Hockey being a contact sport, the word “hate” gets tossed around more than, say, in basketball and baseball.
And what does it really mean to be hated?
In our opinion it encompasses several very diverse forms of loathing. Hate for being good by opposing fans, for starters. Hate for whining and being a petulant cry-baby. Hate by your own fans for having a massive contract and not living up to it. Hate for being a dirty, backstabbing pain in the arse. The list is even longer, depending what kind of derision is aimed at which particular athletes.
In the NHL, there have been all those types since the league got going over 100 years ago.
We’ve combed the hockey universe for a complete list of most hated in the NHL. In some cases it is two players “tied” for being the most hated. We include “dishonorable mention” in italics.
And, we won’t include the fledgling Vegas Golden Knights, since they didn’t really employ a true pest — yet.
Anaheim Ducks – Corey Perry
It was a close vote, but Perry won out over Ryan Kesler for most hated in the Anaheim Ducks short history. Even though he is third on the Ducks all-time scoring list with 766 points in 957 games, Perry is one of the most detested players in the NHL, ever. Currently out for up to five months after having knee surgery, Perry’s name has been linked to such colorful adjectives as “douchebag” and “general pest.” Since being drafted 28th overall by Anaheim in 2003, Perry, when not scoring, has accrued some suspension time for questionable hits. During a breakout season in 2008-09, he drew the ire of the Philadelphia Flyers when he viciously elbowed then rookie Claude Giroux in the head, earning him a four-game suspension. A few years later, during the lockout shortened 2012-13 campaign, Perry again ran afoul of the league’s disciplinary arm, getting another four-game suspension for delivering a late and dirty head shot to then Minnesota Wild rookie Jason Zucker. And those were just the “suspend-able” infractions. Dishonorable mention: Ryan Kesler and Ryan Miller.
Arizona Coyotes – Jeremy Roenick
We could have put J.R. on a few teams on this list, but for the sake of argument, we selected him here over noteworthy loathsome guy Daniel Carcillo (more on him below). Roenick wasn’t hated for being dirty or not delivering on promise. Rather he was hated for being outspoken and just a tad to showy. Here was a guy who told fans to “kiss his ass” when they criticized players for being too coddled, claiming that he was “blackballed” by Team USA and criticizing the selection of certain players for said team at the 2010 Winter Olympics. But, what cemented his status as a hated player was an incident during his second go around with the Phoenix/Arizona Coyotes in 2006-07. He was having one of his worst offensive seasons ever and after learning that he was a healthy scratch for a game in Vancouver, he left the rink and then went on record as saying he had “a nice dinner.” At the heart of the matter was the fact Roenick, who slightly injured his back, thought he was good to go, while coach Wayne Gretzky thought he needed more time to heal. The Great One, none too pleased with J.R.’s stunt, benched him for the team’s next game. Never try to fool greatness, we say.
Boston Bruins – Eddie Shore
For those who think Brad Marchand is the ultimate hated Boston Bruin, think again. Long before “Marshmont” graced the NHL with his pesky presence, Eddie Shore was the scourge of the NHL in the Original Six days. Shore may have been one of the greatest defencemen ever, winning the Hart Trophy four times, but there was a reason the “Hanson Brothers” from “Slapshot” uttered this line, in unison: “old time hockey, like Eddie Shore” in that classic movie. Shore once had his ear nearly shorn off during an on-ice incident with some new Boston Bruins at a practice in 1925-26, but the incident that forever tainted his legacy and made him one of the most reviled players in history was his career-ending hit on Toronto Maple Leafs star Ace Bailey in late 1933. After being clocked by Bailey’s teammate King Clancy, Shore targeted Bailey for retribution, driving the hapless Leafs player from behind. Bailey hit his head on the ice hard enough to fracture his skull and send him into convulsions. His career was effectively over. Dishonorable mention: Brad Marchand and Zdeno Chara.
