After Philadelphia Flyers coach Craig Berube was asked about the incident between Claude Giroux and the Winnipeg Jets Dustin Byfuglien Sunday, Berube reiterated the fact that the age of the enforcer was over. The incident involved Berube and Byfuglien having a shouting match on the ice after the Jets' 4-3 win on Sunday. Berube took issue with a high hit on Giroux and made sure to let Byfuglien know about it. Even still when pressed on the issue of protecting players before Tuesday's game Berube declared enforcers to be extinct.
Hockey has come a long way since the age of the Broad Street Bullies of the 1970s. Teams today have moved away from the enforcer. Gone are the days of teams keeping roster spots open for players whose primary roles are to be the bruiser, the one to enforce pain on his opponents. You can say it's because of how styles of play have changed. The ice is more open, the game is faster, and fans like goals. Gone are the nights of three overtimes lasting hours, now is the age of the shootout. With this faster more agile game comes a league, and a culture, more geared towards protecting its players and its stars with rules instead of brutes. Now we wait for the league to dish out punishment rather than on ice enforcers. This is not just the way of the future for the NHL, it is the way of now. What do you think? Is it a good thing that the enforcer is being phased out? Is the enforcer truly extinct or will the role come back with time?