Darren Eliot's article "Tough time for goons" takes the position that eliminating the enforcers in hockey allows the pests to run wild. I respectfully disagree. There is no place for goonery in hockey. If the NHL was serious about promoting its product it would show constant highlights of Ovechkin's brilliant one-on-five goals. It would show Sidney Crosby's seeing-eye passes. But no. The NHL makes the news with stupidity, from Bettman's idiotic handling of the Nashville situation to Boulerice's cross-checking Kesler. The league needs to change that. Quickly. But they won't because the NHL is all about false "traditions" and the like. "Traditions" like being a tough guy or exacting revenge. You know what makes you a tough guy? Battling through and still scoring the goal. Cross-checking ANYONE does NOT make you a tough guy. Running a defenseless player does NOT make you a tough guy. It makes you the opposite of a tough guy, a word that's sometimes used for small cats.
I have no problem with legal hits. I have no problem with lining someone up for a hard, open-ice hit. Legal hits are part of the game and shouldn't be removed. What should be excised is goonery and that crap that masquerades as chippy play (see Tootoo, Jordan among others). Boulerice should be suspended forever. So should Steve Downie and anyone else who hits someone who's defenseless. And don't give me that crap like "Oh, Kesler was running players all night." You know what? If the NHL was serious about improving the game, "players" like Kesler or Tootoo would be suspended for their barely legal hits, too. Adopt a zero-tolerance policy. But Bettman won't because he's also a word that refers to a small cat. If he did take a hard line, the game would assume it's rightful place as one of the best sports on Earth. Instead, it'll be relegated to minor-league status because it relies on "traditions."