At the start of the 2012-13 season, the Ontario Hockey League made a controversial decision to limit fights. After ten fights from one combatant, not counting fights instigated by others, suspensions would start to be handed out, and the team would be punished if a player continually fought after reaching ten.
The positive from the league’s perspective is that pre-meditated fights have gone down. Windsor Spitfires tough guy Ty Bilcke stirred the pot last year when he said in a TV interview that he wanted to fight 50 times in his rookie year, with most of his tilts being pre-meditated. Now, he is tied for the league lead with Kingston's Jean Dupuy having ten fights.
The negative is that fighting is too open to interpretation at times.. Michal Cajkovsky wasn’t assessed a fighting major for dropping his gloves and pounding Kingston’s Darcy Greenaway, but Andrew Abou-Assaly was given a fighting major for a minor scrum with Plymouth’s Connor Carrick.
Furthermore, teams will find ways to work around the rule. The London Knights, for example, tend to call up London Nationals enforcer Paxton Leroux anytime they play a tough team so he can fight and then be sent back down. Even if he reaches ten fights, they probably don’t mind losing a bubble player to suspension.
67’s fans knew their team wouldn’t be as tough as last year with the graduation of Dalton Smith, and to a lesser extent, Daniel Broussard and Marc-Anthony Zanetti. The team is still relatively tough, however just past the halfway point of the year, they don’t have too many players to be worried about under the new fight rule.
Jonathan Duchesne (7)
Brendan Bell (5): Came to Ottawa with three fights already on his card from his time in Barrie, and has dropped the gloves twice with the Barberpoles.
Sean Callaghan (4): He has dropped the gloves six times this year, but two of them were in the pre-season.
John Urbanic (3): Decisively won all of his tilts as a member of the Generals.
Ryan Van Stralen, Daniel Walsh, Connor Brown (3)
Taylor Fielding, Taylor Davis (2)
Mark Petaccio (2): Had a pair of fights with Sault Ste. Marie early in the season.
Jake Middleton, Joseph Blandisi (1)
Andrew Abou-Assaly (1): Although his dust up against the Plymouth Whalers wouldn’t have been considered a fight by many, he does have one fighting major on the year.
Sergey Kuptsov (0): His only fight of the year, with Belleville, was instigated by Windsor’s Brandon Devlin.
Michal Cajkovsky (0): Amazingly, Cajkovsky may be Ottawa’s toughest player, yet he doesn’t have a strike on his fight card. He had one fight where the opposing fighter was given an instigator, and another where he was given four minutes for roughing.
Doug Harvey (0): Both of his fights were with Mississauga in the pre-season
Alex Morgan (0): His only fight was with Sault Ste. Marie in the pre-season.
Sean Monahan, Nevin Guy, Mike Vlajkov, Matthieu Desautels, Kevin Groulx, Dante Salituro, Brett Gustavsen, Trevor Dulong (0)
On Wednesday night, the 67's had enough healthy scratches that even if a player or two had to sit out due to a brief fighting suspension, it wouldn't do too much damage to the team. But with less than half the schedule to go, Ottawa's enforcers aren't at much of a risk to hit the limit, let alone pass it.