Buffalo Sabres – Patrick Kaleta
It takes some kind of special talent to supplant noted bad boys Rob Ray and motormouth Matthew Barnaby as the Sabres’ most hated player ever, but Patrick Kaleta did it in double quick time. In just 348 games with the Sabres, hometown boy Kaleta scored all of 54 points and put up 542 penalty minutes. According to hockeyfights.com, Kaleta had 24 total fights in his career, which means only 120 of his minutes were earned defending himself after yet another questionable act on the ice. For instance, in 2011-12, he got a four-game ban for headbutting Philadelphia Flyers forward Jakub Voracek. Worse yet, it was the third time he had done it in less than two seasons. In March of 2013, Kaleta drove New York Rangers forward Brad Richards head first into the boards, earning him another five-game suspension due to being a repeat offender. In one of his last official dirty plays on record, Kaleta received 10 games for an illegal check to the head of Columbus defenceman Jack Johnson in October 2013. Dishonorable mention: Rob Ray and Matthew Barnaby.
Calgary Flames – Theoren Fleury
The Flames have employed some very colorful, and very detestable, players in the last 38 years, but none drew the ire of opposition players, coaches and fans like diminutive superstar Theoren Fleury. Generously listed at 5’6″ and 180 lbs. Fleury was who we describe as the original “Little Ball of Hate” (see Brad Marchand). He was as good a scorer as he was a pain in the butt, recording 1,088 points in 1,084 NHL games, while racking up an astounding 1,840 penalty minutes. What makes those PIM’s even more eye-popping is the fact Fleury fought just twice in his whole NHL career (according to the pugilism trackers at hockeyfights.com). For a little guy, then, Fleury played a very infuriating physical style and was so good with the puck that he was hated mostly for sticking it to bigger players on opposing squads, then lighting their teams up for goals and assists. We think he was most hated by NHL executives and Hall of Fame voters, who saw his off-ice actions as loathsome — attributable to alcohol and drug abuse brought on by earlier trauma.
Carolina Hurricanes – Ulf Samuelsson
For the most disliked player in Carolina Hurricanes we actually had to go back to the original incarnation, the Hartford Whalers, to dig up the most hated. And he would be Ulf Samuelsson, who can probably never go to Boston ever again. Arguably the dirtiest player to come out of Sweden, “Ulfie” was an antagonist of the first order and gave as good as he got, as it turns out. What made him still persona non grata in Beantown was the dirty check he delivered on Boston Bruins star Cam Neely in the 1991 playoffs. Now, while it did happen when he was a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins, he did play most of the 1990-91 campaign with Hartford — and besides, we’ve got some classic hated Penguins to talk about later in this list. The Pens were playing the Bruins in the Stanley Cup semi-finals, when Samuelsson caught Neely with a low-bridge knee-on-knee hit that Neely never really recovered from, causing him to develop a degenerative knee ailment that prematurely ended his career. Karma ultimately paid Samuelsson back, but you’ll have to read on to find out how.
Chicago Blackhawks – Patrick Kane
Many players have tried to — or not — lay claim to “most hated” on the Chicago Blackhawks in the last near century, but for sheer disdain, Patrick Kane takes the cake. The Hawks superstar sniper and dangler is loathed mostly for that mullet of his, for being really, really good at hockey and for some of the dumb and dubious stuff he has done off-ice to taint his character. It seemed for a time, in fact, that he was the epitome of the entitled, selfish and obnoxious pseudo-sports celebrity — we know hockey is still not that popular in the U.S. where he plays — we have all come to know and hate. This hatred stemmed first from an incident in his hometown of Buffalo when he was arrested after allegedly punching a cab driver over ostensibly 20 cents. It wouldn’t have been so bad that after he was able to plead down on lesser charges, he was still made to apologize to the victimized cabbie — he didn’t do it freely. To top that off, his most recent transgression, an alleged sexual assault in 2015, was tossed out after the victim declined to press charges.
