Fighting will survive
Recently tsn hockey analyst Bob Mckenzie posted an article saying that soon enough goons will be an extinct species in the NHL.
http://www.tsn.ca/columnists/bob_mckenzie.aspHe uses Krystof Oliwa, resident New Jersey Devils goon, as the most recent example of this. For those of you who don’t know Krystof Oliwa was recently cut by the Devils for his lack of production and higher salary. He goes onto point out that the big fighters of the ’03-’04 season, Oliwa, Matt Johnson, Garrett Burnett and Doug Doull, are no longer in the league. And the reason is because they are one dimensional goons, and all they know how to do is fight.
Now I don’t necessarily agree with Bob Mckenzie. I can see why these players are falling victim to the new NHL, but I think these goons will be back sooner than Bob Mckenzie thinks. My reasoning behind this is, the new NHL has a renewed focus on interdivisional play. So that means more rivalries are going to be created, because when you face a team 6-8 times a season, with a lot of them being home at home and back to back games, tempers are bound to flair up.
Granted many tough guys are having trouble in the new NHL right now, and as Bob Mckenzie said “It’s not so much a revolution as it is evolution.” For the meantime goons will need to score or at least play hockey a little smarter than they are used to. But fighting will be back it will just take some time. Just like it took a few games for body checking to come back, and I know there were some fans that were worried that checking wouldn’t come back, and I’m starting to see quite a few decent clean open ice hits. This new NHL is different right now, all the things we loved about the old NHL will be back just give it some time, let’s be patient and enjoy the game.