Fighting words

"It's part of the game as far as an entertainment factor goes and I think it deters a lot of other things that would happen as far as stick work, dirtier hits. I want to believe that it prevents a lot of stuff like that from happening. I mean we'd never know until you find out, if they banned fighting, we'd never be able to prove that it limited injuries. It's one of those things, you don't know."

-- Predators forward Richard Clune

"One hundred percent. If fights are not going to be in the game, lots of idiots are going to be out there coming at us. For them, they're going to be happy because no one [is] allowed to fight them. It's a men's sport. It's not a ballet. I think it's stupid to cancel the fight and say, 'No fight anymore.'"

-- Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin. ( CSN Washington)

"Does fighting still have a place in today's NHL? My answer is a qualified yes. ... Incidents of players taking such liberties are rare in today's game because fighting gives us the ability to hold each other accountable. If you play dirty, you're going to have to answer for it."

-- Bruins forward Jarome Iginla ( Sports Illustrated)

"I believe a player should get a game misconduct for fighting. We penalize and suspend players for making contact with the head while checking in an effort to reduce head injuries yet we still allow fighting.

"We're stuck in the middle and need to decide what kind of sport do we want to be. Either anything goes and we accept the consequences, or take the next step and eliminate fighting."

-- Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman ( TSN)

"It's a pretty complex issue. But with the emphasis on hits to the head, and the seriousness of concussions, if you look at fighting -- it's mostly hits to the head. It's something that has to be looked at.

"I definitely believe the players have to have a voice in this."

-- NHL's all-time winningest coach Scotty Bowman

"The players need to have a voice in this, it's their game as much as ours. We as managers meet on a regular basis, three or four times a year, and every meeting the last few years has been about safety, including fighting. It's about making it a safer environment for the players. But I haven't heard one player say he doesn't want fighting in the game. We need to figure this out together."

-- Predators GM David Poile

"Listen, I respect everybody's opinion about our game, but it's a little different when you're on the ice and you have a stick in your hand. That's the thing that's different than any other sport is what you can do with your stick, maybe a little bit behind the scenes. It's hard to say, but my guess is stick work will pick up and there will be a lot more guys that'll be a little braver, a little tougher."

-- Bruins president Cam Neely ( Cross Checks)

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