Some media members and fans have insisted that the Bruins need an enforcer, and that it’s something that would help the team in the long run. The topic came up yet again after Saturday night’s game, when Adam McQuaid jumped Chris Wagner after a hit he didn’t like. That’s the type of guy McQuaid is, and the Bruins having an enforcer on the ice wouldn’t have changed the way things went down.
The reality? Boston has plenty of toughness in it’s lineup, and they don’t need to dedicate a lineup spot to an outdated enforcer. Plenty of current Bruins will step up if and when needed.
Kevan Miller, who has the nickname known “Killer” for a reason, has no problem dropping the gloves when needed.
There are also guys like Noel Acciari, Chris Wagner and David Backes who have shown a willingness to step in if warranted. Oh, and don’t forget about Zdeno Chara, who remains among the league's most intimidating players, even if he doesn't fight a ton.
The question is, why do people want to see an enforcer in Boston? Probably because Bruins fans have always liked the rough-and-tumble game. However, that style of play isn't necessarily required to win anymore.
First, let’s take a look at the league standings, shall we? The top-fve teams in the league are:
Take a closer look into these rosters for a moment.
The Tampa Bay Lightning, who at this point are running away with the league lead, don’t have (and definitely don’t need_ an enforcer, unless you want to be generous and consider Braydon Coburn and Adam Erne enforcers.
Tampa Bay is loaded with talent, speed and skill. It's become cliche to say it, but the NHLis moving away from the toughness aspect of the game and moving toward a more skill-based game. The Bolts are first in the league averaging four goals per game. Safe to say they mainly have skill players. And further, there’s a pretty good chance the B’s play the Bolts at some point in the near future in the postseason. When everything gets really fast, and really tense.
I’m sure you remember how that went last time, right?
The Calgary Flames, while they have their dollar store Brad Marchand, really don’t have that enforcer-type player either, and none of the other top-five teams has a guy who jumps out as a true enforcer.
The Bruins already have the toughness aspect locked down, just in a form that doesn't involve fists. The B’s are ninth in the league in hits with 1153, and throwing the body around is just another way to intimidate the opposition.
The Lightning and Islanders join the Bruins in the top-ten in hits, while the Sharks and Jets are bottom ten, and the Jets are often hailed for their heavy style of play! Any way you cut the cake, a team in the league doesn’t necessarily need a dude who’s only job is to chuck fists to compete. Toughness isn’t just in answering an imaginary bell that fans want to ring. The Lightning and Islanders have that toughness aspect which helps them win games while the Jets, Sharks, and Flames seem to have no issue missing the toughness aspect.
The Bruins have needs right now that are keeping them from rising in the standings. With scoring help, they could become a true force in this league. That should be the team's focus around the trade deadline. If this season ends up ending in clattering disappointment, a lack of toughness isn't going to be the reason.