It certainly was a great night for the other elements of the game. Timmy Thomas continued the Boston charge and also continued his petition for the Vezina and Ovechkin and the Caps came back four goals down to notch an overtime victory over the Rangers.
There was a scrap between Mciver of the Ducks and Nystrom of the Flames that almost got posted here, but after several reviews of the bugger I went against it.
That Calgary sweater provoked thoughts of Flames enforcers of the past and presented the idea of doing a classic Flames tough guy exposition.
We start with the most superb enforcer ever to come from Paraguay, Willi Plett. I can't imagine there are too many frozen ponds, real or artificial in Plett's home country and he did start playing the game until the age of twelve.
A late start made no difference in the development of his natural athleticism and he was playing in the NHL by the age of 22. The burly right winger made an immediate impact in his rookie campaign with the Atlanta Flames collecting 56 points in 64 games which was good enough to garner the Calder trophy.
2 things amaze me with Plett's Calder:
1.) He beat out Bernie Federko and Randy Carlyle.
2.) Of the decorated list of Calder recipients, Plett is the only bona fide enforcer to ever accomplish the feat.
Plett also had a nice habit of lighting the lamp. In his 12 year career, he topped the 20 goal mark 6 times and finished his career with 222 goals, not too bad for someone who is fifteenth on the all-time career penalty minutes list.
For our next guy we will move up 7 spots on the all-time penalty minutes list and focus on Tim Hunter.
Now with Timmy you didn't have much scoring production, he only eclipsed the ten goal mark once in his career, but you did have an outstanding locker room leader and a grueling team first grinder.
For much of the eighties he was a contender for the heavyweight crown and is certainly a top 20 all-time fighter. He fought smart with excellent balance and could lump you up using either hand.
When you consider the ice generals of those mythical "Battle of Alberta" epics between the Flames and the Edmonton Oilers in the 1980's, it is mandatory that Hunter gets a mention.
Sure the Oilers have the edge in victories, but the Flames still managed to get to the Stanley Cup finals twice during the age of Gretzky and they even came away with Lord Stanley in 1989.
As an alternate captain of that 89' squad Hunter truly was part of the heart and soul of that team.
For the final piece to our Hat Trick of Flame enforcers we will look to the "Sand Man' Sandy McCarthy.
From the mid to late nineties McCarthy terrorized the leagues enfrocer circuit and claimed a nice portion of the heavyweight crown with Tony Twist.
Quick hands, heavy fists and he always was willing to go toe to toe with other giants.
His list of victories is impressive: Probert, Domi, Brashear, McKenzie, Churla, Baumgartner and Grimson just to name a few. A McCarthy fight always promised to be an entertaining affair.
Plett vs Flyers
Plett vs O'Reilly
McCarthy vs Odjick
McCarthy vs Donnelly