For the most part, NHL enforcers are walking dichotomies. On the ice, they’re fearsome – often huge – fighters and a general menace to anyone foolish enough to clobber a star player on their team. Yet many times you’ll find that they’re gentle giants when they’re not in their paid pugilist roles, whether they’re Ivy League products such as George Parros, tough-as-nails Canadian farm kids or vessels of comedy such as Paul Bissonnette.
Los Angeles Kings fighter Kevin Westgarth took a severe beating from gigantic Chicago Blackhawks defenseman John Scott last night, as you can see from the unanimous decision verdict at HockeyFights.com.
It really didn’t take long for Scott to bloody the face of Westgarth in a fight that was more than a little cringe-inducing. It seems like Westgarth might have suffered a broken nose from the altercation, but he took in stride. He was in good humor about the fight with Rich Hammond of Los Angeles Kings Insider.
Kevin Westgarth was still smiling this morning. Breathing? That too, although it might have been a little more difficult. Westgarth said he likely suffered a broken nose during last night’s fight with the city of Chicago’s only known mountain, John Scott. Scott measures in at 6-foot-8 and north of 250 pounds, so Westgarth knew what he was getting into when he dropped the gloves. After the game, Westgarth had a bandage on his nose, and he skated in practice today with a visor but said he would be ready to play tomorrow if Terry Murray put him in the lineup.
“I’m good for about one a year,” Westgarth joked of his bloodied nose.
There is a sense of honor among enforcers, so given the chance to gloat after the game, Scott instead praised Westgarth’s effort, telling Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune, “He’s a good fighter. He’s been around the block. I just got the better of him on this day. I’m sure we’ll fight again and see how it goes.”
Kings coach Murray was effusive in his praise of Westgarth for paying the price to pump his teammates. While fights are frequent events and thus rarely do much to affect a game, there are times when even a lost battle can turn into a rallying cry.
Either way, it’s hard not to like a guy like Westgarth, especially when it’s clear he can laugh at himself – even with a broken nose.