N.H.L. Fighters Enforcers or Goons
As the NHL tries to get fighting out of it’s sport, the role of the enforcer is irrelevant now it’s just goons or acts of goonism. For me personally fighting is part of the sport it helps keep the goons in line. The enforcer guys aren’t barbaric animals as many of you might portray them as but the goons are. The enforcers do have a code on how to do things. The unwritten rules of fighting. You don’t jump someone from behind or sucker punch them, you look them in the eye and ask, “Do you wanna go” if yes you drop the gloves and go. Another rule they have is stop punching when a player is down. Most enforcers realize that they have a tough job to do, and are not out to hurt their opponent, just to protect their teammate.
I feel as they are taking fighting out of the game, you see more players taking cheap shots at their opponents more often now hence the goons. Crossing the line between enforcer and goon. Remember Matt Cooke of the Pittsburgh Penguins hit on Marc Savard of the Boston Bruins on May 7, 2010. I use that term hit loosely as it was an elbow to the head. Matt Cooke isn’t the only one, let’s take a look at some of the dirtiest cheap shots in NHL history. The concussion Marc Savard received from that hit ultimately lead to his retirement.
Raffi Torres Cheap Shot Artist
Raffi Torres of the San Jose Sharks’ hit in a preseason game in 2015, as he left his feet to target the head of Jakob Silfverberg of the Anaheim Ducks. Jakob wasn’t the only guy who he’s done this too. On April 16, 2012 he hit Marian Hossa during the playoffs with a cheap shot. The first hit on Silfverberg resulted in a 41 game suspension. The hit on Hossa of the Chicago Blackhawks got Torres a 25 game suspension. Torres throughout his NHL career was suspended four times for a total of 74 games which is almost a full year in hockey as they play 82 games.
Marty McSorley Swinging High
I’ll never forget the incident that led to the suspension of Marty McSorley of the Bruins. He took a stick to the side of the head to Donald Brashear of the Vancouver Canucks on February 21, 2000. Canucks forward Markus Naslund said after that game “It made me sick to my stomach, I’ve never seen anything like that in my life”. So the 23 games McSorley served as a suspension was the last 23 games of the season. McSorley was brought up on criminal charges for this incident and was found guilty by Judge William Kitchen. However Kitchen declined to send McSorley to jail. Instead the judge ordered McSorley to 18 months probation.
Dino Faces the Judge, Trial and Jury
Dino Ciccarelli on January 6, 1988, Dino was on the Minnesota North Stars and they took on the Toronto Maple Leafs. Dino felt that rookie defenseman Luke Richardson was cross-checking him all game. When Dino decided to take matters into his own hands. With the puck along the boards Dino took this opportunity and cross-checked Richardson in the neck and head. What pursued next was just ugly. Dino continued to swing his stick at Richardson which he connected to his helmet and swung a third time which fortunately missed. In the days to come there was an arrest warrant out for Ciccarelli and a trail to come.
Toronto Judge, Sidney Harris said at the ruling “It is time now that a message go out from the courts that violence in a hockey game or in any other circumstances is not acceptable in our society,”. The judge ordered Dino to one day in jail and a $1,000 fine. I believe this has been the only time that an on ice incident has resulted in jail time. Because these actions, the league suspended Ciccarelli for 10 games.
Hunter takes aim and finds his mark
April 28, 1993 was probably one of the worst actions I’ve seen by a player. It was Game 6 of then Patrick division semifinals when Dale Hunter took out a defenseless, Pierre Turgeon. Because this hit was completely uncalled for as Pierre Turgeon had just scored a goal. The goal was scored on a bad pass by Hunter that led to Turgeon walking in on goalie Don Beaupre and beating him with a shot. As Turgeon raised his hand to celebrate the goal. Hunter tracked him down from behind and took him out with a hit. That hit resulted in a separated shoulder for Turgeon. With that goal put his team up 5-1 in the game so they would go on to win and end the Capitals season.
For Hunter he received a 21 game suspension which was unheard of at the time and a $150,000 fine. Because new hockey commissioner Gary Bettman wanted this to be a lesson. So the fine was more than the complete total of fines handed out in that 1992-93 season. So just to give you an idea of the severity of it.