Tuesday, February 6, 2007

The NHL Needs 29 More Brian Burkes

Eric Stephens of the LA Times writes that the Ducks rely on the fighting game… even if the NHL trend moves away from that. Let's just say that the Ducks GM, Brian Burke, is a breathe of fresh air. I would venture to say that if we had 29 other teams out there that had similar compositions, we'd have one exciting NHL to watch.

A couple of interesting quotes here:

The deal for Parros, however, raised some eyebrows around the league because the Ducks' executive gave the Avalanche a second-round pick — something that has become valued currency in a new salary-cap landscape.

The message was clear: Fighting still matters.

Parros isn't alone in his willingness to drop the gloves. Ducks rookie Shane O'Brien has had 11 fights — the same as Parros — while wingers Shawn Thornton and Travis Moen have nine and eight respectively on their cards.

"That's why Corey Perry doesn't get roughed up after whistles," Burke said. "That's why Ryan Getzlaf doesn't get punched in the head after he takes a shot at the net. We have a team that makes people accountable. That's never going to change as long as I'm here."

"I try to make sure our young players see that they don't get abused," Burke said. "The longtime season-ticket holders like the kind of team we have. They've seen Paul Kariya face-washed after a faceoff. I believe in having an enforcer on your
roster at all times."

Phoenix Coyotes forward Georges Laraque, whom many consider to be the league's top fighter, said there was an orchestrated movement by the NHL to get rid of the enforcer.

"It's not behind the scenes," Laraque said. "Everybody sees it. And it's too bad. I'm lucky because I've been in it long enough to make a career out of it."

But Laraque said even if the league wants to eradicate the sport's "goon" image, it can't deny fighting's fan appeal.

"When there's a fight, everybody is out of their seats," said Laraque, who played for Edmonton last season. "And it's tough that the NHL is trying to take us out of it."


Henry T. said...

Go figure. They have 20 more fights than anyone and sit a top the NHL. Burke is dead on. Guys won't touch Selanne. If they do, the Ducks have FOUR guys that can answer. If every team were like that, I'd watch hockey a hecht of a lot more often.

Bill T said...

Ducks are flat out the most entertaining team in hockey. Brian Burke deserves full credit for putting together the most balanced team in the league incorporating both skill and grit. Go Ducks!!!