Side show? Without even this watered down version of protection(instigator, helmet, visor, 3 fights in a game rules) the players would be running around and boarding the snot out of anyone that can play. The amount of high sticks would also be increased, as well as low bridge hits, and slew footing. Most NHL players would tell you it would become more dangerous without having these guys in the game. I agree that staged fights need to go, but there most certainly is a need for this element in the game. It's easy for people that gauge the game on possession numbers(not a knock) to overlook this aspect because they do not understand what occurs at ice level. It's a tough place that is kept in check by the boogie men. Everyone is scared of the boogeyman.
Instigating fights is illegal. Slew foots, low bridges, and high sticks are also all illegal, and if intentional, suspendable plays. NHL players have been told by the media and coaches that enforcers are necessary, but they are almost a non-entity at the NHL level. They don't play critical minutes and they seldom fight anyone but each other. I don't really see what protection they add - plenty of guys get run despite the presence (or non-presence) of an enforcer. It's just not something teams need in this day and age, but it's going to take another generation of coaches and general managers for them to finally be banished from the league.
Edited by Triumph, 23 September 2013 - 01:21 PM.