The new NHL rules for this season continue to trickle in one by one it seems. That's not really the case as they have all been previously agreed upon over the summer but they didn't all get the same fanfair. So with preseason games under way we're learning some of them on the fly. One of those rules changes that popped up on Monday night was the fact that now the removal of one's helmet before or during a fight calls for a minor penalty. That coincides with the five-minute major for fighting. Here's an example from Monday. oe Haggerty of CSN New England has a little more. Players that take off their helmets prior to a fight will be served with a minor penalty along with the five minute fighting major this season. Whispers around the NHL also indicate that linesmen have been instructed to break up hockey fights as soon as either combatant's helmet comes off during the scrap. Sources indicated to CSNNE.com that the league's general managers also considered introducing a minor penalty to any player that pulls off an opponents' helmet during a hockey fight but that rule didn't have enough support for adoption. The reasoning for the rule seems straightforward enough. The NHL is trying to diminish injury potential and the cynic would say the league is trying to protect its rear from future lawsuits like the NFL recently experienced. There was also the case of a player dying as a result of hitting his helmet-less head on the ice at the conclusion of a fight. It's a dangerous endeavor. At the same time fighting fans and hockey purists are not digging the new restriction. Combine this with the mandatory visor grandfathering into the game and it's easy to see why people think this is another attempt to take fighting out of the NHL without actually taking fighting out of the NHL. It's just another deterrent because really who wants to fight somebody wearing a visor?
Will new penalty for removing helmet further curb fighting in NHL?
CBS Sports | Sep 17