check outcheck out Tigers Town - A Louisiana State University BlogTigers Town - A Louisiana State University Blog
SportsBlogNet - Your last stop for everything sports-relateda part of Sports Blog Net

The Definition of a Real Hockey Player

PhotobucketDion Phaneuf, Georges Laraque, Riley Cote, Donald Brashear. What comes to mind when you hear these names? I think of the biggest, meanest, most intimidating, most feared players in the National Hockey League. They are the best enforcers the NHL has to offer – protecting, defending, and ensuring their team is taken care of.

Since the days of the Original Six, toughness has always prevailed as a defining characteristic of hockey. This is a basic principle and premise upon which the game is built – fighting is essentially what hockey is made of. The raw passion that results in the bruises, scars, broken bones and missing teeth is what defines a hockey player, and if you couldn’t handle it, you simply didn’t play.

With the freak accidents that have recently occurred in the hockey world, fighting seems to have developed a less-than-positive rep (even more so than usual), and movements have been initiated for its removal altogether. But let’s be serious, the NHL will never be able to completely ban fighting, nor do I think they should. What about cheap shots, or even a clean check coming from a larger player to a smaller one? How do you determine who’s at fault, and who do you penalize? No matter what, some aspect of aggression will always be present. It comes with the territory as part of sport and competition, and is rooted in the days of the Roman Empire.

The aggression gets us excited, even the biggest skeptic would agree. At the very least, it provides the fans with entertainment. Take a look at the European hockey leagues – they’ve got players full of skill and speed, but they’ve never even come close to emulating the NHL. They’re missing the aggression and the passion: what some may call true “Canadian” style.

Every NHL team has at least one enforcer. Without these players, injury would be far more commonplace than it is now, and it would be the innocent ones getting picked on.

The enforcer has an important role: to allow the all-stars to perform. They provoke penalty opportunities from the opposing team, and instill a fear in them that can throw their game off – this is an absolutely necessary slot to have filled in the roster. Steve Yzerman’s Red Wings had Bob Probert, Crosby had Laraque last year and Godard this season, and Ovechkin has Brashear. Waynze Gretzky had Dave Semenko and Marty McSorely; he even refused to be part of a trade deal without McSorely.

A key component of a team’s chemistry lies within the enforcer. Even top-scoring all-stars such as Gordie Howe, Mark Messier, Vincent Lecavalier, and Jarome Iginla have all had their fair share of toss-ups. Fighting is what defines hockey, and if you take that away the game will be lost forever.

Share and Enjoy:

One Response to “The Definition of a Real Hockey Player”

  1. paul Says:

    hey tieja, what’s your phone number? i just went from 6 to midnight…

Leave a Reply