Friday, August 28, 2009

Hockey Hell Voting: The Defensemen

The Right Wing voting wasn't much of a competition, with Marty McSorley walking to an easy victory with over 82% of the vote. The Hockey Hell series rolls on, with this week posing perhaps the greatest challenge. This week you are to pick two (2) of the four no-goodniks below. It's not as easy of a challenge as it appears -- your choices will probably depend on your definition of "dirty" and whether you happen to be a Flyers or Devils fan.

If you're wondering what this series is all about, click here.

If you're wondering where Ulf Samuelsson is on this list, click here.

Bryan Marchment, 9 teams

- Notorious for taking players out at the knees, especially with knee-to-knee hits against more agile players.
- In his first 12 NHL seasons, he was suspended 13 times.

- A conservative list of stars whose careers were impacted by Marchment's cheapshots would include: Greg Adams, Glenn Anderson, Pavel Bure, Wendel Clark, Kevin Dineen, Mike Gartner, Paul Kariya, Mike Modano, Joe Nieuwendyk, Martin Rucinsky, Doug Weight, and Peter Zezel.
- He had a long-running feud with Mike Gartner, one of the league's classier players, which began in 1985 when he punctured Garnter's lung with a cheap hit.

Among his memorable cheapshots:

- Elbow on Mike Modano.

- Knee-on-knee with Nieuwendyk. (the Stars organization hates Marchment)

- Suspended 3 games for spearing Paul Kariya.

- Suspended 6 games for concussing Carolina's Shane Willis with an elbow.

- Hit Florida's Byron Ritchie from behind, shattering his collarbone and injuring him for an entire season.

- Part of an epic brawl against Wendel Clark as detailed by Down Goes Brown.

- In addition to being a cheapshot artist of the first class, he also agitated retaliation penalties.
- Proved too much of a headcase for Mike Keenan.
- Called Donald Brashear a "big monkey", then threatened to sue the league if it didn't establish clearer guidelines on racist speech, forcing the NHL to hire a full-time "sensitivity trainer".

- Like Chris Pronger below, Marchment never really acknowledged the severity of his actions. Instead he chose to blame the rest of the league for "unfairly" judging him, and frequently blamed his penchant for knee-to-knee hits on "instinct" instead of conscious choice.

- Ironically, he retired after blowing out his knee in a collision with Toronto's Jason Allison.

Chris Pronger, Whalers/Blues/Oilers/Ducks/Flyers

- As a rookie, Pronger was involved in a barroom brawl and was arrested for drunk driving.

- Early in his career, he was lambasted for immaturity and a lack of focus in the playoffs.

- It would be impossible in this format to catalogue his thousands of high hits, elbows, and other cheapshots. Youtube just doesn't have that kind of bandwidth.

- Demanded a trade out of Edmonton; it was later revealed that his wife, Lauren, didn't like the city. His trade to Anaheim conjured painful memories of the Gretzky trade, leaving an entire fanbase insulted and bitter.

- Was suspended in both the Conference Final and the Stanley Cup Final in 2007, for elbowing Tomas Holmstrom and Dean McAmmond, respectively.

- This clip speaks for itself.
- Most notorious moment: his skate-stomp on Ryan Kesler, which drew an 8-game suspension.

- Laid a vicious and unnecessary elbow on budding Devils star Zach Parise.

- Another elbow away from the play, this one on budding Red Wings star Pavel Datsyuk. See the pattern?

- Rather than take responsibility for his obvious lack of respect for other players' safety, Pronger has consistently argued that he is simply too tall to play a clean game. Of course, this has never been a problem for tall guys like Larry Robinson and Zdeno Chara, lending Pronger an additional reputation as an excuse-maker.

- lists Pronger as the third-most hated player in the league (behind Avery and Crosby), calling him "quite easily the dirtiest player in the entire league".

- For the love of god, he just signed with the Flyers.
Scott Stevens, Devils/Blues/Captials

- His nickname, "Mr. Devil", says it all.

- As a rookie he was suspended for "biting and scratching" during a fight.
- At about the same time, he was named in a rape scandal which also involved Dino Ciccarelli.
- Suspended for his prominent role in the St. Patrick's Day Massacre brawl -- in which he fought none other than Dave Manson. No eye-gouging this time.
- Stevens' early career was defined by his knack for disrupting an entire franchise. His bloated contract with St. Louis, which cost them five first-round picks as compensation to Washington, contributed to the inflation of salaries leaguewide.

