from Dave Lozo of NHL.com,
Ask a player, executive, fan or pundit about the NHL's instigator penalty and you're likely to receive a passionate opinion.
A form of the rule has existed as far back as 1937 -- "A Major penalty shall be imposed on any player who starts fisticuffs," the League's rule book read that year -- but it was before the start of the 1992-93 season that the instigator began changing and shaping the NHL that exists today.
"A player deemed to be the instigator of fisticuffs shall be assessed a Game Misconduct," became the official wording of the rule in 1992. It was most recently adjusted in 1996 to levy a two-minute minor, a five-minute major and a 10-minute misconduct to the guilty party. The rule was designed to curb fighting, which statistics show has steadily decreased during the past 20 years.
The instigator rule draws the ire of some players, the praise of others. It receives simultaneous credit for cleaning up ...