tragic event that occurred and I'm not quite sure whether it's applicable to the National Hockey League or not."

Gillis added "to make the analogy" between the OHL and the NHL "I think is really dangerous" because the NHL is guarded by the world's top officials, who are under a significant microscope. It's different in the OHL.

That is quoted from, and it's a great read.

Let me just state that the following opinion is mine alone.

I can appreciate that Gillis said that. The last thing the NHL needs to do is initiate a "knee jerk reaction" rule to the issue of helmets being left on or off during fights.

I won't tip-toe around it. There doesn't need to be a rule instated that fighters need their helmets left on. No way. That is both weak and lame. What needs to happen is that players need to show more respect towards each other. The incidents where a fighter cracks his skull on the ice usually results from the opposing player yanking him backwards to the ice with the head naturally smacking the surface. That part needs to stop. It's one thing to wrestle an opponent to the ice. It's another thing to give him (exaggerating) a Russian Leg Sweep. Here is an example. Eliminate the backwards plunge and I think that is good enough.

That may sound insensitive, given the Sanderson incident, but some reality needs to remain here. That was a freak accident. But you don't obliterate the whole fighting system because of it. Just tweak it a little.

If players will be forced to leave their helmets on, the respect level will decrease further because the guy's head is "protected". More liberties will then be taken, especially as far as take-downs go.