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.