The Myth of the Enforcer

If you read tweets about the Habs-Leafs game lately, you would think that Leo Komarov killed P.K Subban on Wednesday. This is false. When Devante Smith-Pelly stepped up, he was applauded, as he should have been. What people didn’t see at first is that his move negated a Montreal powerplay. Additionally, from the ways fans responded, it seems like people think Montreal needs a tough guy or enforcer to protect against this. George Parros ring a bell anyone? Would having him on the team prevent what Komarov did? Hell no. With all due respect to Parros, he wasn’t a productive member of the team. I would have rather had a player who can contribute offensively so he could answer with his stick rather than his fists. The myth of “having a goon on the ice will make sure that we don’t receive cheapshots” is untrue. I’ll tell you what is true though, having a tough guy on the ice will do nothing to prevent the inevitable (just look at Raffi Torres).

When Marc Savard was taken out by notorious scumbag Matt Cooke, did his “Big Bad Bruins” (who would be the very definition of a team that would prove my point) goon it up and go after him? Did the Ottawa Senators go after the 2012 version of scumbag Cooke, when Erik Karlsson was taken out? No, they didn’t, because going after him after the fact is a moot point, and confronting goons like Cooke won’t change his ways. A cheapshot can come from anyone, it doesn’t have to be fighter. Although I was only little, what comes to mind is Daniel Alfredsson’s hit on then Leafs tough guy Darcy Tucker. Alfredsson was in his prime, a pure scorer, still made a dirty, scumbag-esque hit. You know how Toronto got back at Ottawa? They won the series. That is how you respond to cheapshots and goonery, hope that the officials make the right calls (not likely), and score on the man-advantage. Not give cheapshots back, and jeopardize your team’s ability to win.  

As for tonight, DSP, in my mind had good intentions, you see a member of your team at the end of a cheap shot, especially a star and leader of the team, you respond. However, that doesn’t mean go after a guy and negate a power play, which Montreal did have. Don’t get me wrong, DSP is a team player, but the way to get back at the opposition for a dirty hit is not after the whistle. The best revenge comes from a good, open ice hit, or even better, a goal scored. Smith-Pelly is trying to find a role on this team, and he has way too much talent to fall into that kind of role. Devante’s size and power forward style of play may make him adapt for that, but it isn’t needed. 

Just play the game, there is no need to fight fire with fire. What Montreal needs is goals, fight fire with goals. If last season is any indication, Montreal may be losing that fight.


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