What does it take, really, to be hated in the National Hockey League?
Let us count the ways.
One characteristic is non-stop, yappy mouth. Nothing gets under the skin like a serial chirper.
Another is being dirty. Nothing like a blind-side cheap shot to get everyone’s blood boiling. While we’re at it, a propensity for riling up the other team after scoring an infrequent — or alarmingly regular — goal. Yah, celebrate like you won the Cup on a garbage time goal.
Other, less obvious ways to get one loathed include: actually being able to play the game at high level while being a huge pain in the ass, or being a good fighter who accepts the challenge put up by pissed off opponents.
As seen, then, there are many ways to earn a “most hated” label in the NHL.
We’ve gone through many line-ups, both current and historical, to find out just who on each team caught the ire of opposing fans, coaches and players alike. Some teams have multiple, depending on how many years they have been in the league.
Now that P.K. has left the building, Brendan Gallagher owns the mantle of Habs most hated, no questions asked. Subban, who is sublimely talented, would often taunt opposing teams with elaborate goal celebrations. That was just one thing he did that people loathed. He also runs his mouth constantly, doesn’t accept a fight challenge after making a big hit and is a known and censured diver. If Subban was reviled in Montreal, Gallagher is the “Little Ball of Hate” that fans love and opponents can’t stand. For a little guy, he isn’t afraid to stick his nose into crease battles or fights for the puck in the corner. Gallagher is Montreal’s answer to Brad Marchand, if a comparison is needed. The Edmonton native, surprisingly, has almost as many points in 269 games (163) as he does penalty minutes (167).