Jason Harrison – howlinhockey.com
Arizona Coyotes rookie Max Domi dropped the gloves after taking a solid hit from Marc-Edouard Vlasic during Thursday night’s matchup.
The Arizona Coyotes have a whole lot of youth in their lineup.
Conventional wisdom tells us that all that youth needs to be protected by a John Scott type to give them time to grow and mature and eventually be able to handle themselves.
In some cases, such as with incoming franchise center Dylan Strome, that is probably true.
In the case of Max Domi, however, he’s got too much of his father Tie Domi in his genes to take too much of a pounding without raising a ruckus.
Marc-Edouard Vlasic laid a pretty solid hit on Domi along the boards in the Arizona Coyotes’ offensive zone on Thursday night. Domi collapsed to the ground and stayed there for a couple of seconds.
I presume he was considering his options more than he was injured, because when he got up he went after the Sharks defender with a vengeance.
He delivered a couple of cross checks to the side of Vlasic before the defenseman squared up with him and Domi dropped the gloves and started swinging like a madman.
Max Domi delivered several shots to Marc-Edouard Vlasic’s ribs (including a few misses) before the larger Sharks player lost his balance and fell to the ice.
It was certainly a fight that looked a little more impressive in person than does it on replay, but the point of the exercise isn’t really the outcome so much as the action itself.
This is the second time in recent weeks that Domi has retaliated to a hit. The last time was when Ryan Garbutt de-cleated Oliver Ekman-Larsson late in the 3rd period of a blowout loss for the Arizona Coyotes.
In both situations, Domi has shown a pests’ mentality with his tenacious cross-checking of both Garbutt and Vlasic. That part is a little concerning, if only because it will always lead to Domi being on the losing end of whatever penalties are doled out.
On the other hand, the simple fact that Max is fighting his own battles and not backing down – even being undersized and with the Coyotes’ season all but decided – should be a boost to the locker room.
The Arizona Coyotes do not have an enforcer or anyone remotely capable of filling that role on their roster. They shipped that guy to Montreal in a shady transaction that netted them a defenseman who was suspended for violating the NHL’s banned substance policy.
The boys have been having to fend for themselves each night because Shane Doan can’t fight every battle for them. For that matter, Shane Doan may not even be there next year. We don’t know yet.
The initiative of Max Domi defending himself and his teammates despite his obvious size disadvantage could prove contagious, however.
In today’s NHL you can live without an enforcer. In today’s NHL you can’t live without the man beside you willing to step up and take (or throw) a few hits for you, however. That part hasn’t changed.
The Arizona Coyotes have discovered throughout 2015-16 Max Domi is 110% invested in this team and it’s success. And he’ll do whatever it takes to crest the mountain.