Aaron Voros isn't afraid to mix it up when things get chippy.
OK, so let’s all agree there have been a few brutal headshots this season (no need to name names) and that there is no place in the game for contact that blatantly puts a fellow player’s health at risk.
Let’s also agree the NHL’s executive vice-president (again, no need to name names), has been inconsistent at best in deciding what sort of act is worthy of suspension, and how long the culprit ends up sulking in the corner for.
But I really hope we can all agree there is always room in this game for a little sandpaper.
And with Aaron Voros, it looks like the traditionally ‘soft’ Minnesota Wild, accused of not being able to work through a playoff series grind, have found their “Mo”-jo.
You may not have heard much about this 26-year-old rookie yet, but until Jan. 5, when he was minus-3 against the Predators, Mo (his teammates joke about his resemblance to Stars forward Mike Modano) was playing on the top line for Jacques Lemaire’s Wild.
When Voros was called up in mid-November it was only supposed to be temporary, but he brought an edge to the Wild every game, which they found out quickly was exactly what they needed.
Columbus fans (hello?) may not like him much, because Voros, as he was coming out of the penalty box, laid a beautiful and clean check on Jiri Novotny, which resulted in an injury.
And knowing in today’s NHL almost no check goes without a “hey why’d ya have to do that” battle of fisticuffs, Voros didn’t shy away when Jared Boll dropped by for some face time.
The 6-foot-3, 205-pound Voros isn’t afraid to use his strong, but lanky frame to go to the net, either, and has banged in seven goals on his way to an unanticipated 13 points in 27 games.
He’s cooled off production-wise lately and with Mikko Koivu, who was out with a broken leg, coming back into the lineup, Voros will likely be bumped back down to the third or fourth line.
But Lemaire has shown he is willing to give Voros a chance and has said he doesn’t want to put Pavol Demitra and Marian Gaborik on a line together again yet. That could give Voros a few more games to work his way back up the depth chart.
Regardless of what line he’s on, Voros plays a physically exciting game and is exactly the type of worker the Wild needs to become a team you don’t want to face come playoff time.
You always have to be a little skeptical when a player is having a career season in the last year of a contract, but the Dallas Stars didn’t hesitate to invest $5 million a season in Mike Ribeiro.
With a rising salary cap and the unrestricted free agent market for centers looking bare, you have to wonder what the Islanders’ Mike Comrie might be able to scoop up.
And I’m sure we all agree it wouldn’t be much of a surprise if he decided to test those waters.
Rory Boylen is THN.com's web content specialist. His blog appears Thursdays.
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