(Ed. note: This is a sponsored post for @thebuck9. If you want me to write about any old thing in hockey, all you have to do is donate $50 below. It’s easy and fun. Bye.)
As you all likely well know about me, I am very open to the opinions of others, even if they challenge my own, and so when the guy whose Twitter name is listed above said I should write this sponsored post about how the Leafs wouldn’t be in a playoff hunt if not for the work of Colton Orr, that gave me a lot of pause.
After all, if Randy Carlyle is playing the guy as many minutes as he has been in recent weeks, and the Leafs keep winning (if you ignore last night, which was clearly an outlier in expected results) doesn’t that tell you everything you need to know about the value guys like Orr provide? Carlyle, and every other NHL coach who routinely puts fighters in the lineup, have been around the game a lot longer than me and likely know a thing or three about what motivates professional hockey players, and makes teams win. Randy Carlyle has 555 NHL wins and one Stanley Cup more than I do, so it’s tough for me to sit in judgment.
Let’s think about it another way, on a more macro level: Remember that game a few Saturdays back when Toronto went into the Bell Centre and stomped Montreal’s guts and teeth into a fine, unrecognizable paste? Sure you do. Do you also remember how did they do it? With tough guys in the lineup, that’s how.
Here’s the box score. What do you see? Three fighting majors handed out, all of which the Leafs decidedly won thanks to the top-quality pugilistic efforts of Mark Fraser, Mike Kostka and Frasier McLaren. Colton Orr also played nearly five minutes that night, likely because the Habs were already so intimidated (as evidenced by Brendan Gallagher’s diving penalty early in the second period) that they didn’t need to put the big guns out there. Someone would have gotten killed.
Or how about the example of a young man on the Phoenix Coyotes run by the name of Paul Bissonnette, otherwise known as BizNasty? His team is technically ninth in the Western Conference, but tied with eighth-place San Jose at 21 points. But they just beat the Vancouver Canucks, and Bissonnette is a big reason why. He has three points in his last three games, tripling his total in 31 last season and 48 the year before.
In furtherance of this theory, I also took a look at HockeyFights.com to see the team leader board. The Leafs, a playoff team, have more fights than anyone else in the NHL. The Philadelphia Flyers, also a playoff team, are tied for second with 18. The Vancouver Canucks, also a playoff team, are fourth with 16. The Dallas Stars and Montreal Canadiens, playoff teams both, are tied for fifth with 12. The Los Angeles Kings, also a playoff team, are tied for eighth with 11.
So that’s six of the league’s top 10 fighting teams in the playoffs. And here’s another fun fact for all you punk pacifists out there: When the Bruins won the Stanley Cup two seasons ago, they were also second in the league in fights. That tells you everything you need to know, and stands as evidence enough that there’s a strong correlation between playing so-called “thugs” and winning hockey games with regularity.
Figure it out, and give Colton Orr 20 minutes a night.
(*This post tagged under “Arguments an idiot would make.”)
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