- When the Blues also poached Brendan Shanahan, they were forced by arbitration to send Stevens to New Jersey. Stevens refused to report, and the Devils locker room nearly fell apart in the ensuing power struggle. Three years later, he signed another enormous offer sheet with St. Louis, and was at the center of a tampering scandal which cost them $1.5 million and two first-round picks... and the Devils kept Stevens anyway.

- Stevens' bloated contract sheets with St. Louis were a factor in the labor issues which led to the 1995 lockout. Ironically, his Devils team took advantage of the shortened season to win a Stanley Cup.
- In that year's Finals, Stevens made his mark as a nightmarish open-ice hitter with a devastating, concussion-inducing run on Slava Kozlov.

- In the 2000 playoffs, he re-established the Devils' physical reputation by concussing Philadelphia's Daymond Langkow.

- Five games later, he sent Eric Lindros' career into a death-spiral with yet another open-ice hit to the head. It occurred on practically the same patch of ice as the Langkow hit.

- With less than 20 seconds left in a playoff game, Stevens crossed the ice to TKO Carolina's Shane Willis, leading to accusations that he was intentionally running players in order to injure them.

- In the very next game, Stevens pulverized Hall of Famer Ron Francis, leaving his victim to crawl noodle-legged back to the bench.

- Perhaps his most frightening hit was on Paul Kariya in the 2003 Finals. Once again, Stevens waited until a star player's attention was diverted at the blue line, and launched a headshot that knocked Kariya out cold.
- In 2001, The Sporting News ranked him the fifth-most feared player in NHL history.

Gary Suter, Flames/Blackhawks/Sharks

- Suter barely even qualified to play in the NHL, having been passed over in two drafts and then finally selected in the 9th round in 1984. At the time, he was lugging cases of beer for a living.
- Modeled himself after Chris Chelios, which says quite a lot about his aspirations.

- Was the league's most notorious "headhunter" for most of his career, establishing a reputation specifically for crosschecking opponents in the head.

- The most egregious example of this was his sickening crosscheck on Paul Kariya in 1998. This kept Kariya out of that year's Olympics and, some say, signalled the end of his time as a superstar.

- Just in case you thought the Kariya incident was isolated, here he is crosschecking Adam Deadmarsh in the head. Deadmarsh retired due to recurrent concussions.

- In the 1987 Canada Cup, he laid a vicious two-handed chop to the face of Andrei Lomakin.

- Hit Wayne Gretzky from behind during the Canada Cup championship in 1991, sidelining the Great One for the rest of the tournament. The ensuing back spasms eventually led to the decline and end of Gretzky's career.

- Later in the tournament, he committed the key turnover to end a USA rally against Canada and caused the Americans to be eliminated.

- He was responsible for the ACL injury which altered Pavel Bure's career and slowed down one of the NHL's most entertaining players.

- His general lack of respect for other players was evident even in situations in which he got off scot-free.

- At least one site calls him "the dirtiest player to play for Calgary, one of the dirtiest players ever to play in the NHL, and quite possibly the dirtiest player to ever lace the skates up for Team USA."

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Friday, August 21, 2009

Hockey Hell Voting: The RWs

Congrats (?) to Jarkko Ruutu, who won the LW voting in a landslide due to some collaborative effort by Leafs Nation. We move on to the Right Wing position, where things aren't going to get any easier. If you're not familiar with the Hockey Hell series, click here for an explanation.

Matthew Barnaby (7 teams)

Nickname = "Barney". Ugh.

Played with total lack of respect for any opponent.

Ambushed Flyers goalie Garth Snow after faking an injury.

Promised to cheapshot Dominik Hasek during training camp, as retaliation for Hasek's feud with former coach Ted Nolan.

Demanded a trade out of Buffalo, then changed his mind, then changed his mind again and was finally traded.

Set off a mini-controversy after making "obscene gestures" to the crowd in Philly.

During that incident, called a nearby TV cameraman a "Puerto Rican bitch".

