Friday, November 21, 2014

Enforcers in the NHL-A dying breed

I recently was talking with Rachel during a Devils game and she commented that the Devils didn't fight nearly as much as they used to.

That's true and all of the anti-fighting crowd should be happy that fighting has drastically decreased over the last two years.
The lovely Cherie has thought for years that fighting was not a need in the game and always complained about it.
Me? I rank Bob Probert among my favorite players ever and used to trade for fight tapes of my favorite bombers,so I was not a fighting snob.
I loved Devils fighters of the past like Krzystof Oliwa,Troy Crowder,Ken Daneyko and more.
The NHL was always an easy mark for columnists looking for a topic to bang some words out and were able to rant about the ills of the bouts with outrage.

The enforcers are slowly being weeded out of the game as the game evolves to more of a flowing,offensive and the liabilities of the enforcer are becomes more and more of an albatross that teams simply cannot afford to carry/
If you have a player that can defend himself and can perform at a level that the game demands,then the fighting is a bonus,but the less than skilled Darren Peters,Eric Boulton and Kris Barch types are being run out of the game because they simply cannot compete in the current game.
The skating and scoring simply overwhelm the the physicality and as a result-the enforcers are almost useless on even a fourth line with limited duty.
You can argue that is not as fun of a game to watch,but until someone is able to to be successful in a attempt to build a roster based on players that are able to whack around the skill players,the game is what it is for the time being.

I miss the fighting and I miss the action that physical play provides,however there is finally a good reason that fighting is a dying art and it has nothing to do with flow of play or the art of the game,
The main issue is one that is affecting other sports as well-brain issues.
Unlike boxing,the fights on the ice result in gloves being dropped,not being put on.
Hockey fights often are muddled,sloppy,grasping bouts,but the the danger is not always the bare fisted fighters-it's the ice from when they hit the ground.
Thick,frozen ice with no give can cause severe injury when heads hit the surface without any padding and from the force that is created from falling out of control.
Now that we are learning more about brain injuries,I can see the value of less fighting,although I still believe that the game suffers from losing it as the players now are able to cheap shot more and not pay a price for their dirty play,but if it means a better post-hockey life for the players-I can live without it.

Until then-there is always my old fight tapes as I transfer them to DVD.
Back tonight with the Cavaliers in Washington and (internet permitting) the Devils in Edmonton...

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