Marchand, Tkachuck, Kassian, Kadri, the list of NHL enforcers in the league goes on but odds are your favorite NHL team has one and you love your team enforcer, and odds are you hate a different teams enforcer. The team enforcer is the dirtiest player a team has, the sandpaper of the team, the goon, they are a fucking rat. They are the player that will immediately drop the gloves to fight when the star player gets hit too hard, they’re going to get in the other teams face when they get too close to their goalie, and they will play mean aggressive defense. They are absolutely necessary to the success of a team. Sure some organizations don’t really have a team enforcer, the Toronto Maple Leafs come to mind first, this is a good team, but a team that hasn’t won the Stanley Cup since 1967 and has been booted from the Stanley Cup playoffs early in recent years.
Now look at a team with a rat and they have more success. The Capitals won the Stanley Cup two years ago and they have a pretty clear enforcer on the team, a guy by the name of Tom Wilson, probably the most basic name in hockey and one of the few names I know for a fact I can pronounce correctly.. This guy has 33 points this year +8 plus/minus and 69 penalty minutes. Nice stats right there from a key guy on the roster. I’m not here to make an argument that the rat is the most important position on a hockey team. They aren’t the most important player. They are absolutely necessary though. Look at all the best team in the league right now and odds are they have an enforcer or a rat on their team. Capitals have the most points in the league, and the Bruins have a rat in Marchand. Capitals and Bruins are two of the three top teams in the league and they have a sandpaper guy, a dirty player that will keep other teams honest when they play each other.
The rat plays dirty, for the most part they play within the rules, but they play dirty. It’s why fans hate rats that aren’t on their favorite team. I guarantee that if a high scoring rat of a player was traded to your team and started scoring goals for your team you’d become a fan of that player, especially if they started to help your team win games. The universal language of fans is winning games. No matter how much a fan hates a player if that player helps your favorite team win games a fan will root for them. A lot of fans hate Tkuchuck but Calgary fans love the guy. There are videos of him taking pictures with fans, he is well liked in Calgary. Hop on over to Edmonton and the fans will tell you Tkuckuck is a dirty player that lays a lot of mean dirty hits. The Kassian Tkuchuck fight showed how much these opposing teams and fans hate each other.
It’s the life of a rat. Nazem Kadri of the Colorado Avalanche has a history of being a dirty rat of a player. Honestly, did not care for him much when he was on the Maple Leafs, the Avalanche don’t play the Leafs enough for me to outright dislike Kadri before he was traded to the Avalanche. Now that he plays for my team I fully support the guy. I was standing and cheering for him when he beat the hell out of Ryan Lindgren after Lindgren leveled Donskoi with a dirty hit. I absolutely love watching teammates stick up for each other like that. The mentality of “If you hit my teammate, my boy, like that, I’m going to beat the absolute piss out of you” is awesome and fun to watch. It makes great hockey and it is what being a rat is all about. Kadri even said something similar to reporters after that game. Kadri told reporters “I watched the replay (of the hit on Donskoi). Shoulder right to the jaw and his cheek and no call, so we have to take care of it ourselves. So that’s what I did.” All time quote from an all time rat.
He didn’t like the way the play was called so he beat the piss out of someone he felt deserved it. I’m all for it across the board. Hockey has the tendency to be a violent sport. Kind of what happens when you throw 12 hyper competitive, super athletes onto a sheet of ice with blades strapped to their feet and tell them to go fight over a tiny piece of rubber for 60 minutes. It is so cliche but it is true, the sport of hockey is a battle and it is obvious when you have players who are willing to drop the mitts at a moments notice because they don’t like each other, or they feel a call on the ice was miscalled. Whatever the case may be, the hockey rat is necessary to a teams success. These are the guys that grind out penalty minutes, and will grind out the 5 on 5 minutes they get. These guys can provide amazing depth to a team’s top line guys, and most importantly, if someone lays out one of your team’s top players odds are your team’s rat is going to beat the hell out of the guy who did it.
Love your team’s hockey rat, hate the rest.