PITTSBURGH (93-7 The Fan) – I had it over the weekend.
Had it with the people — Penguins fans, really — who kept on yammering the same refrain. It went something like this, “Ryan Reaves will never be a deterrent for what happens to Sid, this is a dumb trade.”
OK, that’s your opinion.
Mine couldn’t be any more divergent.
You see, when the Penguins traded for Reaves on draft day — giving up the 31st overall pick and Oskar Sundqvist for the bruiser — I was elated.
I was ecstatic.
I finally understood that Jim Rutherford, like myself, had grown tired of Sidney Crosby getting the hell beat out of him, even as the best player in the world was able to manage back-to-back Stanley Cup victories through all of it.
But back to that deterrent stuff …
For the people who claim Reaves and his ilk aren’t a deterrent to the physical stuff while he’s out on his icy patrol, go ahead and envision a scenario for me, because I know I have already played it again and again in my head a million times since the trade.
Let’s say it is Brandon Dubinsky or Marc Staal or someone such as that repeatedly hacking the back of Crosby’s neck and back with their stick during a game or playoff series.
Will such an occurrence go on as long as it formerly did now that the Penguins employ Reaves? I say it won’t.
Will three crosschecks to the back of Sid turn into a night-long beating from Dubinsky the way we have sadly grown accustomed to, or will Reaves quickly step in the next time he and Dubinsky are on the ice and put an end to it? I think we will see the latter in this hypothetical, yet all-too-real scenario.
So that’s where a man like this is a deterrent, not just some retroactive form of justice that too many fans are trying to make him into.
Reaves also set career highs in goals and points this past season and can be a suitable forechecker in a bottom six role for the Penguins, or any team.
But no one wants to talk about that. Everyone, instead, wants to talk about his penchant for the rough stuff.
So I will entertain you in that regard. I will go there with you.
And you know what, as far as that side of hockey is concerned, if Jim Rutherford has decided — and I think it is long overdue — to get someone to protect Sidney Crosby, he might as well go out and get the guy best suited for the job. That guy who was attainable was Reaves.
And, make no mistake, Reaves isn’t just a man who deals in retribution; he’s also a man who serves as a deterrent.
Colin Dunlap is a featured columnist at CBSPittsburgh.com. He can also be heard weekdays from 5:40 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Sports Radio 93-7 “The Fan.” You can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out his bio here.