Detroit -- Mike Babcock says he can foresee the day when the NHL will ban fighting, amid concerns about concussions and the views of the public.
Asked about fisticuffs in the game, after George Parros knocked himself out in a fight again Colton Orr in the Canadiens-Maple Leafs Tuesday -- rekindling the long debate about the the role of fighting in hockey -- Babcock said the league already does much to avoid blows to the head during regular game action.
He was asked: Will fighting be banned, some day?
"Oh, I think, for sure," he said. "Iím sure there will be a day. For sure.
"You're always judged in the court of public opinion, are you not?"
For many, watching Parros being carried off on a stretcher, after he thrust himself chin-first to the ice when he go caught up with Orr in the scuffle, was yet another reminder of the extreme danger to which hockey players, and those in other sports, expose themselves.
"The other night, when I was watching that game, I thought it was a farce,Ē Babcock said. ďAnd I thought it was uncalled for and did not need to be.
"George is laying there on the ice. It's 2013, the last time I checked, and we're talking about taking all of the head shots out of the NHL and that stuff's going on? I don't know.
"To me, I don't understand it, actually.
"Everyone will tell you it has a place in the game," Babcock said. "There's lots of hard, hard games that don't allow fighting.
"I don't have all the answers there. I just know that the way we've made it now, you've got helmets and some guys don't, and they're taking them off or not taking them off (when fighting). To me, that's not two guys mad, fighting. That's something else.
"And you know when you see a guy get hurt like that, you wonder what you're doing.
"The good thing is, as a coach, I'm not going to get a lot of say in that matter. So it really doesn't matter what I think. But I imagine the subject is going to come up, and when your league is this much against head shots and the penalties are so severe; fighting is a head shot, isn't it?
"So, I don't know where the fine line is there. I don't know how you take the heads shots out of the game and allow scrapping."
Steve Yzerman, the former Red Wings captain who is now general manager of the Lightning, said Wednesday he believes anyone fighting should receive a game misconduct.
"We penalize and suspend players for making contact with the head while checking, in an effort to reduce injuries, yet we still allow fighting," Yzerman said, according to Yahoo.com.
Daniel Alfredsson did not skate in practice Thursday but said there are no concerns.
He intends to play both games this weekend. Resting and taking treatment on a previously sore groin is, in effect, simply a wise thing for an older player to do.
Babcock seemed taken aback that there was any concern about the newly acquired, 40-year-old sharp shooter.
"Is he hurt?" he asked inquisitive media. "Is there something I don't know about? Well, I don't think he's hurt. He's fine."