In 1977, this quote, “Puttin on the Foil,” became very popular to the hockey world and to this day, SlapShot is still a cult favorite amongst diehard hockey fanatics.
The Pittsburgh Penguins have been out muscled the past two playoff seasons by the Philadelphia Flyers and this year in the Boston Bruins. The Pens are loaded with offensive and defensive talent. However, the Pens really need to get bigger, meaner, and quite honestly need to add a goon or two to police other teams.
In 2011, The Pittsburgh Penguins signed, Steve MacIntyre, who was one of the NHL’s most capable bodyguards. In his first game with the Pens, MacIntyre sent a clear message to other teams around the NHL when he knocked out, Raitis Ivanans. Ivanans has not played since. Players like MacIntyre create a presence on the ice that is a deterrent force to protect players such as Crosby and Malkin. Gretzky had it with McSorley and Lemieux had it with Caufield. It’s time for the Pens to give their superstars the appropriate protection with the NHL enforcer.
Jamal Mayers has been around the NHL for 16 years and knows his way around the ice as he is a solid two way player. Mayers is a solid checking forward standing at 6’2 weighing 220 lbs. Mayers is a gritty player who would give the Pens some toughness it sorely lacked this past season. In 2013, Mark Fraser didn’t just start fights, he finished them. The 6’4, 230 pound defenseman quickly made a name for himself in a Maple Leafs Jersey with his quick hands when he dropped the gloves. However, Fraser is more than just a brawler, he ranked third on the team in penalty kill average, he ranked second on the team with 153 hits, and he was first on the Maple Leafs with 102 blocked shots. Mark Fraser would be a younger, cheaper version of Douglas Murray with a lot left in the tank.
The Pittsburgh Penguins could go with these players who have decent skill sets or they could go out and sign a true NHL enforcer in Brian McGrattan. McGrattan like MacIntyre would create that presence on the ice as he has built a solid reputation for himself, particularly during the 2004-05 season when he established an all-time league record in the AHL for penalty minutes in a single season (551). In his first season with the Ottawa Senators, he fought one of the leagues top enforcers in Tie Domi, who had to leave the game with a facial injury. McGrattan would know his role and would rise to it very well, he would know that he would not crack the lineup every night, however he would be a great bodyguard for opposing teams such as the Philadelphia Flyers and the Boston Bruins.
It’s time for the Pens to get back to old time hockey and, “Puttin on the Foil.”