I'm not very keen on Don Cherry but I get why he is a populist. I don't care for many of his positions and especially when he strays from hockey but the CBC provides him with his soapbox because he makes them money.
Last week's Coach's Corner he hit on a number of topics but his message to the NHL was dead on. Fighting in hockey is popular and removing violence from the game is suicide. He's right. When a fight breaks out in a game everyone in the arena is on their feet. Players are applauding. The fight usually makes the highlight reel. Hockey pacifists complain but so what.
Cherry's point is that if you want to make inroads in NFL country then selling violence is the way to go. When you think about it, hockey and football have a lot in common. Sure there is no fighting in football but both are violent sports. If you want to attract fans in the U.S. why not go after NFL fans? But be smart about it by also protecting the stars of the game. The NFL has rules to protect quarterbacks who are sitting ducks in the pocket with 300 lb linemen charging at you. The NHL has to be creative about controlling the violence so that they don't lose their stars. Most teams only have 2 or 3 stars that are irreplaceable. However, they aren't the 4th line energy players. So what's wrong with letting them drop their gloves? The paying customers seem to like it.