Colorado Avalanche – Claude Lemieux
If there are “Most Wanted” signs still populating the corridors of Little Caesars Arena touting the antics of Claude Lemieux, we wouldn’t be surprised. Not only is Claude Lemieux the most hated man in Red Wings Nation, he is still universally reviled for the nasty hit he put on Detroit’s Kris Draper in the 1996 playoffs. Then a member of the Colorado Avalanche, Lemieux sent Draper flying into the boards on a hit from behind, resulting in a concussion, broken jaw, orbital and cheek bones and causing Draper to have reconstructive surgery. For his transgression, four-time Stanley Cup winner Lemieux was given just a two-game ban, which ignited a bitter rivalry between the two clubs and retributive justice a year later. During an Avs-Wings game during the 1996-97 game, a brouhaha erupted that saw Detroit enforcer Darren McCarty engage Lemieux and beat him so roundly he turtled.
Columbus Blue Jackets – Jeff Carter
In the short history of the Columbus Blue Jackets, it seems fitting that a player of significant ability is most hated for his brief period of time in a Jackets uniform. Jeff Carter, who was a prolific scorer in Philadelphia and who had signed a massive contract with in 2010, wore out his welcome there — along with Mike Richards — and was shipped to Columbus in exchange for a young Jakub Voracek. Carter, in a fit of pique, refused initially to report, drawing widespread condemnation in central Ohio. It wasn’t until his buddy Rick Nash urged him to report that Carter reluctantly did. He wasn’t a happy camper and he scored an uninspiring 25 points in 39 games, with a -11, before he requested a trade and was flipped to the Los Angeles Kings. The fact that Voracek has gone on to be a star in Philly is still not lost on diehard Blue Jackets fans.
Dallas Stars – Steve Ott
It was a close vote, but uber-pest Steve Ott beat out fellow crap disturber Antoine Roussel for most hated Dallas Star. It’s interesting to note that renowned motormouth Ott, who racked up 1,170 penalty minutes in 566 NHL games, could also play, recording 220 points. The hatred directed his way came from all corners and an interesting fact later emerged that as part of his irritating on-ice demeanor, he learned and memorized offensive phrases in other languages to rile up his opponents in a language they could understand. In addition to running his mouth, Ott’s long career was also marked by multiple suspensions for questionable acts. As a member of the Stars, he got three games for clocking Colorado’s Jordan Leopold during the 2007-08 season, and then a one-game suspension for eye-gouging Anaheim’s Travis Moen a year later. Dishonorable mention: Antoine Roussel.
Detroit Red Wings – Gordie Howe
As famous as he was for being one of the game’s first true superstars, the late great “Mr. Hockey” also knew a thing or too about getting under the skin of his opponents. It’s fitting then that a goal, an assist and a fight during a game is also called a “Gordie Howe Hat Trick.” In his lengthy and productive NHL and WHA career, Howe piled up the points to the tune of 1,850 in 1,767 total pro games. In addition to all those points, Howe used his elbows and rugged play to tame his opponents, earning 1,685 minutes in the sin-bin, or the equivalent of just over 28 total games. It’s interesting too, that Howe only ever achieved his own “Hat Trick” twice in his career, with the career leader being known pugilist Rick Tocchet with 18. Howe, then was equally loathed by his opponents, but also loved by the hockey community for being a soft-spoken guy off the ice. Dishonorable mentions: “Terrible” Ted Lindsay, Brendan Shanahan and Vladimir Konstantinov.
Edmonton Oilers – Esa Tikkanen
As a member of the dynastic Edmonton Oilers teams of the 1980s, five-time Stanley Cup winner Esa Tikkanen was valued for his outstanding two-way play (career plus-minus of +101) and ability to score in big games (97 points in 114 playoff games). What the talented Finn was also known for was being an abrasive shift disturber who had his own language, known as Tiki-Talk, or Tikkanese. His heavily accented English trash talk once caused Wayne Gretzky to quip, “He brings something special. I don’t know what it is, but if you ask him, you couldn’t understand his answer.” Even fellow countryman and Oilers great Jari Kurri was confused by what came out of Tikkanen’s mouth. During one particular game, an opponent asked Kurri just what Tikkanen said during one very colorful outburst. To which Kurri replied, “I have no idea.” Dishonorable mentions: Milan Lucic, Raffi Torres and Ken “The Rat” Linseman.
