It is no secret that the NHL is phasing out the fighting portion of the game. The Carolina Hurricanes are built with that in mind.
The game has gotten quicker and there is less time for the slow-footed “goon”.
The Canes are not the only team to fill a roster with little to no fighting experience type players. Old-time hockey is not around a lot, but it is still in the back of the player’s minds.
And of course, this discussion comes after a particularly physical game Wednesday night against the Dallas Stars. To put things in perspective, the Canes are tied for last in the NHL with 3 fights.
The Philadelphia Flyers lead the NHL with 25 fights.
The NHL was sent a message by Brett Pesce to watch out for his left hook after landing a beauty on Luke Glendening.
Fights seem to start after a big hit, whether a dirty or legal hit is given. Whether you agree or not, the average NHL player feels the need to defend his teammate for a boost in the game.
But are teams more inclined to take a run at teams that do not have someone to answer the call? Better yet are the team’s star players vulnerable to stronger physical play?
The big boys must play the game of hockey first and not just line up at the face-off to discuss a gentleman’s duel.
Fighting is a result of physical play and when does hockey get the most physical? That’s right, the playoffs.
Things can get nasty in, a long playoff series after seeing the same opponents over and over with the Stanley Cup on the line.
Having a guy that can provide a threat, even from the press box, can help police or protect the top players on the squad.
All joking aside, Rod Brind’Amour would rather not see a player like Pesce dropping the gloves despite the showing of courage in Dallas.
The Canes have their fair share of guys that can get feisty and play physically but nothing that would be considered intimidating to the opposition. Other teams are not checking the Canes pre-game lineup to keep their head up.
Some teams will certainly test the toughness of this group and more importantly try to get the Hurricanes’ players off their game.
Dallas tried and the New York Islanders attempted to change the game after going down 2-0 early. It may not be a coincidence that after things got physical, the Islanders were able to get back into the game.
This is a deep roster in Carolina, but to have a guy that provides some toughness as an extra skater could be beneficial now, especially for the playoffs.
The Islanders are a team that has some interesting options in this category.
A player like Ross Johnston could be extremely valuable in the long run for the Canes. He provides intimidation with his size and history of successful fights.
Johnston does not get to see the ice or dress for that matter very often in New York. The Islanders seem to be slipping in the standings and Johnston could be made available for cheap.
Another option and thought process for Don Waddell heading closer to the trade deadline.