Fighting words

"This is a physical game. The players want it physical, that's how they make their livelihood. The fans want it physical, that's the nature of the game, but we want to make it as safe as we can.

"I don't make the [game's] rules. I don't have unilateral decision-making authority and there are people on both sides of the discussion that are very well dug in on their positions."

-- NHL commissioner Gary Bettman ( The Globe and Mail)

"I'm not sure I can even envision the premise. I'm not sure, regardless of what rule changes may over time be made, I'm not sure if fighting is ever eliminated from the game. I think fighting will continue to be part of the game regardless of what your rules are and it is part of other games as well."

-- Deputy commissioner Bill Daly ( Cross Checks)

"We are constantly in touch with our various constituents, including our players and our fans, on all issues pertaining to the game on the ice. At the current time, there is not an appetite to change the rules with respect to fighting.

"That said, we intend to continue to review all aspects of our game, with a focus on making it as safe as it can be for our players.''

-- NHL executive vice president and director of hockey operations Colin Campbell

"I can't remember one of those [fights] where I really was looking forward to doing it. It's different today, our players are bigger, they're stronger. There's some guys that do it better than some of us did it. I always remember fighting because there was a real reason for it.

"The rules have changed in fighting. I don't think it's as big a problem as some people make it out to be. I think our numbers are coming down and the numbers prove that. ... I've been through rule changes that have changed our games in positive ways. This is just a big unknown. [The NHL without fighting] would be one of the things we'd have to see to be like, it would sure be hard to pull it back if we didn't like that game."

-- NHL senior vice president of hockey operations Kris King ( Cross Checks)

"Fighting is part of the game right now. Always will be. If you don't have it, you'll have a lot of guys just running around sticking guys. A lot more stickwork. That's the way it goes."

Without fighting, "you'd have a bunch of rat-type players. That's who benefits. They don't get held accountable. They can go after the superstars. That's who benefits from it.

"We all know what we sign up for whenever we put the skates on."

-- Senators forward Chris Neil

"I think the game would get more dangerous [without fighting]. Absolutely. Having guys like [Matt] Kassian for us or Parros certainly keeps guys honest. Those guys do a lot of policing behind the scenes that don't get a lot of credit. They just have a calming effect out there. You wouldn't necessarily see more head shots but you'd see more at-risk hits because you know you don't have to be held accountable for it.

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