Demoted enforcer admits “the game has changed”

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Colton Orr wants to prove he’s more than just a fighter. The 29-year-old who was put on waivers and sent down to the Maple Leafs’ AHL team this week is hoping to use his stint in the minors to get back into game shape and develop the kind of hockey skills that don’t involve punching people in the face.

“The game’s evolving and changing, so you kind of have to go with it,” Orr said today, as per the Toronto Star. “I’m never going to give up. I’m going to keep working and do what it takes…and see where it goes.

“There’s still room for power forwards, checking forwards, a little fight once in a while.”

Orr played only five games for the Leafs this season, averaging just 4:29 of ice time per contest.

Twice Orr has appeared in all 82 games of an NHL season, but his job description has always been a narrow one – protect your teammates.

Unfortunately for players like Orr, there are fewer and fewer pure enforcers in today’s game. Coaches want to roll four lines, and they want their fourth liners to be responsible defensively, kill penalties and get in on the forecheck.

“It’s been a bit of a transition, so you’re not seeing the fighters in the game as much and you’re seeing a lot of speed,” said Orr. “The game has changed.”