Some people might say that nothing gets a hockey crowd excited like a fight. That’s certainly what the goons who drop the gloves right after a faceoff think. However, for my money, nothing can take the energy level in an area from a zero to sixty faster than a good old-fashioned bodycheck. I’ll take one of those over a stupid pre-arranged fight (that has nothing to do with the actual game) any day. One second you’re sitting on your hands watching guys skate around in circles, the next you’re on your feet and the tension on the ice is palpable. It’s just one of the things that makes hockey great. And for those of you who happen to feel the same way, I’ve put together this list of animated GIFs featuring bone-crushing hits. Click, and enjoy!
Sometimes he's too reckless, but Alexander Ovechkin is definitely one of the most exciting checkers in the NHL today. We'll see a few more entries from him before this list is done.
This one was dirty, but now that we all know Brent Seabrook is okay we can admit that it was also pretty hilarious. That slow-motion fall is so cartoonish and awesome.
24. Wisniewski vs. Seabrook
Here's another cheapshot. I love hard, physical play, but this kind of thing is just silly. Players gotta have more respect for each other than that.
23. Turris Headshot
I love this one. It's Tim Thomas being a badass and plowing into Henrik Sedin, and it's Henrik Sedin doing what he does best and embellishing, trying to draw a penalty. (Someone should tell him that sticking his feet straight up in the air and keeping them there doesn't look natural.)
22. Thomas + Sedin
If you want to see what a clean, textbook hockey hit looks like, here it is. No leaving the feet, no aiming for the head. The guy just uses his opponent's momentum against him and puts him on the ice.
I wasn't going to include this one, but then I thought, hey, who said checks have to come from other players? (Also, and more importantly, it's just awesome and I didn't want to leave it out.)
20. Beware Inanimate Object
How about a hand for Mr. Elisha Cuthbert? You gotta love it when a guy sends his opponent over the boards and into the bench.
19. Into the Bench
This hit simply defies the laws of physics. Even the guy who gets hit (Daniel Paille) has to smile after this one from Brooks Orpik.
18. Defying Gravity
Is Horton's head down? Yes. But he didn't have the puck and Rome targeted the head, so there's no way around it. This is just a dirty, dirty play.
17. Rome's Cheapshot
It's hard to tell what the primary point of contact is in this hit on Ryan McDonagh by Matt Hendricks. It looks like Hendricks might have clipped him with his knee, but it's also possible he hit him in the shoulder first and any knee contact is coincidental.
16. Shoulder or Knee?
This one is seriously hypnotic. I just watched it for about two minutes before I snapped out of it.
15. Phil Kessel Run Over
The funny thing here is that the flip never would have happened if the San Jose player didn't turn sideways at the last second trying to avoid the hip check. As it is, in slow motion this is pretty amazing.
14. Hip and Flip
Sidney Crosby learns the hard way that a check from a teammate can be just as painful as a check from the opposition. Nice going, Craig Adams.
13. Friendly Fire
Yeah, you're going to have to pull up a lot faster than that if you want to avoid getting crushed. The interesting thing here is that, from the one angle the hit looks dirty, like he got his elbow up. Then, from the other angles, it looks like it's all body.
12. No Shot for You
So it seems like skating forward rather than backward is probably the safer way to go, mmkay?
This dude just gets absolutely pulverized.
11. Watch Where You Are Going
Some hits look better in slow-mo, others look better in fast-mo. This one, obviously, is one of the latter.
10. Fast-Motion Replay
Alex Ovechkin is so fast that you sometimes forget that, at 6'3", he's actually a pretty big guy...especially when going up against a guy listed at 5'8", like Tampa's Cory Conacher. Ovechkin is like an immovable boulder here.
9. Ovechkin Smash
Now that is cheap. It's not that late of a hit, but it is a blindside hit to the head.
Stay classy, Mike Richards.
8. Mike Richards Headshot
You don't see glass shatter much anymore. I guess scientists have figured out how to make it better or something. It's shame, though, because moments like these are amazing.
7. Glassbreaker 1
Wait for it...wait for it...wait for it...and...there it is.
That's definitely a charging penalty, but it's totally worth it to be able to tell your grandkids how, one time, you checked a guy so hard that it shattered the glass.
6. Glassbreaker 2
I said you don't see glass shatter all that much anymore. But, obviously, it does still happen. This one is from just a couple years ago.
5. Glassbreaker 3
If somebody asked me to name the greatest hitter in the history of hockey, the first name that would come to my mind is Scott Stevens. There are certainly others that would have to be considered, but that is my initial gut reaction.
This one, of course, is pretty dirty. However, it's also one of his most famous, given that it played a huge role in the downfall of Eric Lindros.
4. Scott the Destroyer, Part 1
Not all of Scott Stevens' hits were cheapshots, though. This one was just a case of a guy trying to move through one of the sturdiest players in the history of the game.
3. Scott the Destroyer, Part 2
This hit on Paul Kariya has to be one of the most brutal things I've ever seen. The kid just gets absolutely flattened.
2. Scott the Destroyer, Part 3
Jagr thinks that, because it's the Olympics, he can get away with more fancy stuff. Ovechkin politely informed Jagr that he was incorrect.