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No Goons Needed In Detroit

from Nicholas J. Cotsonika of Yahoo,

“Am I concerned going to the East?” Holland said. “Would I like to have a big, tough guy in the middle of the lineup? Yeah. But I haven’t really bought into having fourth-line guys that don’t have much skill and are one-dimensional players. I guess I put more of a premium on goals.”

There is no debate that many fans like fighting. There is no debate that fighting can intimidate and play a role in team toughness. There is no debate that there are different ways to build a successful organization.

But do you need fighting to sell the game to hardcore hockey people? Do you need it to win? Does it necessarily protect your skilled players? No. It can even be counterproductive....

The Joe rocks like anyplace else for a fight. Some of the most popular Wings have been guys who could punch – Bob Probert, Darren McCarty, Brendan Shanahan – and a couple of the most memorable moments in Wings history were line brawls against the blood rival Colorado Avalanche.

Yet the Wings have hardly dropped the gloves over the last couple of decades, the Joe has been sold out for virtually all of that time, and the fans have embraced peaceful, graceful players like Nicklas Lidstrom, Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg, too.


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perfection's avatar

i think Ozzie put it best in the last broadcast… the question isn’t how will the Wings adapt to the new division, but rather how will the new division adapt to the Wings?

because if they don’t, they are simply going to get stomped. because i dare you to try and line up a goon against Pav. The guy will be twisted into a pretzel and the puck in the net before his first glove hits the ice. No team is that dumb.

And the other thing - the only reason a guy like Scott gets lined up against a guy like Kessel in the first place is retribution for earlier violence. As the article points out, if you don’t cross those lines in the first place, you tend to not face the retribution. Both teams are too concerned with winning.

I also think Bertuzzi is the unspoken X factor. He’s scarier than most goons because of… you know. Plus, his skill has allowed him to play to the point where his face is a lot more mangled than most goons because they just don’t last as long. He is scary.

Posted by perfection from LaLaLand on 09/24/13 at 07:32 PM ET

DocF's avatar

Agreed, the Red Wings do not need a goon.  They have a couple of skilled players who can fight if need be.  I would not want to fight Bertuzzi, for sure.  And do not forget, the one fight that Pavel Datsuyk had he won.

Posted by DocF from Now: Lynn Haven, FL; was Reidsville, NC on 09/24/13 at 09:20 PM ET

Nathan's avatar

Some of the most popular Wings have been guys who could punch – Bob Probert, Darren McCarty, Brendan Shanahan – and a couple of the most memorable moments in Wings history were line brawls against the blood rival Colorado Avalanche.

And the point that is implicitly buried in this sentence is the one that all the mouth-breather fans that, without fail, call into talk radio every April/May since the dawn of time to demand Ken Holland trade for an enforcer, just don’t see.

Probert was a good enough hockey player to ride shotgun with skilled guys on a scoring line and find himself some points along the way.

McCarty was a good enough skater and smart enough positionally to contribute to the most dominant checking line in the post-lockout (1995 edition) era. Oh yeah, and his hands were soft enough to carry the puck up ice and get himself on the score sheet once a week.

And Shanahan… I think it goes without saying. The fact that the guy could throw ‘em was way down on the list. His goal scoring alone makes him a no-doubt HOFer.

So of course… no shit—every team wants a player like one of those three guys, regardless of their division or conference, because they’re BOTH tough-as-nails and really good hockey players.

How many guys in the game fit that mold any more? Lucic is literally the only one that immediately jumps out at me.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 09/25/13 at 09:04 AM ET

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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.