Monday, December 21, 2009

The NHL Enforcer

The Enforcer is unofficial role in the NHL. Other terms for this role are "tough guy" or "goon." Their job is to protect the star players. Enforcers are expected to respond violently to violence or dirty plays to star players. Typically they are just fourth line forwards that are given limited ice time and don't provide much offensive help. The role of the enforcer has diminished in this post lock-out era. The rules were changed so the game would be faster and allow more scoring. Teams have less of a need for enforcers although they still exist. Instead, the team as a whole is expected to defend each other. No doubt there are guys like Hal Gill and George Laraque hanging around. Vancouver has the secret weapon of Rick Rypien, standing at a mere 5 ft 11 in. He's been in many fights in his short NHL career and has taken on the role of David with a smile on his face. Although he's only recorded 7 pts in 41 career games, fans love him because he pummels guys that are a foot taller and weigh 40 lbs more than him. If you are looking for the new prototypical NHL Enforcer, look no further than Rick Rypien. He'll make you think twice about playing dirty.

Pest Control

Every team in the NHL has a guy or two that plays with grit and really gets into the oppositions head. The pest will do anything and everything to annoy, anger or distract the opposing players in order to bait them into bad penalties and reduce their effectiveness. Some of the tactics that they use are hooking, slashing and good old fashion trash talking. One of the premiere pests in the game, Sean Avery took this to a whole new level during last season's playoffs. Future Hall of Fame inductee Martin Brodeur was harassed by Avery as he stood just outside the crease and continually waved his stick in front of Brodeur's face. In light of this incident, league officials have made that tactic an offense. The NHL pest is an important part of the game. The league might slowly be trimming down the role of The Enforcer, but The Pest will always be there. Just like real life pests, these hockey players learn to adapt to the rules and find ways to annoy and even chip in timely goals. Here's my list of 5 notable NHL Pests:

1. Sean Avery
2. Alexandre Burrows
3. Jarkko Ruutu
4. Matt Cooke
5. Steve Ott

I played with a guy before and he took it to another level, even annoying the opposing team's girlfriends.

I wrote this article as a prelude to something that does not have anything to do with sports. I was getting ready for bed after catching the tail-end of Casino on Showcase when I hear a ruckus on my roof. Was it a would be robber attempting a late night heist? Unlikely, but I had to make sure. I woke up my cousin so we could investigate this matter. He tells me that there are two raccoons fighting on our turret. I grab a basketball and decide that I will throw it to scare them away. He warns me of their rabid nature and I have second thoughts. Looking out the window I see one on the turret, one right in front of me on the ledge and another outside my front door. It's a good thing I didn't go outside. The raccoon on the front steps would have probably attacked me causing me to fight back prompting both raccoons on the roof to come down and ravage me. I hope we don't have a raccoon problem. Damn pests.....

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Colin Campbell Campaign

Colin Campbell, the NHL's Senior Vice President and Director of Hockey Operations is most notably known for his role as it's principle disciplinarian. I've been keeping an eye on the suspensions that he's been handing out this season. There is an obvious double standard in this league as far as suspensions go. Goons who commit offenses are punished hard. Superstars who commit the same offenses are let go. I decided to try to figure out how Colin Campbell makes his decisions on suspensions and found this very helpful flowchart.

Last night, I watched a horrific accident in the Florida Panthers vs Atlanta Thrashers game. After the Trashers scored a goal, Panther's defenseman Keith Ballard took out his frustration on the hockey post. In his attempt to baseball swing his stick and break it on the posts, he inadvertently bashes his own goaltender (Vokoun) in the game. He probably won't be getting a suspension for this incident, but he really should. Colin Campbell should make an example of Ballard so no further incidents like this occur again. Well here's a video of it: