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The Disappearing Enforcer

The last of a dying breed

Derek Leung/Getty Images

Much has been made of John Scott. He was voted by the fans as a captain for the NHL all star game. Since then he was asked to bow out by his team and then by the league. John Scott refused both times. As easy as it may be as a fan to say just sit out, imagine yourself as Scott. He has spent his life playing hockey to the best of his ability. He is finally awarded one of the highest honors in the sport. I for one can understand  wanting  to participate. For that desire he was traded across the continent  and sent to the minors.

There is more to this story  than simply John Scott. There has been a great disappearance  of enforcers. Call them what you like, goons are few and far between these days. Saint Louis has one of the leagues most feared in Ryan Reaves. He offers little to nothing from an offensive  standpoint. His primary use is to cause pain to opposing  players. He racks up hits and is the nuclear deterrent  in fights.

Not all fan bases are able to see and enjoy the art of the enforcer. We are treated nightly to massive hits, and stellar fights. In a league now ruled by players like Kane and Tarasenko, players like Scott and Reaves are dinosaurs. There are few things as exciting as watching Tarasenko  score a dumb founding  goal, but one of those things is watching a Reaves fight. Hockey is becoming a fast, skilled sport, but I still unabashedly  enjoy the hits, fights, attitudes, and fearlessness  of physical "Ole time" hockey.

Having John Scott in 3v3 hockey might not be exciting, but I would still watch it. Maybe he lays out Kane. That would be worth seeing in an event largely not worth watching.