Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke sees the game of hockey changing and he doesn't like it.
Fights are down and the game is faster than ever and that is leaving little room on rosters for enforcers, much to Burke's chagrin.
NHL statistics show fighting is down significantly this season. So far there's an average of 0.8 fighting majors per game versus 1.2 per game at the same point last year.
Burke just had to send his team's toughguy, Colton Orr down to the AHL and there is no telling if Orr will be back with the Leafs this season. There just isn't the need for players like that anymore.
"If you want a game where guys can cheap-shot people and not face retribution, I'm not sure that's a healthy evolution," Burke said. "The speed of the game, I love how the game's evolved in terms of how it's played. But you're seeing where there is no accountability."
Burke's pleas are likely to be considered ill-advised, if not ill-times. The league is facing a tough time right now with high-profile players like Sidney Crosby dealing with concussion issues, so more fights is not something that the game needs right now.
Maybe the game has passed Burke by, but that might be ok with him because he doesn't seem to be a fan of the game right now anyway.
"I wonder about the accountability in our game and the notion that players would stick up for themselves and for each other," Burke said. "I wonder where we're going with it, that's the only lament I have on this. The fear that if we don't have guys looking after each other that the rats will take this game over.
"You see guys that run around and start stuff and won't back it up and it makes me sick to my stomach."
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