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The Boston Globe

Sports

on second thought

NHL the league that continues to fight itself

The Bruins had a couple of fights with the Panthers Thursday night, neither of them significant, which is to say it was a standard NHL game. The fights are far fewer in number than they used to be, rarely if ever influence the final score, and truly don’t police the game, the myth that the lingering and vocal fight advocates continue to perpetuate, clinging to the threadbare, moldy blankie of vigilantism they keep in their equipment bag.

Flyers goalie Ray Emery had a humdinger of a bout Nov. 1 in Philadelphia. Actually, it wasn’t a fight, because his victim in the assault, Capitals goalie Braden Holtby, wanted no part of it. That’s a different kind of hockey fight, a mugging, which is quite rare. But it happens. And why? Because the NHL not only allows it but aids and abets it, for reasons that in 2013 are nearly impossible to reckon.

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