Is it just me, or should the Toronto Maple Leafs consider giving enforcer Wade Belak more ice time?
Every time I've watched a Leafs game this season, I've noticed decreased intensity, a lack of hitting, and overall, very little excitement.
But when Belak has put in all six minutes of his ice time, I've found him to be effective and energetic, bringing the much-needed grit and toughness this team has been lacking for the first half of the season.
Wade Belak is a character player who brings lots to the table—whether Paul Maurice believes it or not. Wasn't it strange that when the Leafs were on their winning streak, Belak was in the lineup, and before that, when they were on a losing streak, he wasn't?
Enforcers in the NHL doesn't get the recognition they deserve. Keep in mind that if it wasn't for the Belaks and the McGrattans, star players around the league like Sundin and Spezza wouldn't be able to do their jobs.
Wade has become a fan favorite because he's a comical guy, and received his reputation because he wears his heart on his sleeve night after night. Since Gary Roberts, Shayne Corson, and Bryan Marchment departed, the Leafs have lost the edge and in-your-face style of hockey Toronto was once known for.
Remembering the 2000-2001 playoffs series against the Islanders, and later years' battles with the Sens, makes the fans realize that the toughness the Leafs once had is now lost.
We need to see more of Belak. He is one Maple Leaf who deserves more playing time.