Every year a new crop of knuckle-chucking lads arrives in the NHL, wet behind the ears and anxious to let 'em fly. This season, an especially well-stocked batallion of youthful yahoos is making a strong statement to the league's established enforcers. Leading the way is Nashville grill-shaker Patrick Cote, whose 16 fighting majors ties him for the league lead with Colorado's diminutive Jeff Odgers. The 6-3 Cote has served up heaping doses of fistic frappé to whoever has placed an order. A quick peek at Cote's list of opponents reads like a roll call of the NHL's most feared fighters: Stu Grimson (three times), Bob Probert (twice), and Tony Twist (also three times), to name a ferocious few. Boffo brawler Peter Worrell of Florida is one more renegade rookie. Another tall drink of water at 6-6, Worrell has quickly earned a reputation around the league's locker rooms as a loose cannon who'll toe the line any time, any place, as his 12 fighting majors prove. Ultimately, the baddest of the bunch may prove to be Colorado crusher Scott Parker, a 20-year-young behemoth who, at 6-4, 220, resembles a human eclipse.
Opponents of fighting cite that international and college hockey, which both harshly penalize fighting with suspensions, lack the incidents or "stick work" violence proponents claim to fear, and questionwhat it is about North American professional ice hockey players — unique to major professional team sport — that renders them incapable of controlling themselves on the ice without fighting.
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