What the Puck?
Remember the days when athletes could make careers out of fighting for a living?
No, I’m not talking about the beauties that duke it out inside the octagon, I’m talking about the hockey players who do nothing but dance at centre ice for millions of dollars a season.
In the days of old time hockey, National Hockey League tough guys like Dave Semenko and Marty McSorley made careers out of protecting Wayne Gretzky – he was an okay player, I guess – but you don’t really see that anymore.
Sure, there are still guys designated to fight on every team, but the role of a pure enforcer has taken a dramatic drop since the last lockout back in 2004-05, and continues to fall. This disturbing fact leaves me with one question: Where are all of the goon’s at?
Today, when a star goal-scorer gets hit, usually another member of their team still goes after the opposing perpetrator, but rarely does a true bloody fight break out anymore.
Instead of throwing haymakers, the two players often circle each other for a good two minutes before a punch is even thrown, then engage in a small amount of roughhousing, aka clutching each other before the refs step in.
Where is the old school Todd Bertuzzi when you need him? Oh right, that side of him got washed away with his tears when he apologized for ending Steve Moore’s career.
Some people will argue that every star player still has somewhat of a body guard on their team, but sadly that just isn’t the case anymore – no matter how much I would like to believe it.
Take Pittsburgh Penguins star forward, Sidney Crosby, for example. If the blindside hit from Washington Capitals forward, David Steckel, happened to Crosby in 1981 instead of 2011, Steckel would have been six feet under in less than two minutes.
Instead, no one even went after Steckel, because the Penguins don’t have a pure goon on their roster.
Apparently someone in the Penguins front office had the bright idea to use draft picks to get talent and skill instead of a dirty right hook. I’m looking at you, Ray Shero.
However, the Penguins did manage to pick up Steve MacIntyre in the off-season last year, but if this is the NHL’s prime example of an enforcer these days, than that’s just sad.
On the one hand I suppose MacIntyre has been able to survive in pro hockey by fighting and plotting the odd goal every now and then – to which he celebrates as if he has just won the million-dollar shootout – but he also only played 12 games in the NHL last year.
Fighting is on the decline in the NHL. The days of fans coming to games with signs that say “more blood” is a thing of the past; I already threw my sign in the garbage.
It pains me to say this, but Seann William Scott is more of a goon than any of the self-proclaimed tough guys currently in the NHL. I think I just threw up a bit thinking about that.