NHL Morning Headlines – Monday, September 5, 2011.

Wade Belak’s funeral held in Nashville…Another former NHL tough guy speaks out against fighting…Former NHL star Brendan Shanahan prepares to take over as league disciplinarian.

CANOE.CA (SLAM! SPORTS):  reports the funeral for the late NHL enforcer Wade Belak was held Sunday in Nashville. Among those in attendance were Nashville Predators GM David Poile, head coach Barry Trotz, Predators Shea Weber, David Legwand and Mike Fisher, Belak’s former Leafs teammates Bryan McCabe and Tie Domi, and country singer Rodney Crowell. Friends and family also pointed out Belak’s death, while publicly believed to have been suicide, has not beenofficially  ruled as such by the Toronto police or medical officials.


THE GLOBE & MAIL: Eric Duhatschek interviewed former Calgary Flames forward Jim Peplinski, who had dozens of fights during his pro career, claimed his distaste for fighting were part of the reason he prematurely retired, and has joined a growing list of former enforcers who are calling for fighting to be eliminated from the game.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Thus far it appears most former enforcers (Georges Laraque and Tie Domi among the notable exceptions) want fights abolished from the game, while most active enforcers believe otherwise. In my opinion, as long as hockey fights remain popular with the fans, the league won’t eliminate it from the game. At best, in the coming years, we might see the role of enforcer change, to where they must contribute more to the lineup than just fight.

DETROIT FREE PRESS: reports former Red Wings star Brendan Shanahan is preparing to take over as NHL disciplinarian beginning this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I found it amusing that the last four men to hold that job suspended Shanahan at various times during his playing career. “Shanny”, however, is considered a forward-thinking man, and could be the right person for the role as the NHL grapples with new rules to reduce dangerous hits to the head, and rising criticism of the role of enforcers in the game. Best of luck to Shanahan in what is considered one of the most thankless jobs in the NHL.


  1. Shanahan will do well, as long as he is not kept on a short leash by the BOG.

  2. Start big, Shanny. Suspend everybody for their first preseason game. Message-sending!

  3. If it is true that Shanny was behind the Rome suspension in the playoffs, then he is already off to good start. And before any Canucks fans jump on this, Rome’s suspension only sucked because the previous descisions by Campbell were so far off…

  4. I’d hardly put Jim Peplinski in the catagory of an “enforcer” during his playing days. More of a pest if anything. And considering how many fighters there have been in the game over the years, there’s hardly been any consensus among them regarding abolishing fighting from the game. Most haven’t weighed in on the matter. That those who have are in the ban fighting camp isn’t surprising, as those in favor of eliminating something from the game tend to be the first to speak up about it. I could live without the fighting myself, but at times it does have it’s value (like when someone beats up Avery!). 😀

  5. RIP Wade. Belak was a good leaf. He stood up for his teamates when he needed to, doing a difficult job well. As for fighting – Fighting has a legitimate role in hockey, when emotions boil over or a player crosses the line and a spontaneous engagement occurs between two players. Staged fights between two enforcers who play very little can be done away with anytime simply by teams not employing that type of player. I don’t believe this will happen as most teams and certainly most players want that deterant factor on there bench.

  6. As a former defenceman in beer leagues who enjoyed an occasional bout, I have to say that as long as the league has pesky forwards that take cheap shots, especially ones that injure other players, and as long as head shots are not dealt with in a legitimate fashion (say a ban for half a season), then there will be a need for fighting to deter the punks in the game. I do think the whole enforcer on enforcer fights at the beginning of the period just to try to turn the tide of a game could be dealt with more severely, such as a game misconduct or something, because that’s where I think the permanent damage to the frontal lobe and depression comes from: a bunch of gargantuans plastering each other. Didn’t say I don’t enjoy a good fight, but these types of fights are just for show and serve no purpose.

  7. theres nothing wrong with a good old hockey fight its this staged crap for no reason thats gotta go.or just because someone lays a good clean hard hit now theres a fight after bs hockey.but if somone takes a cheapshot at someone then let them fight.

  8. Agreed with most everyone here.

    The staged fights, the Averys of the league making a mockery of the game, the cheap shot artists like Cooke, are soiling the game.

    In the past a player who was levelled with a good clean solid hard hitting body check took it..It was part of the game, and there was actually a healthy respect for the other guy doling out the hit. A heated, game long battle for the puck, results in a spontaneous donnybrook. Thats Hockey.

    Now today somehow that same singular hit means we are going to have the two biggest, meanest, least talented players on the ice, do a little dance and contribute to each others early onset alzheimers, at the start of the next period, before the puck even warms in the linesmans hands..

    Thats not hockey.

    The only emotion involved here is that each goon will experience the emotion of fear…as in, will I remember my phone # tomorrow morning, or not? Will I need to take pain killers and anti depressants for the rest of my life so I can continue with my ” career”? Will I live past 50? Will I be the only member of my family ever to have donated my brain to science, and not because I was a genius?

    When the “sideshow entertainment” becomes as important, or God forbid more important than the game, Hockey is doomed. Lets get back to basics, the good o’l Hockey Game.

    Someone like Shanahan should get that. Let’s hope he does.