Hey, big chuckers

DEREK VAN DIEST, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:29 AM ET

VANCOUVER -- Darcy Hordichuk is a chucker.

He's not the type who shoots every time he gets the basketball in a pickup game.

The Vancouver Canucks winger is the guy who'll stand and trade blows with an opponent hoping to land a bomb before getting hit by one.

And heading into last night's game at GM Place, Hordichuk new the chances were good he would be trading blows with Edmonton Oilers behemoth Steve MacIntyre.

"When you fight someone that big, you just go in throwing," Hordichuk said. "You hope to land that first one. It's one of those things, that once the gloves are off, you do what you have to do. A lot of times you end up getting hit. But that's sometimes the way you have to do it, take one to give one."

Hordichuk and MacIntyre, both 28, were teammates in junior with the Saskatoon Blades. They have both literally fought their way to the NHL.

"I played with him for a couple of years and we fought each other a couple of times in camp," Hordichuk said. "Then he went to Prince Albert after that and we fought again. I lost touch with him after that for a little while."

Hordichuk was originally selected by the Atlanta Thrashers in the sixth round (180 overall) of the 2000 NHL Entry Draft.

TEAMMATES

The six-foot-one, 215-pound native of Kamsack, Sask., played parts of two seasons with the Thrashers before moving on to toil with the Phoenix Coyotes, Florida Panthers, Nashville Predators and Canucks. Hordichuk has 13 career goals and 759 penalty minutes.

He's taken on most of the league's heavy hitters.

"He's been in the league a lot longer than I have, I'm just coming into the league having kicked around in the minors for the last seven or eight years," said MacIntyre. "But I know what I have to do if I go up against him, and it's just business on the ice. After we can go have a cup of coffee or whatever.

"But first and foremost, I'm here for my teammates. When push comes to shove, I have to do what's best for them."

MacIntyre has proven to be the heavyweight deterrent the Oilers have been looking for since the departure of Georges Laraque.

The Oilers claimed the six-foot-five, 250-pound native of Brock, Sask., off waivers from the Florida Panthers. He's already made an impact and has quickly become a fan favourite.

Hordichuk has been a fan favourite everywhere he's played, dating back to his days in Saskatoon. This summer he was approached by the Oilers when they were looking for a heavyweight.

"I knew I wanted to come play in the west," Hordichuk said. "Back when the Oilers had Laraque I used to fight him all the time. I heard some rumblings that even when he was there, I might be going to Edmonton. It was a place that I wanted to play. This summer, they offered me two years but I was looking for three and Vancouver stepped up."

TRYOUTS

Having lost out on Hordichuk and Laraque, the Oilers practically held an open audition for the position before MacIntyre became available.

"It's good to see that they got another good guy in there in Steve MacIntyre," Hordichuk said. "He's a big boy and if he makes contact you're going to feel it and it sounds like the fans love him out there."

MacIntyre endeared himself to Oiler fans by beating up Calgary Flames defenceman Jim Vandermeer in the preseason then plastering Dustin Boyd in the regular season.

"He's doing what he does best which is dropping the gloves," Hordichuk said. "Everyone was asking about him last year when he really got some recognition playing in the AHL. Everybody was asking about this MacIntyre kid. Even scouts from Nashville were talking about him and it was funny because I was thinking there is no way it was Steve MacIntyre and sure enough it was him.

"Good for him, it's good to see a guy like that make it."

For his part, MacIntyre is trying to take it all in stride.

"I just go out there and do my job," he smiled. "Then go to the penalty box."


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