Interesting discussion about hockey fights over at Mark Sullivan's blog.
There is a contention that the 1994 instigator rule has improved the NHL game.
I, channelling my inner Don Cherry, disagree. You see a lot more of the really nasty stuff now that there is no way for the enforcer types to retaliate.
Plus, I miss the enforcers--especially the nicknames: Dave "The Hammer" Schultz, "Missing" Link Gaetz, Stu "The Grim Reaper" Grimson, "the Bruise Brothers" Bob Probert and Joey Kocur, Dave "His Nickname Escapes Me" Semenko--a lot of the color of the game is lost now. In return, we have brutal cowardice like that displayed by Claude Lemieux, Marty McSorley and Todd Bertuzzi.
That's not an improvement.
No, I don't want "Slap Shot" antics every game, but what we have now protects even worse actions.
[P.S.: Speaking of my favorite hockey film--compared to most of today's "inspired by" films, Slap Shot was a documentary--amazingly close to real life.]