Thursday, November 19, 2009

Smashmouth vs. Lady Bing: What's It Gonna Be?

I like "smashmouth" hockey.  Don't get me wrong.  I'm not about goonery.  It's just that I appreciate a good clean hit just as much as I appreciate a pretty goal.  The ultimate combination is someone that accomplishes both.  And I'm really not about fighting; especially the staged bullshit between two guys that are only on the team because they can fight.  I would never go to a hockey game "hoping" to see a fight.  If I want to see a fight I'll go watch two boxers.  That isn't to say that I'm not going to cheer if someone from a team I support happens to get into a fight and kicks the other guys ass.  I'm all good with that.  But not having such a thing won't detract one iota from my enjoyment of the game.

So I thought today I'd present part of my case against what I see as a possible trend to eliminating part of the game that I love.  I'm not trying to be "Chicken Little" and pretend the sky is falling.  But there is an ever-growing public cry for new rules to reduce the chances of injury.  I certainly wouldn't argue for rationally arrived at measures that help that cause.  But I will argue against some implementations that seem reactionary and could possibly be unreasonable.

So as an exercise to make that point I thought I'd present a what if scenario and a poll.  What if a team of "Smashmouth" players took on a team of "Lady Bing" winners?  Who would win?  Who would you cheer for?  Below are the two teams I've compiled.  You be the judge.  For the "Lady Bing" team I have limited myself to actual trophy winners.  There were great hockey players that didn't win that trophy but that I also wouldn't put on my "smashmouth" team i.e... Mario Lemieux.  I've also limited both teams to guys that played after 1975.  Why?  Just an arbitrary number ... it seems like about the time to me when the "modern era" of hockey began.

Team Lady Bing
Wayne Gretzy, Paul Kariya, Joe Sakic
Ron Francis, Joe Mullen, Jari Kurri
Mike Bossy, Marcel Dionne, Adam Oates
Alexander Mogilny, Pavel Datsyuk, Mats Naslund

Team Smashmouth
Dale Hunter, Mark Messier, Wilf Paiement
Jeremy Roenick, Bobby Clarke, Dino Cicarelli
Kevin Stevens, Claude Lemieux, Owen Nolan
Darcy Tucker, Keith Tkachuk, Pat Verbeek

No defenseman on either team because no D guy ever won the Lady Bing.  Apparently blueliners can't ever be gentlemanly.  So for conversation purposes assume equally talented defenseman and goaltenders.  I'm fairly certain that every "Team Smashmouth" player I listed put up multiple years of 100+ penalty minutes and most if not all had at least one 40 goal season.  The penalty minute association isn't perfect but I remember all these guys playing and they all fit my "Smashmouth" definition.  Some guys get more minutes because they're just undisciplined.  And there are a lot of other hard-nosed players that I didn't include and could easily and logically replace the ones I've somewhat hastily chosen.

I still have to rank Wilf Paiement as my all-time favorite NHL player.  Wilf had 356 goals, 458 assists in 946 games (.86 points per game).  He also had 1757 penalty minutes.  Let's look at The Great One's numbers for comparison.  Gretz had 1487 goals, 894 assists in 1963 games with 577 penalty minutes (1.9 points per game).  Wilf was always in the corners, Gretz rarely went there.  I think they're in a lot of way opposite sorts of players.

So which team do you think would win?  Which one would you cheer for?  The Lady Bingers would sure be fast.  But there isn't anyone on Team Smashmouth that couldn't put any opposition player on their ass.  And was there ever a tougher 5ft 10in sonofabitch than Bobby Clarke?

I know which team's jersey I'd be wearing in the stands (if I ever wore a jersey to a game).  I don't know why I hate "the Sutters"; 'cause I think they're all about the "Smashmouth".  And yeah, I think a couple of guys on my list were on the punkish side.  Nonetheless, there ya have it.  Time for you to have your say:

Disclaimer of Sorts:
I don't want to see anyone hurt or injured.  But I recognize that contact sports and injuries are necessarily and permanently entwined.  You can't have the first without the second.  It's unfortunate, sad and depressing when a guy's career ends because of an injury.  But then again, sports isn't life.

A career ending injury can equally be viewed as the beginning of real life.  Isn't that why we like athletes?  Isn't it a vicarious enjoyment through them because they aren't having to go through life in the same way we are?  Isn't it that we appreciate a guy that is willing to perhaps go through the majority of his life with a limp from a blown knee for the chance to have played a sport for a living?  Nobody wants to see anyone with a life threatening injury.

Those things do occur (thankfully infrequently) in all sports.  We should attempt as best we can to make sure those occurrences are as close to zero as possible.  But let's not make rules that deter "smashmouth" hockey eh?


Jeff said...

haha this just happened the other day

Anonymous said...

Do you have a clip of Portwood's train wreck in Minny?

Anonymous said...

Shyiak was quoted as saying something similar (about the league changing the game of hockey) in USCHO's weekly WCHA article.

Suze said...

According to todays ADN, Portwood and Wiles will be back in the line up, but now Lunden is out with an injury. :(

Anonymous said...

Clark and Grant will step up with lunden out.
Great Wiles and Portwood back.
Minnesota are a good skating team and are big like us.
Need a win tonite, no let up till the games is over

Ted said...

We need to chew up the Mavericks tonight in the corners. The game will be won by the team that wants the puck more.

Mike said...

That's right Ted you got to want it every shift. Let's see our guys get some pucks in the slot and score tonight. We put an end to our ho hum skating tonight. Seawolves sweep and move up.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the Crowell hit...sorry to say that was a little bump compared to what he would do in Vernon! LOL He's an incredible checker and VERY tough! Great leader too! Can't wait for him to adjust to the NCAA rhythm...

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