If there were a correlation between size, fighting, hitting, and winning then the biggest team with the most hits and fights would win the Cup almost every year. That doesn't happen. Wanna know what does have a high correlation to winning? Special teams, and goal differential. So when I say I'd rather have a good powerplay than George Parros or Colton Orr or some other garbage enforcer, it's actually supported by something other than whimsy.
Where did anyone say that an enforcer=championships? What an enforcer does equal, though, is less after-the-whistle abuse (which certainly doesn't hurt a teams chances), and maybe a little less of this "Pink Wings" bs, that for anyone who grew up watching the Bruise Bros. or the great 90's Detroit rivalries has a hard time listening to. The in-game stuff is always going to happen, and you can't prevent hitting; this is a physical game. But the extracurricular stuff and some of the targeting can be curtailed simply by having a player or two that can do the same stuff to the other team. Basically, you target one of our stars, two things can happen: 1) You fight. Or 2) Your stars get targeted. Simple as that. That has been the way things have been done in the NHL for quite a long time. Nothing has changed, only the Red Wings have, and not for the better.
I remember a game against Columbus where Boll was running all over the place. Brad May dropped the gloves with him and Boll was mostly silent for the rest of the game. Or what about the Laperriere hit on Lidstrom. You could use that as an example of how even having an enforcer in the line-up does not prevent your stars from getting hurt, but just imagine if we didn't have Downey in the line-up that game. Laperriere does not get embarrassed, TWICE, and that hit basically goes unpunished, making the hit sting even worse, at least to the fans. And I don't remember Downey (or Drake, and later McCarty) exactly hurting Detroit's chances that season ... didn't Detroit win the Stanley Cup that season??? As a matter of fact, name me the last time Detroit, or any team, for that matter, has won a Stanley Cup without at least a part-time enforcer in the line-up. You could make a case for The '06 Hurricanes? Boulerice only played 26 games, but that was still a pretty tough team. Outside of them, I can't think of another team in the last 30-40 years that played a significant portion of the regular season without an enforcer. The '92-93 Canadian?
As long as there is hitting and fighting in the game, there is a role for an enforcer ... if you know what's good for you. At the very least, it brings a little peace of mind, for fans and players.
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