Hockey has come a long way since the days of Philadelphia's Broad Street Bullies, and it's clutch and grab style of play that used to bring on alot of fisticuffs, or the odd bench clearing brawl, but since League Commisioner Gary Bettman has stepped in, people feel that the way he has changed the game, is not only creating a higher tempo, higher scoring game, but also eliminating another aspect of the game that has been around since it started.
There are 2 arguements to both sides, some feel NHL Enforcers have no role in the game anymore, and that they only bring barbaric action to the ice, for example Jesse Boulerice of the Philadelphia Flyers' unprovoked cross-check to the face of Canucks centre Ryan Kesler 2 weeks ago, But on the other hand, some feel that an Enforcer is a good guy to have around when games start getting a little out of hand, or chippy as you may call it.
I'm on the side that feels NHL enforcers still do serve a good purpose in the NHL, goalies are always going to get run, and star players are always going to be targetted, players make millions being agitators against top players, and there needs to be a policeman out there sometimes to make sure that people aren't going to get seriously injured. With this i'm not saying it's good to have a big guy on the ice to beat on a much smaller agitator, but if the agitator can dish it out, he should be prepared to take it.
If there was a happy medium with Enforcers, more players such as the Phoenix Coyotes Danny Carcillo, who is no stranger to dropping the mitts, but can also contribute offensively, then i think the NHL would be better suited, instead of the headhunters like former New York Rangers Dale Purinton, who was a repeat offender when it came to suspensions.
The days of Bob Probert and Stu Grimson are long gone, not alot of teams out there have one or more "Heavy's" to square off at centre ice with an opposing team's muscle, but it is still nice to see a good toe-to-toe bout with meaning in a close, high tempo matchup, it just adds to the entertainment, aslong as nobody gets seriously injured, I believe fighting in hockey will be here to stay, aslong as the NHL can weed out the REAL goons.