Florida Panthers – Shawn Thornton
We purposely didn’t include many enforcers on this list, as there used to be a kind of acceptance around the NHL that fighters were needed to police the cheap shot artists. The Panthers haven’t employed many abrasive types in their history, so it came down to picking one guy who earned a reputation for one particularly nasty piece of on-ice business and he is Shawn Thornton. He racked up nearly 10 times more penalty minutes (1,103) than points (102) in his 705-game career and one incident, while he was with Boston — yes, it was tough picking one bad “Cat” — that epitomized his character. In a game in December 2013, Thornton took exception to a hit that Pittsburgh’s Brooks Orpik put on the Bruins’ Loui Eriksson. In true ice cop mode, Thornton sought out Orpik, and when he was rebuffed, slew footed his opponent and then when Orpik was prone, punched him a half dozen times. He got 15 games for that attack and here’s the kicker, he later apologized as the two were off-ice friends.
Los Angeles Kings – Dustin Brown
The Kings have won a two Stanley Cups in the last seven seasons, which would give many Western Conference teams reason enough to hate them as a whole. One player who has been integral to all that success and a constant with the club since his first season with them in 2003-04 is Dustin Brown. The durable and reasonably productive American (567 points in 1,045 games) has done as much with his stick as he has drawing the ire of opposing players for being, at times, overly aggressive. Another annoying trait is his ability to draw penalties, for which he has been accused of over-the-top embellishment. He’s a well documented diver and during the 2012 run to a title was involved in a contentious play against the Arizona Coyotes. He was in front of the net during a powerplay when ‘Yotes goalie Mike Smith raised his stick and delivered a bit of a chop to Brown’s legs. He fell like a sequoia, earning an unsportsmanlike penalty for embellishment. Just one of the many times video has caught him red-handed. Dishonorable mentions: Marty McSorley, Dion Phaneuf, Mike Richards and Drew Doughty.
Minnesota Wild – Matt Cooke
Name a list, like “Most Hated”, “Dirtiest Player”, “Worst Trash Talker” and we’ll bet super-irritant Matt Cooke is on it. The former NHLer made a lengthy career of being the guy everyone loved to hate, toiling in 1,046 games and recording 398 points and 1.135 penalty minutes. What earned him his dubious reputation were a series of dirty hits that got him suspended and harmed other players’ careers. While he was never suspended as a member of the Minnesota Wild, the fairly new club doesn’t have a lot of candidates. Cooke’s nastiest play happened during the 2009-10 season when he was with Pittsburgh, one year after receiving two separate two-game suspensions for dirty hits. His hit to the head on Boston’s Marc Savard resulted in a concussion and Savard missing two months (his career would be severely curtailed by head injuries like this). Not only did the Bruins take issue with the hit, for which he wasn’t suspended, but even teammate Bill Guerin said there was no place for it. The league took action later, implementing a rule that checks to the head would be closely monitored and enforced — thanks to Cooke.
Montreal Canadiens – Brendan Gallagher
Little guys often get a bad rap for Napoleanic Syndrome and in Gallagher’s case it’s well earned. The Habs truculent, but ultimately talented forward really knows how to irritate his opponents. He chirps his foes with abandon and even taunted Ottawa’s Mark Stone once about a wrist injury in the playoffs, even continuing the tirade on Twitter long after the incident. His other talent, besides being a decent goal scorer, is being a pesky crease crasher who makes life difficult for opposing goalies and defencemen. And if there is a scrum to be joined in those cases, there he is, infuriating Cheshire Cat grin and all. Of late, Gallagher has raised the hackles among the Nashville Predators faithful when he smack talked former teammate P.K. Subban during a game soon after Subban was dealt to Smashville. Apparently, after scoring a goal in his team’s 3-2 loss to Nashville, Gallagher directed a derogatory comment at Subban, which soon went viral with post-game analysis. Dishonorable mention: Chris Nilan.
