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Fights are up this season, will they cool down?

by Bill Roose / Detroit Red Wings

Center Justin Abdelkader has engaged in one fight this season, going with Minnesota's Justin Falk in the third period of the Red Wings' 5-3 win on Jan. 25. (Photo by Dave Reginek)

DETROIT – Fighting is up in the NHL season, and it’s no different – though surprisingly so – for the Red Wings.

Through Tuesday night, there were 186 NHL games played and there have been 112 fights, which is up 26 fights from the same point last season.

Center Justin Abdelkader led the Wings with six fights in 2011-12. Agitator Jordin Tootoo already has four fights in 12 games, putting him on pace for 16 fights in a lockout shortened 48-game schedule.

Asked if he though the short season has caused some NHL players to have shorter wicks than usually, Abdelkader said, “Could be. Maybe that has something to do with it. Every game is important. That would be my guess as to the reason why.”

Last season, the Red Wings were involved in 15 fights, an average of one fight every 5.4 games played. Detroit has five fighting majors this season, meaning they average one fight every 2.4 games.

The increased numbers of fighting majors caught Abdelkader by surprise. But he believes tempers will cool as the season goes on.

“I think maybe the start of the season fluctuated the numbers a little bit,” said Abdelkader, who’s been in one fight this season. “Maybe you won’t see as much fighting as we go later into the season. But I think at the start, teams were sending messages.”

For those keeping score, Columbus forward Jared Boll leads the NHL with seven fights in 13 games. Brandon Prust of Montreal, B.J. Crombeen of Tampa Bay, and Rich Crune of Nashville have recorded five fights each.

Last season, Prust, then with the New York Rangers, led the league with 20 fights in 82 games.

Follow Bill Roose on Twitter | @Bill_Roose

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