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From the Branches: Fighting is down in the OHL and AHL this season

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How many seasons until the NHL follows in their footsteps?

Toronto Maple Leafs v Montreal Canadiens Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images

When the OHL first introduced it’s fight limits, most people thought it was lip service, after all players were allowed to go 10 fights before suspensions kicked in. Well, it’s been more than that as the fight window has shrunk to just three fights per player before they start getting suspended. From the OHL:

In addition, the league took further steps to address fighting in the game by lowering the threshold prior to automatic disciplinary action being assessed from 10 fights per player per season to three fights per player per season. Players exceeding such threshold will be subject to an automatic two game suspension, for each fight exceeding the threshold.

The AHL has also introduced similar rules for this season:

During the regular season, any player who incurs his 10th fighting major shall be suspended automatically for one (1) game. For each subsequent fighting major up to 13, the player shall also be suspended automatically for one (1) game.

During the regular season, any player who incurs his 14th fighting major shall be suspended automatically for two (2) games. For each subsequent fighting major, the player shall also be suspended automatically for two (2) games.

In any instance where the opposing player was assessed an instigator penalty, the fighting major shall not count towards the player’s total for this rule.

Only one player in the AHL went past the 10 fight threshold, Ross Johnston has 11 fights this season, according to HockeyFights.com. There were 504 fights in the AHL this season, down from 696 in the previous. It’s not a dramatic decrease, but it’s getting there.

It’s being eased out of the game anyway, but for these lower leagues it’s good to implement the thresholds, to keep lesser players from trying to make a new role for themselves to stay on the team, for their and everyone’s health and safety.

I know there’s the old argument that this will cause injuries to go up, but I can’t find a database that tracks injuries like they do fights, so that’s hard to prove. Besides, if fighting was a deterrent, would Jake Dotchin be such an asshole to the Leafs/Marlies with Matt Martin and Richard Clune around?

Now that I’ve stirred stuff up, here are your morning links.

Should the Leafs try to trade for Matt Dumba? - TLN

Only 23 defencemen in the entire league hit 40 points this season. Dumba had 34. Assuming he takes another step there in 2017-18, trading him now makes sense if the Wild want to avoid a tougher decision later.

But assuming he could be available, how would he help the Leafs?

Flyers’ Pierre Edouard Bellemare scores by passing on award at IIHF tournament - Colour of Hockey

The phrase “consummate team player” is an often over-used piece of sports-writing jargon, but every now and then you see the meaning behind the words.

Sidney Crosby, Mike Sullivan contradict on concussion evaluation - Puck Daddy

J.T. Brown using passion for video games to connect with fans - Raw Charge
Brown gives fans a view of himself outside of the rink.

Blackhawks need to address organizational goalie depth this offseason - Second City Hockey
The Blackhawks still have their No. 1 goalie, but things get painfully thin after that.

Game 6 Recap: Flat Penguins get bashed, lose 5-2 - PensBurgh
The Pittsburgh Penguins don't show up and get totally run over by the Washington Capitals. Pittsburgh now goes back to DC for a Game 7 and searching for a lot of answers

Start the Clock: Barclays, Islanders officially begin lease agreement negotiations - Lighthouse Hockey
Per a report in Newsday by Robert Brodsky and Jim Baumbach, Barclays Center has sent notice to the Islanders that the time to discuss the future partnership between the team and the arena is nigh.

Who should Leafs target to improve Defense? – HockeyAnalysis.com
Specifically he identified the need for a top pairing right side defenseman to play with Gardiner. The second pairing would be Rielly with Zaitsev and the proposed third pairing would be Dermott with Carrick.

Rangers sign Dawson Leedahl - Blueshirt Banter
The New York Rangers announced Monday they have signed undrafted free agent winger Dawson Leedahl. Coming off a 35-54-89 season with the Regina Pats of the Western Hockey League in 71 games,...

Jake Voracek got hurt at the World Championships because life is cruel - Broad Street Hockey
Ban the World Championships.

Enjoy the day!