There’s no question that the role of the enforcer in hockey is starting to feel as relevant as folding maps and landlines. But lets not put these on-ice bodyguards in the garage with the rusting Smith-Corona typewriter and dust-collecting VCR just yet. Concussion studies in major sports, premature deaths of enforcer-type players and the NHL’s stricter penalties, including fines and suspensions, on guilty offenders who instigate brawls and dole out head hits have all contributed to a dramatic reduction of fighting over the past decade. Also, mandated visors have created a chilling effect on ice-skating pugilists who are more apt to break their hand than inflict punishment. But don’t tell Florida Panthers president of hockey operations and general manager Dale Tallon or new coach Bob Boughner there isn’t a need to have at least one player on the team that’s willing to drop the gloves to protect his teammates who are more skilled with their sticks than fists. That’s why a month after toughie Shawn Thornton retired and went from punching faces to pushing pencils as the Panthers’ vice president of business operations, Tallon signed former San Jose Sharks forward Michael Haley on July 1 to his first one-way, two-year deal worth $1.65 million. Haley played the past two seasons for then Sharks assistant Boughner, who was considered an enforcer with 106 fights in his NHL career.
Panthers' newest enforcer Michael Haley is more than just a bodyguard
Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel | Jul 24