Engaged in a bizarre series of semi-serious off-ice fights with teammate Rob Ray.
Became an ESPN analyst, following in the footsteps of widely-respected NHL figures such as Mike Milbury and Barry Melrose.

Jesse Boulerice Flyers/Hurricanes/Blues/Oilers

He was drafted by the Flyers, of course.

His NHL career was relatively brief, at only 172 games, due to his lack of genuine skill and talent. His career high in scoring was 6 goals in a full season with Carolina.
Charged with assault in juniors for clubbing Andrew Long in the head.

TKO'ed by Aaron Downey in perhaps the most-viewed hockey clip ever.

Received the second-longest suspension in history (see below) for cross-checking Ryan Kesler in the face.
Was waived twice in two weeks.

Marty McSorley (6 teams)

Appeared in the movie Forget Paris and the TV show CSI: Miami. That's two strikes.

Was a pure goon, never breaking 15 goals despite playing with the high-flying Oilers and Gretzky-era Kings.

Made his reputation as "Wayne Gretzky's bodyguard" in Edmonton and Los Angeles. This ushered in an era of goon specialists, which eventually led to the instigator penalty.

His two-handed chop to Donald Brashear's head remains one of the worst stick fouls in the history of the sport. His one-year suspension was the longest ever.

In the fallout of the Brashear incident, McSorley became one of the few professional athletes to be charged with an on-field crime. He served 18 months probation for assault with a weapon.

His entry into European hockey, after being blackballed from the NHL, was blocked by the IIHF (which is not known for heavy-handedness in such matters).

With the most boneheaded illegal-stick penalty in history, he destroyed the Kings' only shot at a Stanley Cup to date.

Was "mysteriously" fired without explanation from the Sharks broadcast team, in the middle of a playoff series.

Prototypical "hockey hair".

Received a 10-game suspension in the AHL for a stick attack on Joel Baillargeon. The Oilers called him up immediately and he never served a single game.

Suspended 3 games for spearing Calgary's Mike Bullard late in a playoff game.

Suspended 6 days for crosschecking Boston's Darren Banks in the forehead during a timeout.

Suspended four games for eye-gouging Bob Errey.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Friday, August 14, 2009

Hockey Hell Voting: The Left Wings

Congrats are in order to Bobby Clarke, who won a landslide election into Hockey Hell this week. Dale Hunter put up a respectable showing in second place, and Ken Linseman finished a distant third. With that, we move on to the Left Wing position, and the four candidates listed below.

Be sure to take a good look at each candidate as this is an especially competitve category. If nothing else, click the hyperlinks which almost all point toward a Youtube vid or archived news article worth seeing. Click here for an explanation of the Hockey Hell series. Voting for the LW position ends next Friday!

Tie Domi, Toronto Maple Leafs/New York Rangers

- An impressive set of records: Third-highest PIM total in league history... Leads the Maple Leafs in career PIMs... Broke Tiger Williams' record for most PIMs in a season by a Leaf.

- Once arrived to the rink halfway through a game, having stayed at his hotel to voice his displeasure at being benched.

- Sucker-punched Ulf Samuelsson. (This might actually count as a positive.)

- Egregiously cheapshotted Scott Niedermayer, knocking him out cold with an elbow to the head during the '01 playoffs. Instead of apologizing, he sought sympathy in a blubbering press conference.

- Played two exhibition games as a placekicker for the Toronto Argonauts in the CFL -- the lamest imaginable sport-to-sport crossover.

- Has a brother named Dash, who was once involved in some seedy government dealings. Tie and Dash Domi... really. What is this, an episode of Pokemon?

- Suspended for 6 games for an AHL pregame fight.

- Was involved in this ugly incident in 1999, a rare but shameful example of Domi letting his teammates fight his battles.

- Inconceivably, he racked up 42 PIM while dressing in only two games in 1989.

- In 1997-98, he scored only 4 goals while racking up a breathtaking 365 PIM. He scored roughly one goal for every 7 fights.

- Threatened with banishment from his 11-year-old son's hockey league after verbally abusing the coach. The situation escalated to the point that Domi threatened to sue the coach in retaliation.

Jarkko Ruutu, Vancouver Canucks/Pittsburgh Penguins/Ottawa Senators

- Bit Andrew Peters on the thumb during a fight, then denied it, then claimed that it was Peters' fault for sticking his fingers in Ruutu's mouth.

