Monday, September 28, 2009


It's only hard if you make it hard

The old Local Team's Enforcer is a Real Human Being! story is a September fixture in many NHL cities; Vicki Hall is a fine and capable writer/reporter; and Brian McGrattan is just doing what he can to earn a terrific living for as long as possible.

So I'm not directing this at either Hall or McGrattan when I say that this article from Sunday's Calgary Herald is beyond embarrassing.
“I want to lead the league in majors this year,” McGrattan says, peeling off his blinding yellow practice jersey. “And I think this is the right division to do it.”

The tattooed enforcer looks across the room at Jarome Iginla and Olli Jokinen.

“I can’t wait,” McGrattan says, “for the first guy who runs one of these guys.

“That will give me the green light to go get ’em.”

I'm not anti-fighting, but that kinda makes my skin crawl. Also, while I sincerely hope that he really does have sobriety figured out for good, your typical 20-years-sober alcoholic comes off as more humble and guarded about the whole issue than McGrattan does at 9+ months.

Mostly, it's just galling that the Flames gave a one-way contract to a guy who can only "help his team" by fighting, even though he's not yet recovered from shoulder surgery, and has the substance abuse baggage noted above. Jaffray and Lundmark were waived today, both of whom would help the Flames score/prevent goals and win games from the 4th line more than McGrattan could hope to. It's a real blot on what was otherwise a pretty solid summer by management.


Is blto #2 the Stralman deal you think? We got the guy for nothing, sure...but dealing him for nothing does make much sense to me.

If he never had any off-ice issues, it's still a bad deal. Andre Roy, who was not nearly as poor at hockey as McGrattan projects to be, played 5 minutes a night last year. An actual player likely gets double those minutes, and gives the Flames a useful 4th line. I can live with Brandon Prust in a 4th line role because he appears to have some value. Unless McGrattan produces at an as-yet-unforseen level, Calgary will end up dressing 11 functional forwards when he's out there.

I've never believed that a hockey team should devote a roster spot to a man whose only NHL-calibre skill is fighting. How often does a fight happen? Once every other game, maybe? How many times is it he enforcer? Once every other fight, maybe? So you pay a guy $500K to sit on the end of the bench and look menacing for 57 minutes a night, and pray he doesn't get murderated in the other three, instead of paying similar money to a kid who can learn something at the NHL level, or a veteran who won't cost you goals at 8-10 minutes a night?

Fuck that shit.

Unless McGrattan produces at an as-yet-unforseen level, Calgary will end up dressing 11 functional forwards when he's out there.

No chance of that. Injury or no, watching him practice in training camp was sad. Let's just say protecting the puck isn't his strong point, even in the most basic stickhandling drills.

He's Bertuzzi++

Enforcers are vestigial remnant of a bygone era. They are the NHL's appendix.

I figured out the biggest reason why his sobriety comments rang 'yikes' to me.

"You’re a different person when you’re sober and healthy than when you’re drinking and doing whatever."
"I think it was harder before when I was drinking and using and all that other stuff."

I guess if you really wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt, maybe he's cleaning it up for the young Herald readers, but the vagueness about whatever/other sounds more to me like... not completely facing up to his actions.

But whatever, the problem is that it's a terrible contract even in the best case scenario. Robert's frequently-made point says it best: the fact that Eric Godard dressed for 0 playoff games for the Cup champs (after playing ~70 reg. season games) says it all.

The reason these guys are still in the league is voodoo. As in, a few people believe in it, and a bunch more are afraid to say out loud that they don't.

Indeed. What could "all that other stuff" be exactly? Torturing dogs and forcing them to fight?

(Too soon?)


Believe it or not, the real loss in all of this is Colin Stuart.

JW, I just read your piece, and was indeed a bit surprised at Stuart's results in the ATL, though I think the SE Effect and small sample size both mitigate against. I think Lundmark is the guy you want to have, because he seems to have changed his spots a bit (doesn't cheat for offense), and is also a legit guy to sub in on the PP.

In other words, THAT'S what I think a good *role player* is.

Matt: Plus Lundmark did it without much time on the Iginla line (although as it turns out, Daymond Langkow's a good hockey player).

I think Nashville grabs Lundmark, but for a team looking for a team looking for a defensive specialist I imagine Stuart's of interest.

I really like Lundmark, but I think there's other teams out there that need him more than Edmonton.

And of course the southeast effect needs to be considered.

I'm still a little shocked Calgary didn't hang on to Lundmark.

Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?