Below is an excerpt from a letter I just sent to the Hockey News now that I've finally had time to digest all the tragedy the hockey world has experienced this summer:
It's absurd that people can still deny the link between mental health problems and multiple head injuries. In the wake of the horrible tragedies of this agonizing offseason it's time to fix the problem.
NHL rosters must be trimmed to remove the pure enforcer out of the league permanently. Somehow it became okay to have a full-time pugilist on an NHL roster and the league needs to change so that teams no longer have the flexibility to dress an enforcer every night.
If line-ups went from four lines to three it would be impossible to keep a Wade Belak or Rick Rypien on an NHL roster, it would be too costly to the win/loss column. None of these guys really want to fight each night but the NHL knows fighting equals ratings. The league's sacrifice of these brave and often lovable men is going to cost them when the family of a brain dead or suicidal fighter drags the NHL brand through a nasty law suit.
I'm not saying fighting doesn't belong in hockey but the role of the enforcer is done.