- Was on the receiving end of Chris Simon's notorious skate-stomp. And he probably deserved it.

- Finished 3rd in an SI poll to determine the league's dirtiest players -- only a point behind Chris Pronger and Steve Ott.

- A notorious diver, who usually agitates another player and then hits the deck on first contact

- Despite a memorable performance on the scoresheet, his diving during the IIHF championships was the subject of international mockery.

- Also a notorious chatterbox, in the mold of fellow Finn Esa Tikkanen.

- Has committed as many ridiculous acts of violence in international competition as he has in the NHL.

- Picks his spots when fighting. For example, he jumped an injured Milan Lucic at the end of a long shift, and got a set of bruised ribs for his trouble.

Dave Schultz, Philadelphia Flyers/Los Angeles Kings/Pittsburgh Penguins/Buffalo Sabres

- Nicknamed "The Hammer".

- Was the most violent member of the Broad Street Bullies teams in Philadelphia, pairing with Bobby Clarke and Dave Williams to round out the dirtiest lineup of all time.

- Enabled Clarke's cheapshottery by providing cover for him when enforcers came calling. Common wisdom has it that Clarke was only able to survive his playing career because of Schultz's presence during line brawls.

- Brought a back-alley style of fighting to the ice. Schultz frequently pulled hair, gouged eyes, bit, scratched and otherwise maimed opponents.

- Nearly broke the unthinkable 500-PIM barrier, setting a league record with 472 in 1974-75.

- Originated the "Schultz Rule", which bans boxing wraps on the wrists of players who fight.

- Nearly sparked a melee at Nassau Coliseum in 1974, headbutting the Islanders' Gary Howatt along the glass and then reaching over to provoke an unruly NY crowd.

- In Game 7 of the 1974 semi-finals, Schultz jumped Rangers defenseman Dale Rolfe and pounded him mercilessly, pulling his hair and punching him repeatedly with little opposition. Rolfe registered all of 56 PIM that season, to Schultz's 348. The Flyers won the game and the series.

- In 1975, he recorded the song "Penalty Box".

- Despite a solitary 20-goal season, Schultz brought little hockey skill to the table. He bounced around the league as a role player in the late 70s and early 80s, never playing two full seasons for the same team. He washed out of the league in 1980, ignominiously retiring in the AHL.

- Bit Leafs enforcer Kurt Walker on the nose.

- Sucker-punched Vancouver rookie John Vanboxmer, knocking him out cold...

- ... and then signed photos of the incident...

- ... even though he was schooled by Hall of Famer Larry Robinson only moments later.

- On his own website, the only clips from his playing days are of brutal fights including the Rolfe mugging.

- Stars in one of the league's most notoriously violent photographs.

Darcy Tucker, Montreal Canadiens/Tampa Bay Lightning/Toronto Maple Leafs/Colorado Avalanche

- Toronto media nickname = Sideshow Bob

- A notorious diver and whiner.

- Took out Jochen Hecht's knees. Are you sensing a pattern?

- Brother-in-law to Shayne Corson, who is no stranger to the suspension list.

- Pounded by Jarkko Ruutu in one of the all-time great d-bag showdowns.

- Mugged, and then mocked, Patrick Eaves who had never dropped the gloves before... after the latter laid him out on a clean check.

- No. 7 on's list of all-time NHL villains, ahead of Todd Bertuzzi and Bobby Clarke.

- Frequently refuses to answer the bell when challenged to a fight. Never was this more evident than when he repeatedly dodged Chris Neil of the Sens.
- He was both a Hab and a Leaf.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Video: Jordan Caron gets destroyed by Colton Teubert

Vid has finally surfaced of the monster hit that broke the clavicle of Boston's first-round pick. The executioner is Colton Teubert, a Kings prospect who was picked 13th overall last year.

Put in a mouthguard before you watch this, otherwise the seismic wave will give you a concussion.

Hopefully Caron will have learned his lesson. This is why NHL players don't look at their laces when crossing the blue line.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Thursday, August 13, 2009

HCTB enters the Twitter-sphere

"Follow me!", says the creepy little bird.

