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The Nerds Have Tried To Take All The Enforcers Out Of Hockey And Now Here's The Result

What's that saying again? "Hard times create strong men, strong men create good times, good times create weak men, weak men create hard times". Something along the lines of that. 

The fact of the matter is that there was a time when hockey teams would hire the likes of dudes like Dave Semenko and Marty McSorley to hire their generational superstar talent like Wayne Gretzky. Semenko and McSorley may not have been the most skilled guys to ever play the game. They may not have had the best numbers for all the advanced analytics nerds to ejaculate over. But if somebody even looked at Wayne Gretzky the wrong way, they were there to make sure that player was eating through a straw the next few weeks. 

All I'm saying is that if Wayne Gretzky ever just got randomly slashed like that during a game, Dave Semenko would have that player tucked in and down for the big sleep the next time he touched the ice. Marty McSorley would have slashed him in the head with his stick. 

I'm going through the game recap right now and somehow I'm not seeing a Josh Manson fight on there somewhere. Clearly that has to be a mistake, right? I mean with every single player on the bench having an iPad now to watch replays, clearly someone on Chicago's bench had to see that slash and then proceeded to go after Manson to stick up for their guy. 

But there are very few Dave Semenko's in the game anymore. Because the big bad hockey enforcers allowed guys like Gretzky to thrive. The hockey world fell in love with speed and skill, and they wanted more of it. So much so that they've done everything in their power to get physicality out of the game. Hard times in the 70s where every night ended in multiple brawls created strong men like Semenko. Strong men like Semenko created good times for Gretzky. Good times for speedy skilled guys made the enforcer become obsolete. Now soft men have created hard times for guys like Connor Bedard in Chicago and Jack Hughes in New Jersey. 

Luckily, though, the pendulum is starting to swing back. A young kid like Matt Rempe coming into the game and dropping the gloves every night has given a spark back to fighting in the game. All of a sudden, teams are going to have to bring in guys who can keep up with this kid. Some teams like the Flyers and Blue Jackets already have guys like Deslauriers and Olivier. But what happens when Matt Rempe starts to tee off on the Devils? They have nothing. So it'll be a domino effect from there. 

If you want to protect guys like Connor Bedard and get the most out of their careers, you need a bunch of bad dudes out there making sure the coast is clear for them all night. Pretty simple.