Nashville Predators – P.K. Subban
Maybe Brendan Gallagher had every right to taunt P.K. Subban, as we detailed above. We could easily have placed Subban in the Canadiens “most hated” slot, but he’s been just as big a pain in the arse in Smashville as he was in Montreal. Subban, who’s won a Norris has been lauded as a good, creative defenceman and a pretty nice guy whose philanthropic endeavors in Montreal were continued long after he left the team in a trade that saw Shea Weber go the other way. As nice a guy as he is, he has also been an irritating presence on ice whose been accused of showboating and self-absorption. What makes Subban truly despised, we feel, is the fact that he is good and makes life hell on opposing checking forwards. It all comes down to the fact that Subban is just different and exuberant, to the point his foes think it’s just way over-the-top. Dishonorable mention: Jordin Tootoo.
New Jersey Devils – Scott Stevens
The Devils have employed many maddening and aggressive players in team history, just think Claude Lemieux (who we talked about already) and Brendan Shanahan. However, the player that most teams loathed playing against when he was in the NHL was Scott Stevens. The Hall of Famer’s long and illustrious career, which included three Stanley Cup championships, was punctuated with the kind of devastating hits that would likely see him suspended for lengthy periods in today’s game. He was as punishing an open-ice hitter as their ever was and in some instances, the collisions may have crossed the line from clean to “dirty.” Two players whose careers were marred by Stevens’ bombs were Paul Kariya and Eric Lindros. While Lindros was a sizeable player who played on the edge and famously got caught with his head down in open ice by Stevens, the hit on Kariya may have just been cruel. Kariya, who gave away four inches and 40 pounds to Stevens, was laid out by the Devils’ rearguard with a high hit during game 6 of the 2003 Stanley Cup playoffs. To his credit, Kariya came back and was a difference in the outcome as Anaheim forced a game 7.
New York Islanders – Darius Kasparaitis
Pretty much everywhere Darius Kasparaitis went in his NHL career, trouble soon followed. And, give him credit here, he beat out notable hated dudes like Cal Clutterbuck, Chris Simon and Rick DiPietro for Islanders’ most reviled. What made him loathed were his devastating hits, a la Scott Stevens in New Jersey. And the Lithuanian’s targets included all manner of NHL player, from journeymen to superstars like Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier and Mario Lemieux. What made Kasparaitis different among lethal hitters was his use of the hip check. Messier, for one, found out the hard way in a game between his New York Rangers and Kasparaitis’ Islanders. During that contest, Messier took a run at “Kaspar”, who saw him coming and at the last minute, got into a hip checking position and sent the “Moose” pinwheeling through the air. Dishonorable mentions: Chris Simon, Rick DiPietro and Cal Clutterbuck.
New York Rangers – Sean Avery
We will come right out and say it. No other player in the history of the NHL was more hated than journeyman forward Sean Avery — and that, folks, is saying a lot. Not the biggest guy in the world, Avery was a polarizing figure in hockey circles who went on to play 580 games, with 247 points and an astounding 1,530 penalty minutes. What made Avery so universally loathed could occupy the pages of a short story, but a short synopsis includes his infamous trash talk about the leukemia battle former Toronto Maple Leaf Jason Blake was enduring and then the infamous “sloppy seconds” comment he made about Dion Phaneuf and Avery’s ex-girlfriend, the actress Elisha Cuthbert. His times with the New York Rangers also provided some great theater. The “Avery Rule” came into play after he used a controversial tactic to screen rival Devils goalie Martin Brodeur. The other was a very public feud with equally outspoken Rangers coach John Tortorella, where the two traded barbs and Avery exulted in Torts being fired. An unclassy act, that Avery.
Ottawa Senators – Daniel Alfredsson
Since Toronto is the self-described “Center of the Hockey Universe”, the Senators most hated has to go to “Alfie” for the antagonistic relationship he had with fellow Swede and former Leafs captain Mats Sundin. When there are literally millions, like there are in the loyal Leafs Nation, who hate you, that is something. As beloved as he was in Ottawa, Alfredsson found all kinds of hate from Toronto when he mocked equally beloved Sundin after an infamous stick-throwing incident. Sundin was assessed a one-game suspension for throwing the remnants of a stick into the stands after it shattered during a good scoring play. Later that season, Alfredsson saw an opportunity to mock his rival and took it. In a game against the Leafs, Alfredsson also snapped a twig, then playfully imitated throwing the bum stick into the stands. Boy, was he Public Enemy No. 1 after that.