In my ever-continuing quest to sit at the cool kids' lunch table, I am launching a new Twitter account for this blog: This is going to be used primarily to announce new posts, but also to submit real-time reactions on the Bruins, the NHL, and anything else relevant to hockey fans. If you only want to hear my ramblings in 140-character increments, this is right down your alley!

Please note that this is NOT my personal Twitter and I have no intention of telling you what I'm eating for breakfast. Sorry, ladies.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Friday, August 7, 2009

Hockey Hell voting: The Centers

Ok folks, time to get this thing started. This week we will take a look at 3 of the most unholy men ever to patrol NHL ice at the center position. Take a few moments to read over their list of qualifications, and cast your vote in the poll to the right. Voting will be open until next Friday.

If you're wondering what this is about, go to this post for an explanation of the rules.

"If you can't be good, at least be good at being bad."

Bobby Clarke, Philadelphia Flyers


- Was the captain and embodiment of the Broad Street Bullies mystique, leading a parade of brawlers which set the NHL's image back 50 years.

- Most famous play: sparking an international incident with a shameful slash to the ankle of Russian star Valeri Kharlamov in the '72 Summit Series.

- Only days later, butt-ended Czechoslovak captain Frantisek Pospisil in what the New York Times called "what might be the dirtiest play ever captured on film".

- In an NHL-USSR exhibition in 1976, Clarke contributed to an embarrassing display of goonery that led to the Soviet team abandoning the ice in protest.

- Canadian hockey hero (and Summit Series teammate) Paul Henderson once said to a reporter that dirty play was Clarke's "trademark".

- Fourth all-time in PIM for the Flyers, which is saying something.

- Once described his Flyers as "20 guys without brains".

- One of the longest-tenured GMs not to win a Cup -- only Bob Pulford has a worse record.

- Made perhaps the most damaging trade in NHL history, acquiring Eric Lindros in exchange for numerous players who would become the centerpiece of two Cup runs in Colorado. What's more, the arbitrator who awarded Lindros to the Flyers was the granduncle of none other than Todd Bertuzzi. Birds of a feather...

- Defended a medical staff that advised Lindros to board a plane instead of receiving treatment for a collapsed lung. If Clarke had had his way, Lindros probably would have died.

- Generally credited with causing Lindros to devolve from "The Next One" into a fuzzy-brained fourth liner.

- As GM of the '98 Olympic team, he tapped utility winger Rob Zamuner but passed on national legend Mark Messier.

- In that same year, he passed over veterans such as Gretzky, Yzerman and Bourque for the captain's "C"... instead giving the honor to his pet project with the Flyers, young Eric Lindros.

- Replaced Roger Nielson as coach... while Nielson was on a leave of absence for cancer treatments. Was quoted as saying, "We didn't tell him to go get cancer... he went goofy on us."

- Burned through 6 coaches in 5 seasons, blaming each for the Flyers' playoff failures.

- Gave Derian Hatcher a job, even after the rest of the NHL had wised up.

- Rated by as the 4th worst GM of all time... in any sport.

- Recently called the renaissance of hockey in Pittsburgh, Washington and Chicago "embarrassing" for the league.

Dale Hunter, Washington Capitals/Quebec Nordiques


- Nickname: "La Petite Peste".

- Holds the league record for playoff PIM, and is second in regular season history. Taking both numbers together, he finished a mere 127 PIM behind Tiger Williams for the all-time title.

- Holds the franchise PIM record in both Washington and Colorado.

- Holds the record for playoff games without winning a Cup.

- But his most famous record of all: After committing one of the most egregious cheapshots in league history, Hunter received a precedent-setting 21-game ban from newly-minted commissioner Gary Bettman. The replay is still a Youtube favorite for all the wrong reasons.

- Known around the league as a butcher with his stick.

- Played a key role in the infamous Good Friday Brawl between Montreal and Quebec. Near the 7:00 mark of the video, you can see him pounding on his own brother.

- Then there's this.

- To acquire Sakic from Quebec, Washington traded away the draft pick that would become Joe Sakic.

- Of all career 1000-point scorers, Hunter took the longest to accomplish the feat.

- When the Caps retired his number in 2000, they presented him with a symbol of his accomplishments -- a penalty box from the old Capital Center.

