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The Montreal Canadiens have a new approach to fighting

Mar 1, 2012, 11:26 AM EDT

Staubitz Fight

Interesting piece from the Globe and Mail on what Brad Staubitz represents for the Montreal Canadiens.

Staubitz, 27, was claimed off waivers from Minnesota at the trade deadline. Prior to joining the Habs, Staubitz had eight goals, 10 assists and 432 penalty minutes in 196 career games — and upon donning the bleu, blanc et rouge, he racked up 17 more PIM in his first game against Tampa Bay.

In case you were wondering, those penalties weren’t for hooking and/or interference. Staubitz likes to chuck knuckles — he’s fought 45 times since making his NHL debut in 2008-09 — and his Habs debut featured him defending teammate Alexei Emelin (who was jumped by Tampa’s Ryan Malone) and a spirited tilt with Lightning tough guy Pierre-Cedric Labrie.

“That’s a big part of my game,” Staubitz said. “I’m going to stick up for my teammates.”

The Staubitz acquisition represents a change in Montreal’s approach to on-ice retribution. The team hasn’t employed a legitimate enforcer since Georges Laraque was released midway through his three-year, $4.5 million deal — Travis Moen has been the de facto fighter ever since, but he’s a middleweight at best.

Head coach Randy Cunneyworth sees the value in retaining a heavyweight.

“Nobody will admit it openly, but I think I can admit it makes a team more cohesive when you’ve got that element,” he explained. “Players can back up certain actions on the ice. The other team knows, players of that nature can even out things or just not allow things of that nature to go on.

“It makes everybody a little bit more physical, a little bit braver to some extent. Nobody’s going to admit that personally, but I think I’m allowed to, and that’s the element we’re trying to create, but it’s more about a team toughness.”

GM Pierre Gauthier wouldn’t go as far as Cunneyworth (calling it “an adjustment” rather than a philosophy change) but several Habs players were on board with the increase in team toughness.

“I love it, I think [Staubitz is] a great acquisition,” said RW Ryan White. “He does his job well.”

  1. abrienza428 - Mar 1, 2012 at 11:30 AM

    Hypothetical question: If he leaves the bench to join a fight between his teammates at practice (normal occurrence in Montreal), does he still get suspended?

  2. sportsfreak13 - Mar 1, 2012 at 11:40 AM

    They must of all went to see the movie goon together. Hey if you can’t beat them on the scoreboard, beat them with your fists I guess.

  3. lordstanley65 - Mar 1, 2012 at 12:00 PM

    You’re right. They had to do something to light a fire under that team. Too bad they didn’t focus on scoring goals,instead…

  4. itsallniceonice - Mar 1, 2012 at 12:05 PM

    I wonder if he’ll protect his teammates from Subban too.

    • danphipps01 - Mar 1, 2012 at 4:14 PM

      Lord knows someone needs to. Hal Gill can’t just step in front of him and absorb his pitiful slaps anymore. The whole locker room is living in terror, I tell you!

  5. duckandabluesailor - Mar 1, 2012 at 2:10 PM

    I guess lacking a goon on the team is why the wings have been so terrible for the last twenty years.

    • danphipps01 - Mar 1, 2012 at 4:13 PM

      That’s not a fair comparison. They can easily compensate by unleashing the Kronwall and thoroughly ruining some poor bastard’s day. Granted, that doesn’t explain the full twenty, but it’s something to bear in mind, yes? =D

  6. taytay099 - Mar 1, 2012 at 5:59 PM

    I heard that the Habs’ new method to winning fights is to turtle and claim your jaw is held together by metal plates.

  7. lordstanley65 - Mar 1, 2012 at 6:54 PM

    Heh…how is that new?

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