Originally written on New England Sports React  |  Last updated 11/19/14
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John Scott is not the only fighter who has been signed by a Northeast Division team.

Apparently the rest of the Northeast Division is tired of being pushed around by the Boston Bruins because they have been signing fighters nonstop since free agency opened on July first.  We all know the Bruins do not need help in the toughness category, but for the past few years their division rivals have.  Montreal is annually one of the wimpiest teams in the league, Buffalo watched their goalie get run and just stood there, and Toronto only keeps one or two tough guys on the roster.  Ottawa was the only team that could match the Bruins physically last year.  After what has happened in free agency this year though, things should be very different next season.

Lets start off with the hated Habs.  The Canadiens signed free agent winger Brandon Prust to a four year contract.  Prust played for the Rangers last season and was tied with Shawn Thornton for the league lead in fights with 22.  This was a surprising move by Montreal, when was the last time they signed the league leader in fights.  I guess they got sick of getting beat up every time they played the Bruins and did something about it.

Buffalo also added a lot of toughness this offseason.  Last year they were made famous for watching Milan Lucic run their all-star goalie Ryan Miller and doing nothing about it.  That won’t happen anymore.  They signed huge defenseman John Scott who is 6’8 and 270 lbs.  Scott can fight anyone and will probably win; he is the only one in the division who can stand up to Zdeno Chara.  The Sabres also traded for pain in the you know what, punk Steve Ott.  We all know Ott from is antics as a member of the Dallas Stars.  Ott likes to dive and cause all kinds of problems, but he will fight; something Buffalo desperately needed.

The other two teams, Ottawa and Toronto have not added any tough players yet, but they were in better shape than the Sabres and Canadiens.  Toronto has a few tough defensemen and goon Jay Rosehill to fight.  Ottawa has multiple forwards willing to drop the gloves, but they did lose Matt Carkner and Zenon Knopka who were their best fighters other than Chris Neil.

I wish the season started today because this is going to be a very exciting year.  Not only our division but overall the league has gotten tougher, especially good teams that are Cup contenders.  The Rangers got even tougher than they were last year, the New York Islanders added Matt Carkner and Eric Boulton to fight, Detroit signed Jordin Tootoo.  Fighting is going to be up next year and that makes the game much more exciting.  Division rivalries will reach the boiling point early and in some cases will spill over.  This is going to be great.

- Jonathan Duncan

 

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