Jeffrey Lutz' CHL Report from the Wichita Eagle


Fight the feeling


According to forward Aaron Boogaard, Thunder coach Kevin McClelland has issued a directive to his players during most of the season: no fighting.

At face value, it’s a seemingly strange command for a team that has been inconsistent with its physical play this season. But McClleand’s message goes deeper — the Thunder can play physically without fighting, can intimidate opponents without dropping the gloves.

Telling the Thunder not to fight is essentially telling the team to hit more aggressively, to never miss an opportunity to announce your presence to an opposing player. Since losing enforcer Erick Lizon to an AHL promotion, the Thunder has lost games in which seemingly inferior teams have proven tougher. A new perspective on its aspirations may help Wichita find a new energy.

“(McClelland) doesn’t care if nobody fights the rest of the year,” Boogaard said. “He said he prefers no one to fight, so just go out there and hit guys. Just because you’re hitting guys doesn’t mean you have to fight them.

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