When you think of NHL tough guys who is one of the first people to come to mind? Chances are Tie Domi was one of those players. Known for his ruthless aggression on the ice, Domi has seen his fair share of NHL fights.
Today we will look at his career and discuss fighting in the NHL in the future.
Tie Domi’s controversial records
We will start things off with Domi’s role as a grinder in the NHL. He routinely delivered questionable checks, which led to a number of fights. He holds the record most NHL fighting majors with 333, which if you calculate the five-minute penalties, turns out to 1,665 penalty minutes.
Domi is also third all-time in career penalty minutes with 3,515. This means over half of his penalty minutes came from fighting. He also had 238 penalty minutes in 98 playoff games. This surprisingly wasn’t enough to make the top-10 list for PIM (penalty minutes) in the playoffs.
Domi was also known for the 11 game suspension he received for a dirty play, which made him a marked man when he was on the ice.
During a playoff game, he elbowed Scott Niedermayer in the head. The NHL suspended him for the remaining three playoff games of the series, and eight regular-season games in the following season.
Tie Domi also had an altercation with a fan who tried to break into the penalty box. Domi pummeled the man before security could arrive and escort the fan out of the building.
What has caused the drop-off in fights?
Where fighting used to be the norm in the era of Domi, the role of a gritty NHL grinder is virtually non-existent in today’s game. Instead of teams drafting a goon simply to send a message, the later round picks are being used on prospects that can be stashed overseas, adding offensive punch to a fourth line normally used for fisticuffs.
The mindset of the players has also changed, where sending a message late in the third used to be the norm, now players just direct their anger towards each other on social media.
The leader in hockey fighting research, HockeyFights.com has tracked fighting in the NHL since the 2000-01 season. The numbers have drastically dropped, from a high of 42% in 2001-02 to just 16% this past season. The number of games with more than one fight has also seen a significant drop-off, going from 41 last season to 22 this year.
Has it helped the NHL’s revenue?
For the last decade, the NHL’s attendance numbers have been pretty even, roughly over 17,000 attendees per game. The league generated $25 million in operating income, which was a 39% increase from the 2016-17 season.
We think the popularity of the game, and the constant flow of action due to less fighting penalties, has made the league more popular than it has been since the days of Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux.
Are there any young players bucking that trend?
Looking at the league leaders in penalty minutes, this year the leader was Evander Kane, who isn’t known as an enforcer. He racked up 153 PIM and averaged just two minutes per game, so only minor penalties. Don’t expect things to change anytime soon, as the leader in the AHL was Brandon Baddock of Binghamton, who was almost identical to Kane with 154 PIM in 67 games.
What do fans think of the NHL’s changes?
If you are hoping to go back to the old days of the NHL, we think those days are long gone. We are excited about the future of the sport and think this is a trend that anyone can get behind. For more news from around the world of hockey check out our NHL section!