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Fleeting life of the enforcer in new NHL
Jim Matheson, The Edmonton Journal
Sunday, November 19, 2006 Article tools


Which is why Anaheim Mighty Ducks GM Brian Burke just gave up a second-round draft pick for slugger George Parros, a bright kid who graduated Princeton with a degree in economics but decided he wasn't interested in working for his dad's toy company.

Parros may be not be the NHL's toughest guy -- that's still Georges Laraque, who went after Derek Boogaard and beat him -- but it's Burke's longstanding feeling that players need a night watchman on patrol in case trouble breaks out.

That goes against the grain of today's NHL where many teams -- Edmonton, Calgary, Detroit, Vancouver, Dallas, Colorado, Carolina -- are choosing not to dress a heavyweight. But Burke wanted one after Todd Fedoruk broke his cheekbone when Boogaard nailed him.

Enter Parros.

"There's a split amongst general managers on this where some feel team toughness is enough," said Burke. " Me? There's physical contact. You need to back it up. I had (Donald) Brashear when I was in Vancouver. I had Jimmy McKenzie when I was in Hartford. We had the Fridge (Fedoruk) in Anaheim ... in fact, he was the first player I traded for when I got the job here."

Burke has one of the two best teams in the NHL today with the Sabres, and he could probably go with Travis Moen and Shane O'Brien as his designated policemen, but neither is a true heavy.

Fedoruk often played with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry. Parros will now ride shotgun with the kids. He played six minutes in his first game.

"Fedoruk was a 20-point player for us. Everybody loved him. I don't see Parros being a three- to four-minute a night guy with us," said Burke, who has a number of smaller guys (Andy McDonald, Ryan Shannon, Chris Kunitz, Todd Marchant) and highly skilled, but not overly aggressive, stars like Scott Niedermayer, Teemu Selanne and sophomore Getzlaf. In his mind, they need to feel free to do their thing, unmolested. It's old-school, but that's Burke. Who can argue his success?

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