Though some would argue that they don’t really need an enforcer, The Calgary Flames have signed tough-guy Brian McGrattan to a 1-year, $550,000 contract.
I was reading through the comments on the article on TSN.ca about his signing, and I actually laughed out loud when I read this one by C4L: “Thank God. Remember in the playoffs when Ben Eager kept mouthing Iginla off over and over? He (or anyone else) tries that this year and they’ll find themselves playing “how many fingers” with the team doctor.”
I think that this is a really funny comment not only for the “how many fingers” part… but also because Ben Eager learned his lesson the hard way by mouthing off Iginla. He didn’t take an Eric Godard-style beating beacuse the Flames didn’t need to. There were a number of players who could have pounded on Eager after he started mouthign off to the Flames’ Captain, but Eager’s hot mouth hit the “Incredible Hulk” switch in Iginla’s head and sent him on a scoring rampage. They learned their lesson after that.
The days of the NHL enforcer’s name being a necessity on the roster sheet of every game are not completely over, but the role of the NHL tough-guy is changing. The role that used to exist 100% for the protection of a team’s superstar (like Dave Semenko was for Wayne Gretzky) now is a strategic role that can help change the momentum in a game. Fights are still a part of hockey (thank God!), but Don’t expect Brian McGrattan to play every game. The presence of so many big, tough guys on the Flames team – any one of which will step-up and fight if necessary – means McGratten will only be used sparingly.