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Is it time to bring back a pure enforcer to the Canucks line up

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Should the NHL bring back the pure enforcer   

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Posted (edited)

I think some CDCers don't understand the difference between an enforcer and a goon.   Enforcers were guys that could play the game AND fight.   Wilson is a decent example (but doesn't follow the code well...not that Gino did all the time either pretty close to it though) ... Reeve's, Martin are borderline.    Guys like Domi, Probert, Williams, Shultz, Manson (Dave), even Semenko early on they could play a shift and not hurt the team.    When Probert joined CHI Roenick said "it makes everyone on the bench feel two feet taller"... interesting fact, when Probert went to the all-star game it wasn't Gretzky or Mario the stars of the game flocked to with starry eyed idol worship, they all wanted to meet and hand out with Big Bob.    The players themselves loved these guys. 

 

Expansion in the 90's and diluted talent, and because at the time the players were bigger and meaner then ever, brought in a different type of enforcer, the ones who only play 4-5 minutes a game.   Probert played 20 in Detroit.   Actually one heck of a hockey player.   Gino was close to a goon.   Even Brashear could play 10 minutes - actually a really good skater, and Domi too (usually near the top of the leaderboard in both minutes played and points, a constant battering ram)...the arrival of the goon created an arms race that eventually spiralled out of control. 

 

Laraque could play the game too.  As could Chris Simon.   Sure there were a few 4-5 minute guys in the 80's ... but they didn't last long for the most part unless they just won all their fights.   The league needs these guys back, or at least our team does.   But not the Twists,  Parker's, Worrel's of the world.   It also needs actual power forwards again. 

Edited by IBatch
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Posted (edited)
On 5/9/2021 at 3:03 PM, oldnews said:

Whatever.   "Enforcers" are human beings - many of whom had their quality of life ruined (if you actually take the time to listen to the many former 'enforcers' / players who have stated their experiences publicly).

 

And the whole "entertainment business" angle - save it for the WWF/WWE.

 

You're speaking for what you assume to be a prevailing interest - that might reflect existing fans of the game, and probably previous demographics - but that's now where you expand your market - you expand markets into untapped fanbases - which can't be precooked, or spoken for with sweeping one-liner reductions/assumption.

 

You're making an assumption that the majority of people want to see fist fighting in the NHL - but if you were to survey cross-sections of the populations of the countries in the world where you're hoping to extend the scope of the 'entertainment product' - the results aren't obvious/easy to speak for beforehand - for all you know the NHL could be losing potential new fans because of the perception that it's an outdated, distasteful aspect of the game.   You don't market/expand the game _or any product - based on presumptive whims - any real corporate interest would require/conduct an actual, real-world widespread survey of 'consumer' interest that you aren't qualified to speak for.   And beyond that, there's the ethical question of whether the impact on the players is worth the 'entertainment' value.  The game is about putting pucks behind the opponent's goaltender - like football, basketball, etc - that doesn't depend on punching players in the face - that is a side aspect / sideshow that is not essential to the game no matter how old school our perspective. 

 

Don't mistake/misrepresent any of that for not wanting more toughness that can play in the lineup.  I think there's room - and has been for some time - for more 'pushback' from this team - but a traditional "enforcer" is not the answer.

Well all i can say, as a fan of hockey, it's lost a lot of it's heart and soul the past decade.    Bordering on women's hockey - which is still great hockey, but it's an unfortunate trend.   I wasn't much of a fan of the way things went in the 2000's either (goons on every team, gearing up for their 20-30 fights a season).   They don't have any place in the game and really never should have (goons).   I've watched several documentaries on the subject and they are insightful.   Belak, Rypien and Boogard was a deserved back eye on how the sport went too far and weren't protecting the players that protected their teammates.   Most enforcers loved their job and knew what kept them in the NHL...it does take a toll of course but they wouldn't change a thing.   Paid handsomely for their efforts. 

 

The best balance i saw was the 70's-1998ish ... when the Parker's, Worrels,  Big Mac - the 4-5 minute guys started popping up in droves.   Before that most of these guys could play a hard hitting energy game on the fourth line and not hurt their teams.   Plus the league was full of guys like Lindros, Shanny, Roberts, Tocchet, Neely, Kevin Stevens, Scoff Stevens, Dave Manson etc - power forwards and big tough defenseman that could also fight.   It was hockey at its best (80-95ish), talent levels at an all time high, and space for an enforcer or two on each team. 

 

The way they've used the instigator penalty against us this year it's pretty clear to me the league is further trying to stamp out this part of the game.   Both calls would never have been made even five years ago - the instigator used to only be called if one player wasn't a willing combatant.     
 

The game itself is violent, and aside from hand injuries, the vast majority of fights doesn't cause a bad injury.   Unlike cheap shots that can and often do.   That's been a debate for 3-4 decades now.   The players themselves love these guys, it empowers them and improves their production - that's been well documented.    And the anthropology of human groups includes a warrior enforcer class, every group has one or two  - take them out and chaos often ensues (Ice Gaurdians touches on this). A lot of these folks become police or armed forces their desire to protect is inherent or learned or something.   Moms and Dads do it in a family unit and sometimes their kids also play a role.  Most everyone does it from time to time, but these folks are wired to do it. 
 

Enforcing has a lot more to do then just fighting and detterence, it's also about keeping the code in place and passing it down to the next generation.    It's no shock to me now that four lines are rolled again, that not many players even know how to stick up for themselves, for decades now a big brother used to be there for them.  Before expansion every single player including the stars, were expected to earn their own respect and stick up for themselves.   Now it's the refs doing that job.    What a bad job they do, just like always.  

 

And from an entertainment aspect, have to go with Arrow on this one, it's way more entertaining.   Probert vs Domi was front page news on the New York times - the whole NHL was buzzing for weeks leading up to it - like a prize fight and in a way that's exactly what it was (Probert of course got his belt back lol).    Pretty sure, like everyone i know who has watched old time hockey up to now, that it wouldn't offend people nearly as much as excite them.    Even to this day, fans stand up for goals and fights.   Not shots on net, but excellent saves or a cool deke.   Two things. 

 

Edit:  And as far as player safety goes, when was the last fight you've seen that's gone on for more then a dozen or so seconds?  The linesman are in there right away. 

Edited by IBatch
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Much rather have a Probert or Williams or Semenko then a Vessey or Haryluk or whomever.   Someone to provide a spark when needed with a big hit or fight..and someone to keep EP playing more then 60 games a season. 

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