Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, New York Rangers Brian Boyle punching the Senators superstar Erik Karlsson in the head time and time again showing how the Rangers would beat Karlsson out of the series, until Matt Carkner had something to say about it. Love it or hate it fighting still has a very important place in hockey and the Senators watched their biggest fists in Zenon Konopka (Minnesota) and Carkner (Islanders) walk away on July 1 without any attempt or plan to replace their roles.
While Bryan Murray and the Senators decided on going down a different path then the fist fuelled season which led them to the playoffs, the rest of the Northeast division did not. Toronto added size in James Van Riemsdyk, Montreal brought in the leagues leader in fights Brandon Prust as well as Colby Armstrong, Buffalo toughened up through trade acquiring Steve Ott and Free Agency with John Scott and the Boston Bruins are well, the Boston Bruins, who hit the ice every game with beating their opponents up in mind.
Of course fighting isn’t everything in the sport, but it is important to have that ace up your sleeve who can do what needs to be done when it comes to protecting the likes of Erik Karlsson and Jason Spezza. Unfortunately at this time Ottawa does not have a power like Carkner who will go toe to toe with the likes of Milan Lucic or a guy like Zenon Konopka who is not afraid to sacrifice ice time in order to help out his team. Perhaps Bryan Murray isn’t done his shopping, but if he is there will be a few Senators players who may want to take boxing lessons this summer to keep up with the rest of the Northeast division.