- As a coach, Hunter was fined or suspended by the CHL a total of 4 times during a single span of 12 months.

- During that period, he was also arrested for DUI. The charges were dismissed on a technicality.

Ken Linseman, Bruins/Flyers/Oilers/Leafs


- One of the great nicknames in hockey: "The Rat". Bobby Clarke coined it.

- Wore #13.

- Played for both the Flyers AND the Bruins.

- Probably the first "super pest" to be recognized as such.

- Charged and convicted of assault for kicking a player in the forehead with his skate during junior-league play.

- Later, he was fined $200 for attempting to kick Montreal's Robert Picard during a scuffle. Yes, that's two kicking incidents in the same career. Eat your heart out, Chris Simon!

- Before going pro, he engaged in a high-stakes legal squabble with the WHA. The battle ended when his family filed a restraining order against the league, allowing him to play. This was the grounds for the WHA's raiding of under-20 players such as Gretzky, Messier and Gartner, an unprecedented blow to the NHL's talent pool.

- Called the Lady Byng trophy an "embarrassment".

- Particularly well known for running his mouth nonstop at opponents, but only occasionally dropping the gloves to back it up.

- Traded twice in one day.

- Fought Dean Kennedy under the stands at the Edmonton Coliseum. Kennedy required stitches because Linseman used his stick during the fight, and slammed Kennedy's head onto the concrete floor.

- Bit the the Oilers' Lee Fogolin in the face. Fogolin required a tetanus shot.

- No need to go into detail about what happened here.

- Yet another player known for his liberal use of the stick.

- Scored 3 series-clinching goals in 1984 alone, including the Cup-winner, making him the Claude Lemieux of his time.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Hockey Hell Class of 2009

Last week saw the announcement of the US Hockey Hall of Fame's class of 2009 -- congrats are owed to former NHL stars Tony Amonte, John LeClair and Tom Barrasso for their selection to the hallowed halls.

That signals the beginning of the second annual Hockey Hell inductions! Last summer we got a great response to the inaugural class, so this year brings an opportunity for the readership to weigh in on the nominations. Every Friday, for the next five weeks, you the reader will have an opportunity to review the nominations and vote for one candidate in the poll on the right. Voting will be open until the following Friday.

The rules are pretty simple: The purpose of Hockey Hell is to recognize the villains of the game. Think of it as a sort of anti-HoF. Qualification is based upon dirtiness, notoriety, famous cheap shots, “pest” factor, and general personal disdain.

Last year's First Line featured 6 of the biggest scumbags to ever lace up a pair of skates:
C - Sean Avery
LW - Chris Simon
RW - Claude Lemieux
D - Sprague Cleghorn
D - Ulf Samuelsson
G - Ron Hextall

This year we'll be looking for a Second Line to provide a little depth to the lineup. Voting starts tomorrow morning! Keep this page bookmarked as it will be updated to reflect each poll.

August 7-13 - Centers - Bobby Clarke, Dale Hunter, Ken Linseman
August 14-20 - Left Wingers - Tie Domi, Jarkko Ruutu, Dave Schultz, Darcy Tucker
August 21-27 - Right Wingers
August 28 - September 3 - Defensemen
September 4 - September 10 - Goalies

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Weird facts of the day

Just came across a couple of odd tidbits while looking over the list of 500-goal scorers.

Four of the 41 players to hit that mark did so on an empty net.
Mike Bossy - January 2, 1986
Wayne Gretzky - November 22, 1986
Jari Kurri - October 17, 1992
Keith Tkachuk - April 6, 2008

Even more strange: Three scored their 500th against Patrick Roy.
Steve Yzerman - January 17, 1996
Joe Mullen - March 14, 1997
Brendan Shanahan - March 23, 2002

Only two players - Espo and the Chief - have scored their 500th as a Bruin. The next player in line to hit the mark is Jarome Iginla, who looks to be 2-3 seasons away.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Back from hiatus

I'm back from a short break and reasonably caught up at work so posting will resume -- and hopefully continue more or less uninterrupted through the rest of the upcoming season.

Let's take a look at the big events that happened over the course of the past week and a half:


Ok then. Keep an eye out for this year's Hockey Hell selections coming later this week. Only 2 months till puck drop!

Stumble Upon Toolbar