Friday, December 14, 2007

Walker Gets A Game, Fisher Earns Respect

Scott Walker of the Carolina Hurricanes only got one game for a headbutt to Mike Fisher which is a break from NHL standards, as pointed out by Al Strachan on last night's broadcast of The Spin. Strachan says the NHL standard has always been 3 games for a headbutt and so we are now getting more mixed signals from head of discipline Colin Campbell in a season where the NHL has come down hard on head shots.

People are always complaining that the NHL needs new blood in the commissioners office but perhaps what's needed is a replacement for Campbell. Maybe the NHL needs a guy who wasn't a player or a coach. Someone who can look at discipline more objectively and without the stigma of being part of the old boys network.

Regardless of the suspension, Mike Fisher showed some much needed toughness for a Senators squad that has been accused in the past of not sticking up for each other. Perhaps that stigma is old and outdated, but many people around the league still view Ottawa as a middling physical team with too much skill and not enough brawn. Walker clearly ran Martin Gerber and Fisher responded. Good on him even if he lost a couple of chiclets from the headbutt.

Speaking of toughness, Brian McGrattan took on legendary enforcer Georges Laraque last night and came out of it with a sprained shoulder. No word yet on whether the Senators will be calling someone up from Bingo to replace him. Doesn't it always seem like everyone who tangles with Laraque gets hurt somehow? Laraque is an absolute powerhouse and is one of a long line of heart and soul players that Edmonton dispatched in recent memory, including Ryan Smyth and Jason Smith. Laraque was a big part of the Edmonton community through his charity work and his one-time radio show and desperately wanted to stay in the blue and copper uniform. When someone is the best at what they do, you don't get rid of them.

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