Saturday, March 19, 2016

Top Five New Jersey Devils Enforcers

I haven't been talking much hockey lately and I had an idea last night for a fun little column about the dying breed in a changing game-the enforcer.

That led to this idea about the top five Devils enforcers,but a few caveats before we begin.
One-this is a list of my favorite enforcers,not a bracket of who would win,if I ran an eight man tournament.(hmm,).

Two-Why not Scott Stevens?
Well,for all of the intimidating factors of Stevens and for as often as Stevens dropped the gloves,I don't like to rank a Hall of Famer as an enforcer.

So.......

1) Troy Crowder.
Troy Crowder only spent two years in the Red and Green,but his standup skills rank with the best ever and his destructive win over my all time favorite fist-thrower Bob Probert stamped him as one of the best ever on any particular night.
Crowder may not have been a Devil long enough to rank him tops on quantity,but quality certainly puts him in the running...


2) Krzysztof Oliwa.
The Polish Hammer spent three years as a Devil and it might have been the best three year run for a Devil enforcer ever.
Oliwa's size (6'5 245) made him tough to take down and his uppercut ranked with the best bangers in his time....


3) Mike Peluso
Peluso wasn't just an enforcer,he was a vital member of the CRASH line for the first Devils cup winner.
Peluso's biggest problem was that his balance wasn't always the best,but with the long hair flying with every punch thrown and taken,Peluso's fights always had a great visual effect.
Peluso is also the last NHL player to record 400 penalty minutes in a season,although that was before his Devils tenure.


4) Ken Daneyko
Mr.Devil was a solid,stay at home defenseman and not a one-dimensional performer,but he wasn't afraid to drop the gloves either,especially in his early years before the Devils became a playoff contender.
Daneyko makes the list for consistency,not for being among the elite battlers..


5) Randy McKay
McKay was among the best middleweights of his day and yet had a decent scoring touch around the net.
In the 90's-2000's,there were almost divisions and the middles delivered just as much action as the big bruisers.
McKay was also a CRASH line member and for a player that accumulated penalty minutes,McKay was strong on the plus-minus stat board..


Honorable Mention
David Clarkson-Would have been much more effective in McKay's day,similar style.
Jim McKenzie-Underrated heavyweight with lots of teams on his passport.
Cam Janssen-Didn't seem to win as many fights as others,but always tried hard....

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