Assume a tough guy

Patrick Johnston
January 03 2012 04:53PM


The Canucks used to carry plenty of goons.
(Photo: Sports Illustrated)

Yes, that's right. Imagine the Canucks had one.

Now, what are his talents?

1. He's big and strong.

2. He's got a menacing look.

3. He talks a lot of smack.

4. He's lauded for his ability to wear down the opposition.

Oh wait...isn't that this guy?

Or if you really want, you could have this guy:

The thing to remember about both Eager and Carcillo? They are the ones who can skate. There are plenty who can't.

You want tough guys? You're going to accept a fair amount of stupidity. Dan Carcillo gives you stupidity. Ben Eager gives you stupidity.

Your fourth line guys chew up 6-8 minutes a night. You want them mostly not to screw up while your quality players are getting a rest. If they pot the odd goal, that's a bonus, but not really why they are there.

A tough guy screws up. A lot.

Fear the Fin wrote a good piece in June on Eager. He's big, strong guy who can play a bit but is prone to moments of egregious stupidity.

Oh, and the argument that a tough guy serves as a deterrent? The Leafs had Colton Orr dressed that night. He didn't deter Eager from anything. Instead the Leafs took the 5-minute powerplay and scored FOUR goals. Oh an he'd already taken a double-minor in the game, which the Leafs turned into another goal.

Guys like this bring chaos. Chaos feeds our emotions. But emotions are not how decisions should be made. Who will win you the most hockey games is how you make decisions. Sometimes that means picking the guy who screws up the least.

Tough guy? No thanks.

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Patrick Johnston is a Vancouver journalist. In addition to regular contributions here at Canucks Army, his work has appeared in The Province, Hockey Now and on the CBC. Check out his blog and other writing at http://johnstonwrites.wordpress.com or follow him on twitter: @risingaction
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#1 John Andress
January 03 2012, 06:40PM
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Hear! Hear! I agree completely.

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#2 Skeeter
January 03 2012, 07:17PM
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I think it's a little simplistic to say that tough guys are stupid. That doesn't take into account the ivy leaguers like George Parros, Tanner Glass, Kevin Westgarth, or even our own Aaron Volpatti.

It's not stupidity that makes me glad the Canucks avoid having a one-dimensional tough guy, it's because I don't think it's necessary. There are plenty of intelligent and tough players in the NHL who are just plain not good at hockey. I don't want them on the Canucks.

There are also tough, intelligent players who are good at hockey. Bieksa, for instance, is a graduate of Bowling Green University: he's obviously intelligent, is well spoken in interviews, and is also plenty tough.

Just saying that tough guys are stupid is simplistic and insulting.

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#3 Sunshine
January 03 2012, 07:18PM
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Oh please. There are 3 different examples of 'tough guys' for the 4th line. 'Eager type': Can skate, can hit, can fight, can play -- but runs around like a 2 yr old and costs his team PP goals 'Jackman type': Can skate, can hit, can fight, can play -- but doesn't run around like a 2 yr old costing his team pp goals. 'MacIntrye type': Can't skate, can hit, can fight, can't play hockey.

Canucks fans want the 'Jackman type'. There are plenty of players like him in the league. We want 1 of him thanks.

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