Wayne Simmonds is just the best.
While fighting in the game has been scaled back to great lengths, players like Simmonds keep hockey honest with his hard-nosed ability and knack for both knocking goals in the net and knocking teeth out if he has to. The enforcer is dead, but a player of Simmonds’ caliber will never go out of style.
The Philadelphia Flyers forward spoke at length with Dave Isaac of the Courier-Post about the evolution of fighting in today’s game. With fighting scaled back and enforcers gone by the wayside, the manner in which gloves get dropped has changed dramatically. Simmonds isn’t necessarily a fan of the type of player that has benefitted from the changes to the game and departure of enforcers on the ice.
“Some guys are able to fight their own battles now just because they’re not going to be going against a killer,” Simmonds said to Isaac. “They’ll be going against someone who’s probably not usually fighting all the time. I think for me, we called them rats. You’ve got those little rats going around doing their dirty little stuff and some guys you just want to grab a hold of and pummel. I think for the most part it hasn’t been too bad on star players, I think, not too bad.”
How do you feel about those rats, Wayne?
“You’ve got guys running around doing stupid stuff and then guys don’t want to answer the bell,” Simmonds said. “They’ll two-hand you, they’ll butt-end you, they’ll knee you and then you go to confront them and they don’t want to do anything about it. They try to draw a penalty. I don’t think that’s the way the game’s played or should be played. If you’re going to do something dirty, back it up. If you’re gonna do something that’s going to warrant a fight, back it up. Trust me, I could use harsher words.”
That’s the good stuff. Simmonds letting the words fly about the little weasels on the ice, although apparently he could’ve used harsher words, is everything we expected it to be and more.
When asked about star players having to fight their own battles in the skill-above-all league that the NHL is today, Claude Giroux simply replied with a grin, “I guess I’m pretty lucky to have Wayne on my team.”
You can say that again, Claude.
Be sure to check out the rest of Isaac’s piece on fighting and today’s NHL, at the very least for some great quotes by the always outspoken and entertaining Jake Voracek.
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