Thursday, September 23, 2010

Enter McGrattan?

Please. Take one look at that mug, and tell me you wouldn't love to see him in Black & Gold (not black & yellow Mr. Recchi!). And before you go rushing to the defense of Shawn Thornton, be aware that I am a HUGE Thornton fan. Which is actually partly why I like the idea of McGrattan being around in the first place. OK, I can see the confused look on your faces now. Let me explain.

Shawn Thornton, as his 21 fighting majors last year will attest, is more than willing to drop the gloves for his teammates. Which is great, I respect that greatly. But the thing is, Thornton is also a pretty decent fourth liner. Great energy guy, extremely popular with teammates and fans alike. So, as much as I appreciate him handling the rough stuff, so the likes of Lucic don't have to (there will be more on Lucic later in the week), I want to see him be able to do LESS of that this year.
Enter McGrattan.

Again, no disrespect intended, but many, if not most, of Thornton's fights were of the "staged" variety. The gentlemanly type, where both parties agree ahead of time that there will be a fair and reasonable bout after the puck drops etc etc. Screw that. I think we can all agree that a spontaneous "what the F did you just do to my teammate!?" reactionary fight is much more enjoyable, and effective as a deterrent. The B's need to have at least the threat of some lunatic hopping the boards to keep the cheap stuff to a minimum.
Enter McGrattan.

Now I realize roster space is limited, and "wasting" a spot for a "goon" seems a luxury in today's NHL. And I agree. To a point. I don't see a McGrattan type dressing every night. Perhaps he's the spare, sitting in the press box most nights. Maybe he toils away in the AHL, protecting all the young, small high end prospects they will have on the roster. But if, and more likely, when, things heat up with the big club and some of the hammerheads in the East, he gets inserted into the lineup. If someone gets dinged up and needs a night or two off, he gets a shot to play a little. However they decide to use him, just having access to him could pay dividends. And it isn't like he's going to cost much.

Why the need all of a sudden for this kind of guy you ask? Simple. Look at the Eastern Conference this year. Where did all the tough guys end up? Yep, right here in the East, predominantly with some of the Bruins bigger rivals. Starting with the 6'7" Derek Boogard signing with the Rangers. As skilled a fighter Thornton is, I'd much rather he take a pass on having to deal with the Boogy Man.
Enter McGrattan.

Colton Orr, one of the hardest punchers in the game remains in Toronto. That rivalry is only getting more and more heated. And with the return (luckily) of a healthy Mike Komisarek, there will be even more fuel thrown on that fire (I'll delve into my deep hatred of "Komi" in a future post as well). If Lucic or whoever has an issue with Komisarek, you know Orr will try to intercede on the cowards behalf. The B's need someone to stop that.
Enter McGrattan.

Jody Shelley joins the goon squad known as the Flyers this year. As if the likes of Carcillo, Hartnell and company aren't yappy and annoying enough, now they have a legit heavyweight around to back them up. Thornton matches up ok against Shelley, but from a talent perspective, it's just not a good trade for the Bruins.
Enter McGrattan.

The Islanders brought in Zenon Konopka, he of the league leading THIRTY THREE fighting majors from last year. Konopka is not a good fighter. At all. He's the modern day Andrei Nazarov (I just threw up in my mouth a little typing that name). Sure, he sucks at fighting, but he'll do it constantly. He also can't play hockey. Do we want our "good" players wasting their time with this side show?
You got it, Enter McGrattan.

That's just a quick pass at some of the more prominent tough guys the B's will be facing regularly in the Eastern Conference. The way I look at it, if you allow a guy like McGrattan to worry about those types, it frees up the Lucic's, Thornton's, Chara's, Stuart's etc to deal with the "regular" dust ups against guys that can actually play. While allowing them to focus more on production on the ice, not spending half the night in the box. In no way does this mean I want or expect anyone else on the roster to turn into the run & hide type like a Komisarek. Every man on that roster has to be accountable and stand up for themselves and each other. But having a designated, go-to guy for the "main events" is the best option. Enter McGrattan.

Granted, it is comical to watch McGrattan skate....and trust me, if you saw him at camp, you'd appreciate just how hysterical it is. During drills, he looked less like he was skating and trailing the play, than he looked like a leg breaker chasing a guy through the park that was late paying his bookie. As awkward as he looks, he actually picks 'em up & puts 'em down pretty well. He can be a somewhat serviceable player, in a very limited role. Julien has mentioned it himself, that he's actually pretty quick on his feet. He's definitely not as good a player as Thornton, which is fine. I don't want or expect him to replace him.

But....isn't it possible that the addition of a McGrattan (and Jeremy Reich for that matter) could serve as great motivation for Shawn? As big a fan of his as I am, we have to admit that he had an off year last season. Again, the 21 fights don't impress me. His overall game, like nearly everyone's, was far better two seasons ago. The message being, "if all you're going to add is staged fights, we have a guy waiting in the wings that can do that for far less money". Do I think it will ever come to that? No, because Thornton has too much pride to suffer through another off year. But the B's can help him get back to form by providing him some much needed back up. Preferably in the form of a guy that would bring "crazy" back to Boston.
Enter McGrattan.
Puttin' on the foil,

No comments:

Post a Comment