When the New York Rangers spent a ton on Derek “The Boogeyman” Boogaard and the Philadelphia Flyers gave Jody Shelley more than a million per year, I remarked that the Atlantic division might be the “heavyweight” division. The Goon Blog did it one better, wondering if the division should be renamed the “Bob Probert division” considering all the enforcers/bruisers were added to an already stout group this summer. Here is what they wrote.
In a nod to recently passed Bob Probert, I think it fitting the Atlantic Division be renamed the Bob Probert Division. Here is the breakdown by team. New additions are bold.
NJ-PL3, David Clarkson
PITT-Eric Godard, Mike Rupp
PHI- Jody Shelley
NYR- Derek Boogaard, Brandon Prust
NYI- Trevor Gillies, Zenon Konopka
(“PL3” stands for the difficult-to-spell fighter Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond. You can understand the use of an acronym, though. Want to see him fight someone for three minutes? Click here.)
Let’s not forget that the Flyers have a time-honored tradition of goonery, either, although they might not see PIM-leader Dan Carcillo return thanks to restricted free agency and cap concerns. Either way, the division could very well be the NHL’s leaders in knuckle chucking.
To round things out, though, The Goon Blog also pointed out the other fighters in the East’s other two divisions. Here is a snippet about each.
First, a tidbit about the Northeast.
One of Bob Probert’s biggest rivals, or at least a guy he fought a lot, was Craig Berube. I have renamed the Northeast Division the Craig Berube Division. Some good tough guys here and a message to Buffalo, and Montreal. Add some toughness. Quick.
OTT- Matt Carkner, Chris Neil
BOS- Shawn Thornton, Jeremy Reich
TOR- Colton Orr, Jay Rosehill
That’s a substantial bunch right there, although the Atlantic might be tougher top-to-bottom. (Granted, I’m not expert on puck-based pugilism.)
Finally, here’s their take on the Southeast.
The Southeast Division will be renamed the Andre Nazarov Division. They need to get tougher if they want to hang with the true heavies, but have enough experience to win some every now and then.
ATL- Eric Boulton, Ben Eager
CAR- Tim Gleason
TBL- Mitch Fritz
Atlanta should dominate the division physically, as they have been reaping the rewards of the Chicago Blackhawks fire sale and have gotten better, and tougher. Carolina never really has a tough guy on the roster, but Tim Gleason can do the heavy lifting if needed. Mitch Fritz may be the worst skating NHLer ever.
Mitch Fritz? Really? He should fight with Byron Bitz, just for the sake of the pun-based headlines that would result.
Anyway, as you can see, the Eastern Conference added a lot of beef this summer. I wouldn’t say that enforcers really make much of a difference in today’s NHL, but clearly NHL GMs think differently.
(H/T to Puck Daddy)