Fallout of the Buffalo Sabres-Toronto Maple Leafs Sunday Night Brawl

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Negative Media Coverage

Of course, the fallout from Sunday’s game extends beyond just a few suspensions.  I understand many fans of hockey enjoy watching a brawl break out

Jun 30, 2013; Newark, NJ, USA; NHL commissioner Gary Bettman during the 2013 NHL Draft at the Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

during a game – I’m not one of them, although the individual fights I’m okay with – but there can be no denying the fact that professional hockey will continue to be considered a “fringe” sport in this country because of events like this.  Not only it is the only sport in which fighting is allowed; it is the only sport where fighting is considered a NECESSARY part of the game.  That’s fine, I guess – but the NHL cannot enjoy seeing articles such as these filling the newspapers and internet the morning after a game:

Dumb and Dumber: The Most Idiotic Aspects of Sabres-Leafs Brawl

Leafs-Sabres Brawl A Senseless Act

Maple Leafs- Sabres Brawl: The Five Worst Ideas

I could list more, but why bother?  Not all the news coverage was negative – I’m not trying to spin this – but there’s enough bad press out there to give the NHL a headache.  Every professional sports league wants to raise profits by building its audience, but while die-hard hockey fans eat these brawls up, mainstream sports fans watch it and think, “That’s barbaric!  NFL players hit each other all day long, and they don’t fight.”   To each their own, but the NHL certainly is aware that this sort of bad press drives potential fans away.

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