I highly doubt it.
Wisniewski is a guy that can score a lot of points from the blueline. He's overpaid, but guys like him will always have a place in the game because he's a good player. Downie is an ******* and a dirty player, but he spent time on Tampa's top 2 lines last season, and put up good numbers. Cooke is a well liked guy in the Pens lockerroom. These players will always be around whether they get suspended a lot or not, because they are important to the team when in the lineup.
As for pure enforcers, they'll be around as long as fighting is allowed in hockey and as long as they're paid cheaply. I want the NHL to be more physical than their European hockey counterparts. That's one of the things that makes me love hockey. I like seeing pure goons fight. What I don't like is people like Ruutu, Cooke, Tootoo, etc. but those players won't ever disappear as long as they can contribute something else to their team. Now a guy like Shelley, I don't mind seeing get punished, because he's a pure goon but he's also a dirty player who has no business being out there.
What I really want to see is an elimination of both the instigator rule and the suspension for instigating at the end of games. Then maybe Wisniewski would have challenged Clutterbuck and not tried to take his head off. I think the instigator has resulted in many injuries that could have possibly been avoided. Of course you can still get injured in a fight, but when a guy is blindsided to the head, he has no chance of defending himself.
I don't mind seeing guys suspended for hits like the one Shelley threw. What i'm scared of is the overreaction of every single hard hit. I don't want the good, hard-hitting physicality of the game eliminated. I do want the hits from behind, especially, gone.
I agree with you on the instigator part, many injuries could have potentially been avoided, and you wouldn't have the surplus of mega-agitators (Cooke, Kaleta, Avery, Clutterbuck, Ott, Tootoo, etc.). Sure, there were agitators in the pre-instigator era.
As for Heaten's comment, "goons" being eliminated has nothing to do with the crackdown on blindside hits. Not sure where he got that from. Fact is, as long as the agitators can still contribute to the team in other ways, GMs will still give them contracts.
Edited by Bring Back The Bruise Bros, 27 September 2011 - 03:51 PM.