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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Bonvie's last turn on ice memorable

Several final thoughts before we go into the summer sleep mode. I watched Dennis Bonvie leave the ice Tuesday, with the Calder Cup in the background, about to be awarded. He is one of the most memorable people to play, like Billie Tibbets, Fred Brathwaite and others I've written about.

It must have been painful to end his career without that ring, without that chance to hoist the cup. The enforcers are often the nicest people you meet in hockey. They are Samurai-like, living with a code that only they fully understand. It is understandable how, with the seventh man backing him, Bonvie was able to tip the games in Pennsylvania in favor of the Pens. The Wolves couldn't afford to pay attention to him because as a player he isn't a star, but they couldn't ignore him, because of the crowd.

We had a noted enforcer in Chicago several seasons ago and I remember his antics as he would head to the sin bin. It is the act and the movement of players and fans in ways that can be described, but not necessarily understood, that gives these players their power in the game.

There are purist who demand we end their reign. But the game will be poorer for it.

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