I can agree with most of this- an enforcer isn't needed to win. However, this doesn't address the real issue. If the Wings had always carried an enforcer as the 13th forward- playing ~50 games a season- would the Wings have been any less successful?
It boggles my mind to see Red Wings fans who still think enforcers are needed. For pretty much the past 20 years, the Wings have been at or near the bottom of the league in fighting majors (dead last every year since the lockout) and still been the most successful team in the league.
Even allowing that fighting is a valuable ability for a team to have, it is painfully obvious that the lack of it can be compensated for in other areas. Instead, the pro-enforcer crowd just overstates the value of whatever 'enforcer' we've had in the past, even though they probably spent the whole year complaining about how soft we were.
People talk about the 96-98 teams like they were some great monument to team toughness, but the reality is they still rarely fought and were considered 'soft' compared to most of the league. McCarty was never so tough that he scared anyone. People who spent all of 08 whining about how soft we were now talk about Drake like he was one of the great all-time fighters.
This year will likely be no different than any other. We'll have a handful of fights. People will cry about how soft we are, blame every minor injury on our lack of fighters. If we aren't successful it will be because we weren't tough enough. But if we happen to win a Cup, it will be because of great enforcing from Bert and Abby or whoever happens to have a couple fights during the year.
The simple fact is that any deficiency can be overcome by enough strength in other areas. A strong defense can make up for a weaker offense or sub-par goaltending. A strong offense can offset a less than stellar defense. Great depth can overcome injuries or below average play from your stars. Dominant stars can compensate for a lack of depth. There isn't any one thing that is an absolute must have.
It's the general level of team talent, coaching and system, great effort, and a bit of luck that wins Cups. We have the talent, coaching, and system, despite any specific weaknesses we might have. All we really need now is the effort and luck.
- F.Michael likes this