There has been a lot of venom spewed towards Donald Brashear over the last week or so. Much of it is totally warranted because he is the prototypical NHL thug. A lot of people don't want these kinds of goons in the game at all. The way I see it, though, is that these guys are here to stay, at least for the short term. And, like it or not, they do serve a purpose, namely, intimidation and protection. I think what we all see in Brashear is not his purpose; we all see that vicious hit on Betts (that and the Marty head-whack, which karma-wise probably balances out). But here's the question: after that hit, what happened? Paul Mara made a lame-ass attempt at retribution and they both got penalties. Did you see Colton Orr knocking Mike Green's lights out? No. Why? Because if he had, he knew Brashear would be on his ass.
This all leads up to why I like the Brashear signing (though perhaps not the amount of money): every team needs a goon, but if you're going to have one, get the biggest baddest guy on the block. In the NHL right now, that guy is not Colton Orr or anybody else. It's Donald Brashear. Sather got him locked up (in a strangely savvy move) before they signed Marion "I get injured all the time cause everybody cheap shots me and I'm kind of wuss" Gaborik. So if a team wants to mess with him, they'll have to deal with Brashear and the monster known as Brian Boyle (at 6-7 and 250).
Also, if you actually look at his PIMs closely, you'll notice something remarkable: Brashear takes fewer PIMs than pretty much any enforcer in the league. Early in his career, he was taking loads of PIMS but now he seems to do more damage to other teams with less damage to his own team because his reputation is solid. Orr on the other hand has to build up his "tough-guy" reputation by accumulating PIMs all over the place (thus his 3rd ranking in PIMs v. Brashear's 39th last season). No matter how much of his potential Orr reaches, he's still putting up 5 points a year whereas Brashear in his prime was putting up 15-20. Long story short, Orr was not the answer because he was providing the needed protection.
I realized that by posting this people are going to slam me, but I thought it needed to mentioned that there are some very redeeming aspects to this signing.