Thursday, November 16, 2006

Gorgeous Georges States His Case

You can count me as one of the few hockey fans left who believes that an enforcer can still be a useful tool to an NHL team. What I find difficult, is how enforcer is defined. Most people think of a slow moving hulk patrolling the neutral zone contributing nothing but intimidation. And when people use this archetype, the example tends to turn to one Georges Laraque. "There is no place for guys like Laraque inthe 'new' NHL," or "You can't have a one dimensional guy like Laraque taking up a roster spot" etc. (Quotes made up by me, but I don't think many would have to stretch to imagine pundits spouting them). Here's the problem: I've seen Georges, and while he IS the best fighter in the league, he's not one dimensional.

While Georges will never be known as a sniper, a big hitter or a defensive specialist, he has been known (on many occasions) as a pretty good hockey player. I've seen him dominate the offensive boards and create sustained pressure down low, I've seen him be effective causing havoc in front of the opposing team's net, I've seen him make good outlet passes from his own zone, I've seen him make good defensive decisions. I've seen Georges change the pace of the game and I've seen him inspire his teammates.

Now I'm not going to sit here and tell you that Georges should be on the All-Star team, or that Georges should be named the Captain of the Coyotes, or should be playing 20 minutes a night. But the fact remains that if utilized sparingly in the correct circumstances Georges can be very effective.

Take his performance a couple nights ago: The lowly Coyotes should be a write-off team for the Wild. The Coyotes were down 2-0, which should be an even bigger 'gimme' for the Wild. Enter Gorgeous Georges, taking on the league's largest pugilist, Derek Boogaard. Georges wins the fight. Less than a minute later, the Coyotes score a goal. Oleg Saprykin then scored two goals(including the winner), both set up by Georges. Coyotes win.

Now someone please tell me that 'enforcers' don't have a place in the game.

1 comment:

Scarlett said...

Enforcers can definitely still be useful. ]

Georges problem will always be his skating ability. He's horrible. But if he can get down low, move his feet and drive to the net, he can be successful. But he's not always consistant.