There has been a growing sentiment among Red Wings fans as of late. It started in the bowels of the internet (mlive and freep comment sections), a low grumble like the early warning signs after a few too many buffalo wings. Bits and pieces of discord, only unearthed after a particularly dirty play, or a string of losses. But then? Bursting forth from the loins of angry internetters like a premature baby while Mom is still driving down the freeway. It was in the safe zones where calls for barbarism had previously been shouted down, or even too ashamed to show its face in the first place.
I'm speaking(typing), of course, about the increasingly vocal section of Red Wings fans who think that liberties are taken against our players because we don't have a 250 pound goon of our own to "discourage" such attacks. We hear about how you can't get by as an Eastern Conference team without someone willing to throw down and scare off any potential wrong-doers.
I'm hear to show you just how correct this sentiment is.
First, let's take a gander at the Edmonton Oilers. They employ extreme tough guy Luke Gazdic. A 6'3 210# man of ten fights (ten!) and two points in 37 games this season. If five times the number of fights as points isn't at LEAST the base-line for what we need to be looking for, I don't know what is. Let's take a moment to show how Gazdic's presence on the Oilers' roster protects their star players. Specifically, Taylor Hall. For comparison, Hall has 39 points in 37 games.
That's Dale Weiss taking an illegal head shot at Hall, (Gazdic's teammate, for those waiting for the picture/pop-up book version). And sure, it was an ugly hit. But let's think about what Gazdic's presence might have PREVENTED. I mean, Weiss didn't skate onto the ice with a battle axe and lop off Taylor Halls head. That alone should solidify the place of the enforcer in the NHL. Beheadings would boost ratings with the HBO and Starz crowd certainly, but we would run out of players pretty quickly.
Next up, the New York Rangers. We'll ignore guys like Ryan Callahan, and get right to the real man on the team. Derek Dorsett. Now, I know what you might be thinking. Dorsett isn't a big guy. But he does love to throw down the gloves. He already has 9 fights this NHL season, and he's even chipped in a staggering 5 points. Nevermind the fact that he leads the league in PIM. You want a shit-stirrer(that's shit-disturber, for our Canadian readers, eh)? Well Derek is your guy. Let's go to the tape.
Sure, most of us love old Stuie around here, what's not to like? He's a big man who moves well, is strong in his zone, and was willing to play the rough parts of the game when we needed it. But it's hard to deny that this wasn't at least a LITTLE dirty. The forearm shiver is a sneaky easy way to add power to a hit in any sport, but to ride it up towards a player's head is, at the least, not very Lady Byng-like. Luckily, the Rangers have Dorsett. Otherwise Brad Stuart may have ripped Rick Nash's heart out and sacrificed it to the Aztec god Huehueteotl. Know what happened the last time a people were allowed to appease Huehueteotl? I'd tell you to ask the Mayans, BUT THEY LET THE AZTECS FEED HUEHUETEOTL HIS FILL OF HEARTS, AND WHERE ARE THEY NOW?
What we need is an enforcer who's not only mean, but BIG. Someone like Jared Boll. 6'3", 200+ pounds, and all about some fighting. He's there to protect Columbus's higher paid players, like Marian Gaborik and Jack Johnson. Someone who will make sure none of the New York sized, Matthew Barnaby-resembling rats of the Eastern Conference take liberties with his teamma-
Well, damn. It's almost like a shit-heel like Kaleta knows that taking a top-tier player out of the game in exchange for a couple of the punches to the face he gets paid to encourage(on the rare occasion immediate retribution for a certifiably dirty hit happens), is a pretty good trade-off for his team.
Cleary there's only one option remaining. Strap some skates on THIS GUY and dare Jared Cowen to fuck with Pavel Datsyuk. Forget legislating needless violence and douchebaggery out of the game, an arms race is the answer.