Leveling the playing field ... literally

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St. John's -

Last time I checked, it was solid defense and good goaltending that wins championships. Apparently in the West Coast Senior Hockey League, all it takes is a tough guy ready to drop the mitts. How else can you explain the rationale of the majority of West Coast teams who use their import cards to bring in hired goons. Take the Grand Falls-Windsor Cataracts for instance. This year two of their three import spots are held by certifiable enforcers, Halifax native Triston Manson and Quebec Citys Robert Bissonette. Both are graduates of the Quebec major junior league, where Manson wracked up 232 minutes in 120 games and Bissonnette 1,260 minutes in the sin bin in 241 games, an average of one fighting major per contest. So far, the frenchman has 37 penalty minutes in just four games for the Cats. Down the road in Corner Brook its a similar situation. Imports Nic Policelli and Roger Maxwell lead the team in penalty minutes with 65 and 58 respectively, both over 11 games. Like their tough guy brethren in Grand Falls-Windsor, both have spent a good portion of their careers in the box. Policelli had 777 minutes over four years with the OHLs Belleville Bulls and Kitchener Rangers while the 34-year-old Maxwell has made a career as a tough guy, maxing out with 388 in one 40-game season with the Long Beach Ice Dogs of the lowly U.S. based West Coast Hockey League. The Clarenville Caribous arent much better, choosing to use imports on notorious scrappers Travis Chapman, David Victor and Richard Paul. Deer Lake are the only team out West not wasting import cards on fighters. But with Darren and Guy Langdon in the mix, who needs them? I love a fight in hockey as much as the nest guy, but I think its pretty foolish for teams out West to be flying in guys every other weekend simply to pound on some member of the opposing team. As far as Im concerned, it doesnt make sense to spend that much money for a guy to sit in the penalty box or on the bench. Really, its just a matter of keeping up with the Joness and keeping the fans satisfied. If the Caribous brass brings in Goon A for the season, the other teams cant stand idly by and see their players intimidated on the ice. The playing field, it seems, must be leveled.

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