Enforcer deaths an eye-opener for current Hawks


Enforcer deaths an eye-opener for current Hawks

Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2011
Posted: 10:57 a.m.

By Tracey Myers Blackhawks InsiderFollow @TraMyersCSNREAD: Sharp to miss 3-4 weeks after surgeryREAD: Roster mirrors 2010 Cup champs?WATCH: Younger Toews joins Blackhawks

Andrew Brunette was as touched by the NHL players deaths this summer as much as anyone. It stung that much more because he was a former teammate of Derek Boogaard, one of three enforcers who left us way too early.

The deaths of Boogaard, Rick Rypien and Wade Belak in such a short time span made it clear: being an NHL fighter isnt just a physically tough job, but mentally and emotionally as well.

And this summers tragic consequences can no longer be ignored.

We cant just sweep it under the carpet. Its something we really need to take a hard look at, the Chicago Blackhawks forward said Monday. We have to open the lines of communication and players have to be willing to listen and speak.

And therein lies the most important lesson of this tragic summer: if a player feels hes in trouble, I need help needs to be part of his vernacular.

No, its not easy to admit, whether its an NHL tough guy or anyone else who has a certain level of pride and would rather just put the stiff upper lip forward. But the consequences of silence, or help not coming in time, has proven deadly.

Blackhawks enforcer John Scott, also a former Boogaard teammate, has struggled with the fighters life. He said his wife is his sounding board but that doesnt stop his family from worrying. But talk, he said, is a big help.

It just comes with the job and you have to talk about it, he said. Wade (Belak) sounded like a fun-loving guy. But worry and fear gets to you, and I guess he couldnt talk about it, let it out. Its better to talk than to keep it balled up inside. But its something to keep your eye on. Obviously I dont want it to happen to me.

New Blackhawks forward Jamal Mayers doesnt put himself into the enforcer category if Im in a fight its more a reactionary thing when Im mad or upset. He said he cant imagine the toll it takes on those who rely on fighting to stay in the lineup.

Those guys have to fight when theyre not mad and to think about it the night before, I dont know. That sounds like a tough job, said Mayers. Its awful. You think about them during this time and it certainly raises a lot of questions as to the Why?

Three players are gone too soon, the Why? for them unanswered. Current and former enforcers can learn from this anyone that carries a mental or emotional burden of any kind can learn from this. Talking can be healing. It can also be lifesaving.

The awareness level of players has to be much higher than it has been, Brunette said. This has been a real eye-opener.

Tracey Myers is's Blackhawks Insider. Follow Tracey on Twitter @TramyersCSN for up-to-the-minute Hawks information.

NHL Draft Profile: F Filip Zadina

NHL Draft Profile: F Filip Zadina

From June 17-21, Charlie Roumeliotis will profile two prospects per day — 10 total (five forwards, five defensemen) — leading up to the NHL Draft.​

Filip Zadina

Position: Forward
Height: 6-foot-0
Weight: 195 pounds
Shoots: Left

Scouting report:

"He's got the puck skills, is a good skater, and is a guy with some high-end offensive talent. He wants to get right in there and play where it's hard and where you get rewarded. When he gets that puck on his stick, he wants to bury it."

NHL player comparable: Marian Hossa

Fit for Blackhawks:

You know who the Blackhawks missed last year? Hossa. It's not mentioned enough when analyzing what went wrong in 2017-18. 

Well, Zadina is a player who's got the upside of Hossa and is one of a few prospects who could potentially crack the NHL lineup this upcoming season. The scouting report above is all you need to know about Zadina's style of play, and Blackhawks fans surely nodded through the whole thing because it's exactly what the team is looking for.

However, this is a case where the Blackhawks would have to trade up to snag him if they want him, because there's little chance he'll be on the board when the eighth pick rolls around. And it's probably unlikely they would do so, given what it may take to move up a few spots.

NHL Draft Profile: D Evan Bouchard

NHL Draft Profile: D Evan Bouchard

From June 17-21, Charlie Roumeliotis will profile two prospects per day — 10 total (five forwards, five defensemen) — leading up to the NHL Draft.​

Evan Bouchard

Position: Defenseman
Height: 6-foot-2
Weight: 193 pounds
Shoots: Right

Scouting report:

"A highly intelligent defenseman with exceptional vision and offensive instincts. He reads the play very well and his passing ability allows him to be a constant threat in his team's transition game. He's one of the top offensive-defenseman in the Canadian Hockey League and magician-like when quarterbacking the power play."

NHL player comparable: John Carlson/Alex Pietrangelo

Fit for Blackhawks:

At 6-foot-2, 193 pounds, Bouchard is one of the most NHL-ready defensemen in this year's draft and that could be appetizing for a team like the Blackhawks, who are looking for immediate help on the blue line. But Bouchard is a right-handed shot, and drafting him would add a third high-end right-handed shot defenseman to the organization, along with prospects Henri Jokiharju and Ian Mitchell.

You can never have enough of them, but there's only room for three before somebody would have to play on their off hand and that would mean the third would be playing on the bottom pairing. All three of these players have Top 4 potential.

Still, that may not even come into play here. The Blackhawks will seek to take the best available player, like they always have. And if they feel it's Bouchard, they'll do it.