Wait a minute, you’re thinking. Isn’t Kelly Chase retired? How the hell does a retired guy get to be Goon of the Week? He may be retired, but Chase still gets to be the Goon of the Week after his lengthy appearance on a St. Louis sports talk radio show earlier this week. Chase spent his playing career (mostly with Hartford and St. Louis) as an undersized but always game agitator/enforcer, never unwilling to drop the gloves with substantially larger guys. If you don’t remember, or just want to reminisce, here’s a fun clip:
In his radio appearance (a link to the entire show can be found here–the fourth segment is the most relevant), Chase naturally discussed fighting and the lost tradition of enforcers in the NHL. Asked who the toughest guy he played against, Chase unhesitatingly responded: “Joe Kocur. That guy had hands like phone books.” Chase noted that if, by chance, you happened to beat Kocur, “then it’s best of seven. Who wants that?”
Chase won extra points from me for taking a shot at Gary Bettman and his anti-fighting policies.
Gary Bettman wants to fine you (for “taking liberties” with a skill player). Oh, he does? Well, let me tell you something. When I went to run at Steve Yzerman, I already knew what the fine was. The fine was Joe Kocur and Bob Probert.
Of course, Chase was much more professional and polite about it than me (although that’s not exactly a high hurdle to clear). Chase also made the salient point that having a couple of goons dressed every game makes every guy on the ice tougher. He used the example of the Ducks, who dress Parros and Moen every game, which in turn allows skill players like Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf to be more physical, because they know someone will have their back.
So, for the trip down Memory Lane, and a salute to the days when the average NHL game was much more fun to watch, Kelly Chase is the MYFO Goon of the Week(or so).