Philadelphia Flyers – Daniel Carcillo
In order to become a member of the Flyers most hated club, one must do or have done dirtier deeds than those attributed to the likes of Bobby Clarke, Ron Hextall and Dave Schultz, to name just a few. Of all the players on this list, Carcillo was one of the most marginally talented, his only redeeming quality being the willingness to back up his smack talk and sometimes dirty play with his fists. His reckless style of play, which earned him 12 separate suspensions in eight NHL seasons, got him the nickname “Car Bomb.” While we picked the Flyers to be which team Carcillo was most hated on, it could have been any one of the five he was employed with. His suspensions included 10 games for abuse of an official and six games for brutal cross check on a Winnipeg Jets defenceman, In a separate Karmic incident, he got a seven-game ban for intentionally trying to injure Edmonton defenceman Tom Gilbert, but was also injured himself on the play and had to miss a significant chunk of time rehabbing. Dishonorable mentions: Bobby Clarke, Ron Hextall and Dave Schultz.
Pittsburgh Penguins – Sidney Crosby
As loved as Sid the Kid is in Pittsburgh for delivering three Stanley Cups in his outstanding career, he is equally detested everywhere else for being a bit of a petulant whiner and for destroying other teams with his puck-handling ability. And as he has gotten older and more savvy, the target of dirty tactics from opposing checking forwards has taken a page out of their book and has dished out his own frontier justice. One well-documented, and visually disgusting play involved Crosby delivering an innocent looking two-hand slash to the hand of Ottawa defenceman Marc Methot. The chop resulted in the severance of the top part of Methot’s right pinky finger. Maybe it could have been a suspend-able play, or it was retribution for a nasty clip Crosby suffered at the hands of Methot in an earlier game. You be the judge. Dishonorable mentions: Phil Kessel and Alexei Kovalev.
San Jose Sharks – Bryan Marchment
The list of players that former bad boy Bryan Marchment injured during his 12-year career reads like a who’s who of hockey and included, but was not limited to Hall of Famers Joe Nieuwendyk, Mike Modano, Mike Gartner, Pavel Bure and Paul Kariya. The hated defenceman and veteran of 926 NHL games racked up 13 suspensions in just his first 12 seasons for dirty play that included dangerous knee-on-knee hits. He was so infamous for those dangerous and career ending hits that one esteemed sports publication called Marchment the “master of the knee-on-knee hit.” He was so detested in Dallas, where he tried to take out three Stars players in one season with questionable tactics, that he actually received death threats. Don’t get any more hated than that, hockey fans.
St. Louis Blues – Chris Pronger
The Hall of Fame deemed Chris Pronger, rightly, as worthy of induction for a career that included a Stanley Cup, a Norris Trophy and 698 points in 1,167 NHL games. But, if there were a Hall of Shame for being a notoriously dirty player, Pronger would be voted in, first ballot. During his illustrious career, his dirty deeds included a stomp on Ryan Kesler’s leg, an egregious elbow to the head of Dean McAmmond and an un-penalized and widely seen “Sean Avery” like screen on goalie Miika Kiprusoff. For the Kesler transgression, Pronger got eight games in the press box. In the 2007 playoffs he was suspended twice, first for a hit on Detroit’s Tomas Holmstrom in the Western Conference final (one game) and then for the head hit on Ottawa’s McAmmond in the finals. Career wise, add eight suspensions to his lofty offensive totals and numerous accolades.
