With about five minutes remaining in the first period of last night’s 2-1 victory for the Toronto Maple Leafs over the Calgary Flames, Flames sophomore Matthew Tkachuk earned himself another hearing with NHL Player Safety after he was caught spearing Leafs forward Matt Martin from the bench.
It was a dirty, sneaky move that was almost impossible to see in the moment, but the slow motion replay leaves no doubt. Check it out:
This leads up to the question: do the Leafs need another enforcer in their lineup? If the Buds had another tough guy like Martin patrolling the ice, do you think teams would take such liberties with them?
Take the team’s season MVP so far, Frederik Andersen. The way teams are crashing the net and taking runs at him, it’s only a matter of time until he goes down with an injury. Do you think teams would behave this way if the Leafs had Wayne Simmonds on the ice? Or Erik Gudbranson patrolling the blue line?
Obviously the days of having a knuckle dragger who can barely skate are over. But perhaps the greatest Leafs enforcers of all time could actually play. Players like Wendel Clark and Tie Domi were real on-ice contributors who also managed to police the game, as well as play hockey. Do the Leafs need another player or two like this in the lineup?