Decoding The Code

Eagan author discusses "the unwritten rules of fighting and retaliation in the NHL"

CP: How has the role of the enforcer changed since the lockout?

Kevin Hoffman

Bernstein: It changed immensely, but getting rid of the red line was the biggest thing. Because it made it to where most enforcers are defensemen—they're not typically the fast skaters because they're bigger. They have to be able to cover a lot more real estate now. The goon is gone, he's dead, he's the way of the dodo bird. Today's enforcer has got to be able to take a regular shift. He's gotta contribute, he can't be a liability. He's gotta kill a penalty, he's got to do something. The salary cap is another big reason. You can't afford to have a lot of these guys now doing one-dimensional things. So that's a luxury teams can't afford anymore.

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