NASHVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 15: Cam Janssen #25 of the New Jersey Devils fights Brian McGrattan #23 of the Nashville Predators at the Bridgestone Arena on October 15, 2011 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
Last night's mess involving New Jersey's Cam Janssen and his moronic (and at times homophobic) interview with a St. Louis show has brought on the anti-goon crowd from all corners. I've long complained about the presence of fighting specialists on NHL rosters, but it's not so much about being anti-fighting as it is just wanting to see the best possible players on the ice. All too often, the scrappers just can't play at the NHL level. It wasn't always like that, however.
I was reminded of this earlier this week while I was laid up with a bum ankle. I finally caught "Goon", the latest entry in the hockey movie genre, and while the plot & action cross over into the absurd on many occasions, there's an interesting contrast between Doug Glatt, the young protagonist who stumbles (literally) his way into minor-league stardom as a slugger, and Ross Rhea, the grizzled veteran who is playing out the string on his career.
Rhea, to me, represents the great enforcers of the 80's and 90's that I fondly remember, guys like Bob Probert, Rick Tocchet, or Kevin Stevens, terrors who could play the game at the highest level AND intimidate their opponents, too. In the movie, Rhea dishes out big hits which create turnovers, and causes opposing forwards to duck out of the way rather than face his wrath. He makes a tangible difference in the game. Glatt, on the other hand, can barely stand on his skates, and does little more than drop the gloves when called upon, to the delight of teammates and fans. As a hockey player, he's useless.
The Ross Rhea-types are becoming increasingly rare in today's NHL. I can think of Milan Lucic in Boston, but can you think of many more? Why is it that they've pretty much disappeared from the league?
Our afternoon hockey notes have much more on Janssen, including his apology for last night...
Nashville Predators News
Electing for Arbitration: What is Sergei Kostitsyn Worth? | The Predatorial
Two of the four comparisons made here wouldn't count in arbitration, because the players (Chris Higgins and Steve Sullivan) were UFA's when they signed their deals. It will be interesting to see how big of a commitment the Preds want to make to SK74, however.
2012-13 Nashville Predators Ice Girls- Nashville Predators
Congrats to this year's squad, which will have 5 rookies and 8 returning members. This serves as a good time to look back at our post from a couple years ago on Harlow Salon, which services both the Ice Girls and the Nashville Predators Dancers.
Around the Wide Wide World of Hockey
Shane Doan reportedly offered 4-year, $30 million deal: Flyers aren't this crazy ... right? - Broad Street Hockey
Welp, forget about him coming here.
On Goons, Stars, and Misplaced Priorities | Backhand Shelf
E pulls Janssen's sweater over his head and hammers away.
The advanced stats of ‘goons’ | Backhand Shelf
Cam Janssen stinks on ice.
On playing with fear, and why "goons" still exist in hockey today | Backhand Shelf
Meanwhile, Justin Bourne takes up for the bangers. A hitter and a heavyweight fighter are entirely different, however. Many enforcers don't get the chance to throw big hits because they simple can't catch their opponents.
Peter Mueller signs with Florida. Avalanche may regret that - Denver Post
Adrian Dater sees a hole on the left wing in Colorado, and wonders why the Avs let Mueller go for nothing.