This season the AHL promoted a brand new rule against fighting majors. There was a cap against players that had them being suspended once they hit 10 fighting majors on the season and the penalty would increase along the way.
Rule 46 (“Fighting”)/Rule 23 (“Game Misconducts”)
• Players who enter into a fight prior to, at, or immediately following the drop of the puck for a faceoff will be assessed an automatic game misconduct in addition to other penalties assessed.
• During the regular season, any player who incurs his 10th fighting major shall be suspended automatically for one (1) game. For each subsequent fighting major up to 13, the player shall also be suspended automatically for one (1) game.
• During the regular season, any player who incurs his 14th fighting major shall be suspended automatically for two (2) games. For each subsequent fighting major, the player shall also be suspended automatically for two (2) games.
• In any instance where the opposing player was assessed an instigator penalty, the fighting major shall not count towards the player’s total for this rule.
Did it work in limiting fighting majors? Well, looking at the Milwaukee Admirals alone, I’d say so. In the Dean Evason Era of the team fighting majors have gone: 44 in 2012-13, 62 in 2013-14, 66 in 2014-15, 53 in 2015-16, and 40 in 2016-17. It’s certainly fallen down. And, for those wondering about it, the Admirals did not have anyone punished under the new AHL ruling. Mike Liambas sat on 9 fighting majors for the final 10 games of the season and that is a dramatic drop on his career record.
So, what then of this season in Admirals hockey fights? I don’t recall many barn-burners, slobber-knockers, or walk-off KO’s along the way. That lends itself to me deciding the winner based around the one that stands out the best. And there was a fight this season that had me laughing all the way through it taking place. The Best Fight of the 2016-17 Season belongs to Anthony Richard vs. Matt Lorito.
The Admirals and Griffins rivalry is rather well documented at this point – as is the Griffins methods of getting under the Admirals’ skin. The Griffins are a team that talk, talk, talk some more, and keep on talking while never actually walking the walk. Even in this instance it looked to be that case. Lorito decided to challenge the one person on the ice for the Admirals he deemed least willing to actually fight if he challenged him. Richard not only accepted but proceeded to throttle him and win instantly. The Admirals bench erupted and that gave Richard his first pro Gordie Howe hat trick.
What was your favorite fight this season? Do you feel the AHL’s fighting major policy benefited or hurt the way games were played this season? Should that policy return as it was this past season or be changed?
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