For today, I have a special treat for all of you. You know how in Spanish class, sometimes the teacher would just turn off the lights and show "Top Gun" dubbed in Spanish because poor Mr. Phelps had a hangover? Well, no such luck today--all English for this video. Also, no hangover.
It's about the Enforcer, which is a role that many players have held for the Stars in the past. This year? It would have been tough to imagine Matthew Barnaby, Jake Dowell or Eric Godard (that almost happened, you may recall) on a roster like this one, blocking Horcoff or Fiddler or McKenzie or even Travis Moen from lacing up their skates. And while some people might think that just fighting and being loathed a la Steve Ott or a certain French player should suffice to earn one the Enforcer moniker, I think we both know that these players are not the Bob Proberts of our day. Those are the Colton Orrs, the Brian McGrattans, and the Paul Bissonnettes. I don't know why I'm pluralizing all of them, as none of them have shadow forms or doppelgangers that I know of. Anyway, check out this video:
I really appreciate the perspective it gives you from the players' side. Yes, a lot of these guys are falling upon hard times now because they can't contribute; if you're an NHL GM, you really don't have any choice but to move on and do what it takes to assemble the most competitive roster you can. If other teams aren't going to handicap themselves this way, then you can ill-afford to do so.
As fans, though? I really do understand the appeal of the "tough guy" image. It's true what they talk about up there in those moving pictures: fans love those guys, and they are usually one of the first names they learn. Unfortunately for the Enforcer (or fortunately for his family), the combination of brain research and known concussion effects has hastened the role's erosion, and there's really no doubt that we're only a year or two from never seeing a Parros-type player in the lineup again. Or, say, a Krys Barch:
Can you really watch this in good conscience, just knowing that the force from those punches is being dispersed throughout the skull (and contents thereof) of the punch's recipient? We're not innocent anymore, and while it's tough that people who made their living this way are suddenly without big-league jobs, I think you'd be hard-pressed to say that the sport isn't better off as a result. Character does not have to be wrapped up in violence, after all. I mean, come on: there are fans throwing hamburgers on the ice this season. These crowds are just begging for something to hold on to; a little bit of character that doesn't come along with willful brain injury shouldn't be that hard to dig up, should it?
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The highlights from the Texas Stars' OT win against San Antonio are now up. Come watch all your favorite little buddies playing professional hockey way better than almost anyone else in the world! [YouTube]
What happens when you choose not to draft Jamie Benn in your fantasy hockey league? Well, you apparently have to stand on a streetcorner and hold a sign and wear a dress, if you are this guy. [DMN]
You know that dumb "two faceoff violations and you're penalized" rule? Well, Ottawa actually got called for it last night, because it is the playoffs and the rules are much stricter now. Am I doing this right? Also the crowd's reaction is pretty great. [Pro Hockey Talk]
The good news: the Jets didn't blow a 3rd-period lead last night. Bad news: the Thrashers/Jets still have not won a playoff game. So much for that series. Who would have thought that Ondrej Pavelec would collapse just when you needed him? Besides everyone, I mean. [NHL]
Ottawa finally had something to cheer about last night, winning 1-0 to avoid a sweep in front of their home fans. [NHL Video]
The Penguins are also at 3-1 in the series now after dominating New York early, but only ever scoring once en route to a 2-1 OT loss. [NHL]
Your Selke nominees are Bergeron, Kopitar and Toews. Yawn, probable Bergeron because Bergeron and FACEOFF % ZOUNDS!! [CBC]
You should also check out Daniel Carcillo's piece (and video) on the loss of Steve Montador, and how it affected him. Very heavy and good stuff here. [Player's Tribune]
Finally, here is Emerson Etem making everyone on the Jets look silly, then scoring a fifty-foot (ish) backhand on Pavelec. Whoops. At least it was loud, though!