March 15, 2011 - Jeff Blair Show
"I have been a lone wolf on this one for years and all of a sudden it has become front-page news. I've been screaming murder over some of these hits. You get these goons, that you pay peanuts for, and the guy has got one sole purpose - that's to go out and try to decimate your elite players."
"Some goon out there who probably makes one tenth of that salary is paid to go out, and like I said are paid to go out and do a deliberate hit. They should not be playing hockey, just get rid of them. It happened in Ottawa in the OHL, they used to have this goon out there that used to go and maim people. I think he's in jail now or something, I won't mention his name. But these guys exist you just got to get rid of them."
Q. Have you given a mandate to your GM to make sure that a player of limited or no talent who's only agenda and reason, raison d'etre if you will for being on the hockey club is to be a goon. Have you said to Murray - don't bring those guys in?
"Yes, without question. I'll tell you what, we only once had one, call it quote a goon. You have to have muscle on your team, that's not where we're going with this. But you cannot have guys who's sole purpose in lifeis to maim other players. And when it comes down to playoff time it's that much more important, I think at the end cool heads will prevail, they will get this thing fixed and hopefully it's out of our game."
"If it’s a goon out there, he shouldn’t be playing hockey. They should go into the UFC. They have beautiful nice cages and everything else."
And today this happened...
Filatov did return to practice, so appears bullet dodged.
Now I'm about as fierce a critic of Melnyk playing GM as you'll find. But for all Eugene's talk of being a "lone wolf" on violence in hockey it appears to be nothing more than lip service. How does one square Melnyk stating he's given Murray a mandate not to hire goons...and less than 8 weeks later Lessard is re-upped. It's incoherent, but I'd sure love to see him try to explain it.