PHT readers poll: Enforcers losing relevance

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throwingknuckles.jpgMy opinion is that the enforcer is going the way of the dodo. I’m not necessarily celebrating their extinction; it just seems obvious to me that in a speed-and-skill-fueled NHL, knuckedraggers are unnecessary. With that thought – and the struggles of Derek Boogaard, Georges Laraque and Donald Brashear in mind as well – I asked PHT readers if enforcers really help teams win hockey games.

Check out the poll results below (click to enlarge).

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I admit that the question was a bit too simplistic, but the goal was to see if readers found enforcers important. Here is a more worthwhile comparison, though. Thanks to the always vital Hockeyfights.com, I was able to look at the league’s fighting major leaders in the regular season and playoffs.

First, the top 5 in fighting majors during the 2009-10 season.

1. Zenon Konopka – 33
2 (tied). Ian Laperriere – 25
Brandon Prust – 25
4. Matt Carkner – 24
5. Colton Orr – 23

Now, let’s take a look at the top fighters during the playoffs.

1. Justin Abdelkader – 2
17 players tied with one fight.

OK, I admit, the regular season is much longer than the postseason. Obviously, there are more opportunities for fights with 30 teams playing 82 games. Still, the difference is striking. I mean, every player on that top 5 regular season list fought more times than the entire NHL in the playoffs.

Naturally, the stakes are higher in playoff games so players don’t want to risk suspensions or instigator penalties. Still, it’s interesting that the playoffs put up all those great numbers without thuggish behavior. I’m not a part of the “take fighting out of hockey” club, but I don’t need knuckles thrown to enjoy hockey. Sometimes, the threat of violence is helpful in deterring too many shenanigans (uh oh, I’m not going into “nuclear weapons maintain peace” talk, am I?).

That being said, I wonder if the typical fighters will need to be able to skate (maybe even score) a bit to remain relevant in the NHL going forward. I, for one, think it’s a good thing.

Despite tough fight, Stars hand Wild their sixth straight loss

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The Minnesota Wild put together the kind of effort that would beat a lot of NHL teams on Tuesday. Unfortunately for that beleaguered group, it wasn’t enough to edge the Dallas Stars.

Despite generating 40 shots on goal and generating 1-0 and 2-1 leads, the Wild lost to the Stars 4-3 in overtime. With that, they’ve lost six straight games.

(The view doesn’t get much prettier if you pull away a little further, either, as Minnesota’s only won once in the last month, going 1-9-2 in their last 12.)

Ultimately, the Stars’ big guns were too powerful. Tyler Seguin generated two assists and so did Jamie Benn, who set up John Klingberg‘s overtime game-winning goal.

Again, the effort sure seemed to be there for the Wild, even if they’re far beyond the point of accepting moral victories.

As frustrating as this must be, Minnesota’s not that far from a playoff spot. Still, it has to sting to see “Close, but not good enough” as a prevailing theme as of late.

Royal beating: Lucic, Kings crush Bruins 9-2

As Boston Bruins' Patrice Bergeron (37) looks on Los Angeles Kings' Milan Lucic waves to the crowd after a tribute to him was played on the screen during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Boston Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)
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The Boston Bruins welcomed Milan Lucic back on Tuesday. Maybe they shouldn’t have extended such a warm welcome to the Los Angeles Kings overall, however.

You won’t see many games as lopsided as this one, at least in 2015-16, as the Kings walloped the Bruins by a humbling score of 9-2.

Lucic wasn’t just there, either, as he scored a goal and an assist in his quite triumphant return to Boston.

Tuukka Rask had a short night in Boston’s net, yet it wasn’t as if Jonas Gustavsson enjoyed his time. It was a pretty sound beating by all accounts.

This dominant win is a heck of a way for the Kings to begin an imposing seven-game road trip, which continues against the New York Islanders on Thursday. The Bruins probably want to burn the tape on this one themselves, as they’re about to head on a six-game road trip.

Video: Evander Kane believes he won his fights vs. Alex Petrovic

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The Florida Panthers are beating up the Buffalo Sabres where it counts – on the scoreboard – but Evander Kane was happy to highlight his perceived victories in a couple bouts.

Buffalo’s power forward fought Alex Petrovic twice on Tuesday, and Kane wasn’t shy about holding up a “2-0.”

You can watch the second fight above, and the first one below, via Hockey Fights by way of MSG:

This GIF might just say it all, really:

Update: Apparently they fought again moments after this post went up.

Probably safe to call it a rivalry between the two, right?

The Panthers ultimately won 7-4.

Fight video: Yes, a visor-breaking punch

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Some hockey players resist the urge to wear a visor, at least if they’re given that choice.

Perhaps a few will say “Hey, Nathan Beaulieu will just punch it off anyway.”

Maybe not, but Beaulieu provided a rather unique moment in his fight with Cedric Paquette during the Montreal Canadiens – Tampa Bay Lightning game. You can watch that bout in the video above, and see a cut on the Lightning pest’s face from that blow.

Want it in GIF form? OK then: