Fighting words

"My take on fighting is that we should regulate it more. There are areas we should regulate and the reason I'm pro fighting with those caveats is that it's a deterrent against the stick guy, the agitator. So, take out fighting I think there's going to be a lot more liberties on the better players. A lot more liberties taken on the better players because there's no threat of being sanctioned. You can sanction by penalties but it's not bad taking a two-minute penalty if you're going to whack a Sidney Crosby versus you know you're going to have to answer to so-and-so and don't do that again. That I think is very, very important.

"Over time I don't know what it would look like over time. All of us are copy cats to a certain degree and we'll probably start drafting them (stick men, agitators) more and maybe you'll have two now instead of one."

-- Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli

On the NHL without fighting: "We play such a fast, emotional game and things can flow very quickly. Do we go to more stick work then? How does that work?

"I'm more on the side of reducing fighting and having harsher penalties but not eliminating it.

"I don't like staged fights. I don't think that adds to our game.

"I almost feel bad talking about this because some of the nicest guys in the game and some of the best team guys are guys who would be affected by this. So I don't totally feel comfortable talking about this.

"Think about the playoffs and the Olympics on the game's biggest stage of all, we have either no fighting or very little fighting and it's a great game. But I still maintain there is a place in the game for fighting.

When players are targeted or taken advantage of by other players, "then the players have to take care of that. If that wasn't there, how many times is that going to happen?"

-- Hurricanes GM and former NHL goaltender Jim Rutherford

"Even if you said there'd be no fighting, there's going to be fights. There's no fighting in baseball and there's bench clearing brawls."

-- Penguins general managers Ray Shero

"There are a small number of rats in the game who live outside the code. But our game is improved tremendously by players' ability to police the game. It makes it more exciting and honorable. It allows skill players to focus on the skilled aspects of the game because someone else can watch their back. And it fundamentally makes our game safer."

-- Brian Burke ( USA Today)

"My one issue would be, I think fighting in hockey would probably be my biggest issue right now. ... I think it has to be changed. I think we are at a point where, I don't think people want to see the staged type of fighting in hockey. I think the whole belief that it has an impact on protecting players, because it's not the '70s and '80s where that worked. It's changed, and so I think the league has to have a good look at that. That would probably be my only problem. I think it has gone too far. The players are too big."

-- Trevor Linden ( HNIC Radio)

"Now, with the speed and size of the players and the new equipment, I do worry about not just the violence, but the very serious injuries we're seeing. I think the NHL and others have some work to do to really address that problem."

-- Canada Prime Minister Stephen Harper ( Sportsnet Magazine)

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