The Islanders won their first preseason game, 2-1 in OT, over the Bruins, after heavily outshooting the B's. But according to the game report, the Bruins awoke and came out hard in the third -- responding to the lopsided game flow -- and took out two Isles, Kurtis MacLean and Chris Campoli, with hard checks.
Amusingly, this ignited calls on the Newsday comment forum (already!) that the Islanders must have a full-time enforcer. Because without one, the thinking goes, other teams will run roughshod over the Isles. Nice theory and all ... except that one of the candidates for Isles enforcer, Mitchel Fritz, was in the lineup!
While there is a deterrent value to dressing enforcers -- which is why GM Garth Snow has implied they will use them on a game-by-game basis this season -- the equation that Enforcer Present = No One Runs Your Players is a gross exaggeration, a falsehood. Some intimidation and policing built up over a season can be a deterrent, sure (even in today's NHL), but come on: Fritz's presence in the lineup obviously kept no one from taking their licks to earn a spot on the Bruins.
I don't begrudge fans of fighting, which is a storied, character-filled and oft entertaining part of the game's history. But saying full-time goons are essential today is ridiculous. I thought the Red Wings had already disproven this errant theory, repeatedly, all the way to a Cup.
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