Monday, August 10, 2009

5 (Months) for Fighting

So there's been some talk around the Red Wings Nation about the lack of a pure-enforcer in our line-up. Fan favorite Aaron Downey did not re-sign with the team and we didn't end up signing Detroit native tough-guy Mike Grier. But let's look at the most recent fights in Red Wing history and how it's turned out for our tough guys.

It's been 5 months and change since Andreas Lilja's fight against Shea Webber, and the man is still experiencing concussion-like symptoms. It's looking as if he will be put on long-term Injury Reserve to start the season, which is good for the Wings in terms of Cap space, but not so good considering Lilja was seemingly turning a corner last season in terms of quality of play.

The now ex-Wing, Tomas Kopecky had his face re-arraigned by Francois Beauchemin in Game 4 of the Western Conference Semi-Finals which ended up being his last on-ice act as a Red Wing.

Johnny Ericsson did a pretty good job of tuning up loud-mouthed punk, Corey Perry earlier in that maybe we'll let him do the fighting from now on.

But the question is? Do we really need a true-blue fighter on this team? Or are we content to let our powerplay be the real enforcer?


  1. I think that the wings have been and will be just fine without a true "enforcer" on their squad.
    We first need to look at what a true enforcer does on a team. In the past, their one job was to protect the most valuable players on the team. When Johnny bad ass wants to prove a point and take a run at Zeta or Pasha, then it is the duty of our downey or Lilja to punish them and set them straight.
    What is different about Pavel and Zeta is that they are both physical players and they play against the other teams best players. On any other team, this is truely opposite. It seems like to me that most teams try to play the stars against the 3rd or 4th liners. And this is typically when their best players get run at. For the wings, they don't really seem to get shots taken at them because they are rairly on the ice when the Tootoo's are out. I think in todays game, it is more important to have a guy that can play defense and generate a little offense than someone who can knock someone out.

  2. I think a true enforcer would have kept Lilja from having to take that Shea Weber punch that ended his season. I don't want a guy who's sole purpose it is to fight, but I do want the Wings to carry a fighter during the regular season, but not in the playoffs.

    The problem I had with Downey is that every shift he went out looking for somebody to rile up. If he was in the lineup, you were sure he was going to get in a fight. I don't want that guy in our lineup because often times it seemed that he was fighting for the sake of fighting. I want a guy in the lineup who's going to chip in a good fifteen or so points on the fourth line and get in the ten truly important fights a season that I think a team needs.

  3. I love Downey. He knew when to pick his battles. Remember at the end of the St. Louis game, the Wings were winning and some punk on the BBBs wanted to fight him? AD just skated away. He should be the guy that is scratched 50 percent of the time, but can be out there when needed.

  4. Problem is, with salary cap space as tight as it is, financially it is not really possible to carry a guy on the roster "just in case." There isn't much call for a true enforcer on Detroit, because as it is since they don't carry a fighter teams that do have a fighter on their roster tend to scratch the guy when they play Detroit, because there is nothing for him to do.

    The problem is the sneaky little cheap-shotting bastards, and they are very good at avoiding actually fighting an opponent and much better at goading him into taking a bad penalty.

    I'm fine with no fighters - and I wish that guys like Lilja wouldn't feel as though they have to fight, because then stuff like this happens when there is no reason for it to.