OK. I have had it. I was never one that thought this team needed to have a designated enforcer, and I still do not think they need one. But somebody needs to step up and protect John Tavares. Two more times last night he was on the receiving end of a cheap shot and not one of his teammates stood up for him. This needs to stop.
There are plenty of big, tough players on this team that can stand up for our future superstar. There is Trent Hunter, Tim Jackman (when healthy), Andy Sutton and Brendon Witt (when playing). But I am going to focus on two players: Kyle Okposo and Blake Comeau.
Blake Comeau has the size and natural ability to be a very good power forward in this league. He just needs the heart to put it all together. Comeau needs to sit in the video room and watch tape after tape of one player: Clark Gilles. The first power forward. What do you think Gilles would have done if Mike Bossy or Bryan Trottier was elbowed in the face? He would kick the you know what out of the player that did that. I am not trying to compare Blake Comeau to Clark Gilles, or saying he needs to end up being as good as Gilles. I am arguing that he needs to model his game after Gillies. And in order to do that, he needs to start stepping up for his teammates.
Kyle Okposo is the future Captain of this team. I am think we can all agree that there is no question about that. They would not have given him an "A" at the age of 21 if the captaincy was not in his future. Now he needs to start acting like a Captain. Kyle is not a small guy. He is very strong, especially for his age. He needs to show that he is the unquestioned leader of this team and start to stand up to players that take cheap shots at our best players. A great Captain cannot just be a leader in the locker room; they also need to be the leader on the ice.
This is not to say if someone put a big and CLEAN hit on one of our star players that we need to go after the other team. I have very strong feelings about that as well. When Sutton lands a crushing hit on a player and the other team comes after him, I commend him for never fighting the other team. There is no need to. He has done nothing wrong. Other teams in this league need to stop acting like a bunch of five year old's when one of their teammates get hit hard legally. That never used to happen. Gilles would not go after someone if the hit was clean. This is a new phenomenon in the NHL and it needs to stop. But that is a debate for another day.