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The 9 Most Annoying Players In The NHL
They’re not the worst guys in the NHL (though there might be a little overlap), and they’re not necessarily the best defenders, but their combination of energy, tenacity, and a general predilection towards disruption makes these entrants the pests of the league. So without further ado or ceremony, in tribute to Mr. Esa Tikkanen, let’s review the nine most annoying players in the NHL.
9. Ben Eager
As you will see, these guys play with an extra skill set that focuses on taunting, fighting, and just general crappy behavior. Unless these guys happen to be on your team. Few embody these qualities better than Ben Eager, the Edmonton Oiler known for a wrecking-ball style of play. The only reason he’s not higher on this list is that his annoyance doesn’t always work to the advantage of his own team. Penalties and vulnerability stemming from his play mean that he may not be one of the most dangerous shift-disturbers in the league, but he’s among the most annoying for damn sure.
8. Steve Downie
A similar-style player for the Lightening is Steve Downie, who uses his considerable hustle and tenacity to swing momentum in his team’s favor. When it works, it’s great. When it doesn’t, it can cost his team penalties…or worse. In last season’s playoffs, he seemed to conduct himself with a little more focus and purpose, helping take his team to seven games against the Bruins. If he can match that focus with his heart and offensive abilities, he could become a much more dangerous (and certainly annoying) weapon.
7. Sean Avery
Let’s just get him out of the way. I can safely say that he’s among the most annoying players, not only as a shift-disturber (though that talent has fallen off in recent years), but just as a generally awful human being. As a hockey FAN, I’m incredibly annoyed by him, so I can’t imagine how his opponents, officials, coaches, and even his teammates feel about him. Actually, I can imagine. And it’s not positive.
Regardless of his level of play, Avery will occupy a spot on this list, probably until he dies.
6. Brad Marchand
Well, his clothesline move on Christian Ehrhoff didn’t endear many Canucks fans to him (though it was a little blown out of proportion in my opinion), but the man isn’t in a popularity contest. He’s in a Stanley Cup-getting contest, and he won that contest last year, so it’s hard to argue with his efficacy. He’s not huge, but he plays the game like a Viking, which gives his team an edge, as Marchand clearly doesn’t let fear hamper his play. He’s exciting to watch, no doubt. Unless he’s playing your team. Then he’s just a pain.
5. Danny Carcillo
Carcillo’s Phoenix years were really when he made a name for himself, but his ability to annoy has held strong since his move to Chicago. He has waived goodbye to any semblance of a finesse game, and is a goon through and through, never too eager to drop the gloves and disturb the opposition through brute force. Couple that with an uncanny ability to mouth off about most anything, and you’ve got an annoyance factor that’s off the charts.
4. Alex Burrows
Burrows has a spot on the first line for the Canucks, which means that teams are forced to respect his play whether they want to or not. It’s not often you’ll see such a prominent component of a team bite, pull hair, and hassle referees. Those are what we call “loose cannons,” and they are better in the dregs of a team’s lineup than they are the forefront. And if he doesn’t beat you dirty, he can beat you clean, but that’s normally a last resort.
3. Steve Ott
Ott has made a career and been named a Stars alternate captain from his disruptive style of play. Ott has a knack for not only upsetting a player or two, but riling up an entire team, getting them all to lean over the bench when he comes skating by. That’s impressive. He credits his “talents” to chirping and heavy hits, a combination that is naturally going to upset the recipients.
2. Jarkko Ruutu
This Finnish agitator doesn’t shy away from legal gray areas in disrupting the other team. But then again, the truly annoying would never let something like rules get in the way.
How annoying is this guy?
He’s a biter. It’s hard to find a characteristic more annoying than that. Ruutu bit the thumb of Andrew Peters after Peters repeatedly stuck his glove in Ruutu’s face. He was suspended two games, but the reputation of being the type of guy that will bite your thumb is probably well worth the suspension.
1. P.K. Subban
The king of this list is the player who not only annoys the bulk of the NHL, but also the other entrants on this list, and no one does that better than P.K. Subban. He’s got the tenacity of most every other player on this list, but also has an uncanny goal-scoring ability. Say what you want about cheap shots and disruption, but nothing is inclined to make a team more annoyed than a goal given up. In that regard, Subban is a pest on two different fronts.