06 November 2011
During last night's very fulfilling 400-2 win over the Blue Jackets, Wayne Simmonds stood up for his younger teammates so that Derek Dorsett could move onto ruining shutouts, getting stitched up, and other more worthwhile pursuits.
Simmonds' acumen in deciding when to fight and then his skill during those fights has really surprised me this season. I knew he would shed the mittens from time to time, but I didn't know he'd be any good at it. His 3 years in LA were marked with draws against the likes of Andrew Alberts, Colin Fraser, and Mike Brown, as well as short, not terribly exciting wins against big-time brawlers like Max Pacioretty, Jeff Woywitka, and Mark Fistric.
But this season Simmonds has taken on some fairly tough customers in David Clarkson, Barrett Jackman, and last night, Derek Dorsett.
Dorsett, by far the most experienced pugilist that Simmonds has fought in his pro career, had already been sent off for trying to start something with James van Riemsdyk. I suppose Simmonds got the impression that Dorsett wouldn't stop until he was able to demonstrate his dedication to his teammates and future coaching staff. So Simmonds obliged. And busted up Dorsett's face.
There were two fights after this one, but Dorsett was the big threat. The guy who was going to start trouble if real trouble was going to be started. And Simmonds stepped in for the preemptive strike. And scored a big win.
Here's hoping Simmonds' continues to step in when needed, providing the kind of team toughness that allows the Flyers to ice the most skilled lineup possible, night in night out.
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