Tampa Bay Lightning – Steve Downie
Downie started on the downward path to wide vilification before his career even officially got off the ground. In September 2007, which should have been his first full season with Philadelphia, he left his feet during a pre-season game against Ottawa, decking unsuspecting Dean McAmmond and injuring him. Downie go the fifth-highest suspension ever handed out, 20 games. It was a downward spiral for a player who was actually good at the game, recording 196 points in 434 games. But the ugly side always came out, and then some. In 2009-10, his third season in the NHL, a previously contrite Downie was hit with a fine for a dangerous hit on Sidney Crosby. His exploits weren’t confined to the NHL either. As a member of Tampa’s AHL affiliate in Norfolk, he was hit with a 20-game suspension for slashing a linesman in the shin after a controversial empty net goal.
Toronto Maple Leafs – Darcy Tucker
Tie Domi. Nazem Kadri. Leo Komarov. These are but three pests the Leafs have employed or continue to employ whose on-ice antics pale in comparison to those of former forward Tucker. The notoriously combative, yet quite useful Tucker cemented his name in the Hall of Shame during the 2002 playoffs against the New York Islanders. On one play in game 5 of the first round, he low-bridged Islanders captain Mike Peca, sending him flying. The hit resulted in a torn ACL and MCL for Peca, ending his season and part of the next prematurely. Ironically, the Leafs signed Peca that off-season, making him and Tucker teammates. He was so abrasive and pesky otherwise, Tucker earned the nickname “Sideshow Bob” after the cartoon character from the Simpsons. Dishonorable mentions: Tie Domi, Leo Komarov and Nazem Kadri.
Vancouver Canucks – Maxim Lapierre
Even more than the Maple Leafs, the Canucks own Rogues Gallery has several notoriously bad players on it, including Jarkko Ruuttu, Todd Bertuzzi and Alexandre Burrows. But for pure infuriating, yap-in-your-face ugliness, Maxim Lapierre takes the Canucks belt. Mike Milbury, who knows a thing or two about being controversial, once called Lapierre a “punk” who “denigrates the game” for some of his antics during Vancouver’s Stanley Cup final series against Boston in 2011. What made Lapierre even more detestable was the fact, like many others on this list (see Darcy Tucker), that he could play, even scoring the lone goal in game 5 of the 2011 finals. Too often, though, Lapierre ran around like a rabid dog, barking in the wrong players ears and starting dust-ups that sometimes he was unwilling to get further involved in. Dishonorable mentions: Todd Bertuzzi, Jarkko Ruuttu and Alexandre Burrows.
Washington Capitals – Dale Hunter
Bet everyone thought we were going to say Tom Wilson. Or on a lighter note, the hopeless fighter Alexander Semin. Nope, for sheer ability to create on-ice mayhem, the legendary Dale Hunter was the Capitals king. He amassed a crazy 3,565 penalty minutes in his 1,407 game career, as well as a very respectable 323 goals and 1,020 points. But, he was known league wide as a gritty face-washing, stick-to-the-nether regions type of goon who earned the alias “The Nuisance” honestly. The horrid play, though, that would define his career in the NHL came during the 1993 Patrick Division finals against the New York Islanders. Hunter, who was leading his team with seven playoff goals before the series started. But, Hunter was suspended 21 games for illegally and viciously checking Pierre Turgeon from behind, separating his shoulder. This dirty hit occurred after Turgeon had stolen an errant pass from Hunter and subsequently scored. As Turgeon was celebrating, Hunter came up from behind and decked him. Dishonorable mentions: Tom Wilson and Alexander Semin.
Winnipeg Jets – Evander Kane
We went all the way back to the old Jets of the 80s and 90s, and even the Atlanta Thrashers, but couldn’t find anyone more universally hated than Evander Kane. For the record, the current member of the Sharks is very talented, but his time in Winnipeg got him considerable hate from fans for being less than humble and maybe a little lazy. Basically, he earned a ticket out of Manitoba for transgressions that included: an early career request for a trade; having his agent ask for money for him to promote local restaurants on Twitter; a concussion that he attributed to an on-ice incident that may have actually been caused by an incident off of it; and lastly a photo of him circulated on Twitter where he infamously flashed a huge wad of cash during the lockout, which went over like a lead balloon, of course. Dishonorable mentions: Ilya Kovalchuk and Laurie Boschman.