DETROIT – Detroit Red Wings enforcer Jordin Tootoo sees the end of fighting coming soon to the NHL.
And the first sign will be if the league starts handing out suspensions to goaltenders that decide to drop the gloves during a game.
“Unfortunately it looks that way,” Tootoo said. “This game has a lot of emotions and things happen spontaneously. If you take that part out of the game there’s just not going to be any emotion in the game whatsoever.
“Guys are going to take liberations,” Tootoo continued. “It’s not the way the game is supposed to be played.”
The league’s general managers, who met in Toronto Tuesday, were scheduled to discuss a deterrent to try and eliminate fights that happen between goalies, which could be an automatic 10-game suspension.
The whole issue surfaced after a very one-sided fight a couple of weeks ago between Philadelphia’s Ray Emery and Washington’s Braden Holtby.
“The whole situation with the fighting and what not, it’s getting cracked down everywhere,” Tootoo said. “I think it’s probably the right thing to do. Goalies don’t train to do those types of things. There’s one of two in the league that are, that practice boxing or whatever. I think it’s probably a good thing.”
Asked if he felt this was one step closer to eliminating fighting from the league Tootoo said, “Absolutely, for sure.”
Between the Wings’ goalie tandem of Jimmy Howard and Jonas Gustavsson, they’ve scrapped a total of two times. Both fights were by Howard, neither of which occurred in the NHL.
“I really don’t want to ever see Ray Emery skate down at me,” Howard said. “We’ll leave it at that.
“You shouldn’t have to fight,” Howard continued. “I wouldn’t stand up to him. That’s one guy on my list that I probably would try to find the nearest exit to the ice, whether it be the Zamboni doors or the bench. I mean, jeez you click on YouTube and you watch him take on heavyweights out there.”
Howard fought former Flyers goalie Michael Leighton in the American Hockey League. His other fight happened in juniors.
He said both fights were a draw with a slight smile.
“Fighting with goalies, it’s always been part of the game, so it’s always I think even the players like it,” Howard said. “You always see, the one way for a bench brawl to stop is have the goalies square off because everyone seems to stop and watch, everyone watch the goalies.”
Gustavsson said he’s not come close to getting into a fight.
“Not that it happens that often, but if everyone starts fighting and you see two guys or three guys go against one guy of course it’s a teammate you got to help out but that a really rare case,” Gustavsson said. “When you’re playing you’ve got a lot of adrenaline, so it’s hard to say what you would do. I guess it depends on the situation. If I feel like there’s no need for that, then I’d probably turn him down, if that’s even possible. But it’s hard to say.
“If some guy jumps you you’ve got to try to defend yourself,” Gustavsson added. “You can’t really turn around if he keeps going at you.”
Asked what he would do if Emery came down and challenged him to a fight Howard said, “I would keep my blocker on for sure. He’s tough as they come.”