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Talented Anaheim Ducks runaway leaders in NHL in fighting majors

The family-oriented entertainment corporation might be a little red-faced seeing Anaheim lead the NHL with a whopping 53 fighting majors, 22 ahead of the next-closest club, Nashville.

Then again, Disney never owned a Ducks team that was this good, either.

"I make no apologies for it," Anaheim GM Brian Burke said Thursday. "That's the way our team is built. If you're going to come into our barn you better be ready for a square dance.

"We made a conscious decision to protect our skill players, provide them with an environment where they can better succeed."

The Pittsburgh Penguins should maybe take note. Sid The Kid could use this kind of protection of late instead of the rough treatment he's received.

Any team taking liberties with top Ducks scorers Teemu Selanne or Andy McDonald this season have paid the price.

"Absolutely," Ducks tough guy George Parros said Thursday. "We've got plenty of guys in the lineup that are willing to keep you accountable . . .

"Right now, I think our (skill) guys feel pretty comfortable. They don't have to worry about being pushed around or intimidated."

Leading the fight brigade is the heavyweight Parros, the sophomore NHL enforcer second in the league with 13 fighting majors, followed by teammates Shane O'Brien at 11, Shawn Thornton at nine and Travis Moen at eight. Sean O'Donnell, Chris Pronger and Francois Beauchemin can also go if need be, but with Parros and the boys taking care of things, they really don't need to this season.

Are the Ducks today's version of the Broad Street Bullies?

"It's the reincarnation, eh? I think it's great," said Parros. "There's guys on this team that are willing to step up on every line. Everyone that's out there is willing to protect each other. We're team tough and we're physically imposing.

"I think it's a great combination and obviously we can play the game quite well. It's the first time I've been on a team like this."

Parros, as the club heavyweight, is the face of that team toughness. And he's hard to miss on highlight films with his self-described porn star moustache.

"Very powerful and manly," is how Parros described it.

He stood out even more earlier than season when he had the long hair to go with it but he cut his hair and donated it to Locks of Love - a charitable organization that redistributes donated hair and makes wigs for children with cancer going through chemotherapy.

"It's a good cause," said Parros, who has done it for a few years now.

That soft side might surprise some but NHL tough guys are often the most popular players in dressing rooms. And they're often pretty smart, too. Parros, for example, is a Princeton grad. Don't argue with a tough guy with an Ivy League education.

Parros, meanwhile, disputed comments made by fellow tough guy Georges Laraque in November when the Phoenix Coyotes winger made headlines after telling The Canadian Press: "I know that within two years there won't be any fighters in the league anymore. Within two years, I'm serious, because this is how it's going. More and more teams don't have fighters."

Laraque's theory was the new NHL was making it too difficult for tough guys to hold down a roster spot.

"I read that and I have to disagree," said Parros. "I think that there's a part for it in the game even though they have phased it out a bit. I think where we're at right now if where it's going to be, we have guys in this league that can fight and play. There's still a need for it."

At least in Anaheim.


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