October 29, 2012
Hatchet Man: Derian Hatcher
Derian Hatcher was an imposing force.
He was huge at 6'5" and 225lbs, and he hit like a Mack truck. He kept the slot clean of defenders back in the pre-lockout era when you could do so by any means necessary. Hatcher invented many of those means.
He was fearless in his intimidating physical game, demanding respect and room. He also had a real mean streak - just ask Jeremy Roenick. I could not imagine how scary it would be for a forward coming down Hatcher's wing, fully knowing he was going to jar every bone of your body and enjoy it. Hatcher intimidate me at home sitting on my couch.
Hatcher was intelligent about it though. He knew when to stay out of the penalty box, despite what his career 1581 penalty minutes might suggest. He picked his spots, knowing he was too valuable to his team. He was a real work horse, eating up big minutes in all key situations.
Hatcher was a real old school defenseman. He would have fit in wonderfully in long ago eras of Tim Horton or Fern Flaman or Terry Harper. He was almost that good. In a game which demands toughness, Derian Hatcher was the toughest.