By Tyler Ruby on April 24, 2014
Matt Cooke's latest incident involving the Colorado Avalanche's Tyson Barrie got me thinking. Where does Cooke rank among the worst cheap shot artists in history? That doesn't just include the NHL, but other leagues as well. Take a look at the 10 worst cheap shot artists in the history of North American sports.
Nicknamed "The Assassin," Jack Tatum earned his spot on this list for two hits. The first came in Super Bowl XI when he hit Vikings receiver Sammy White, who was running across the middle of the field to receive a pass. Tatum's hit was so violent that White's helmet flew about 10 feet away. The second hit came the following preseason when he hit New England Patriots' receiver Darryl Stingley on a similar play. Stingley never walked again.
For how a great of a player he actually was, Ty Cobb was just as dirty. There are rumors that he would sharpen his spikes to inflict damage on the other teams players when he slid into bases spikes-up. There's so much that is unknown about Cobb, which is why he isn't higher on the list. Allegedly, he was hated by fans and other teams alike, and he was also known to be a racist.
Matt Cooke has been suspended on multiple occasions, but maybe his most notable hit came vs. then-Bruins forward Marc Savard. Cooke hit Savard square in the head with his shoulder as Savard was preparing to take the shot, giving him a concussion that ultimately cost Savard his career. Cooke's latest cheap shot was a blatant knee-to-knee hit that sidelined Tyson Barrie for 4-6 weeks.
There could be a list of just Philadelphia Flyers on here, but Bobby Clarke, the captain of the "Broad Street Bullies", certainly took liberties with the opposition because of guys like Dave Schultz and Bob Kelly protecting him. He would use his stick as a weapon. He would hook and slash players in the ankles and on the hands, and his most famous slash came in the 1972 Summit Series against the U.S.S.R. when he slashed Valeri Kharlamov.
With 2,453 penalty minutes, Ulf Samuelsson was one of the dirtiest players to ever play in the NHL. He truly impacted and ended careers, as evidenced by his hits on Pierre Mondou and Cam Neely. Mondou caught Samuelsson's stick in his eyeball, and it ended his career. Neely took a knee-on-knee hit that resulted in recurring knee issues for the rest of his career.
Bruce Bowen is as cheap a player as the NBA has ever seen. He was infamous for sticking his foot underneath shooters, causing them to twist or sprain their ankles. In the 2007 playoffs, he blatantly kneed Steve Nash in the groin. Bowen toed the line, and he often crossed it when he was playing.
Dale Hunter isn't second all-time in penalty minutes for nothing. His most famous hit came against the Philadelphia Flyers in the 1993 Patrick Division semifinals, when he checked Pierre Turgeon in the head after a goal, causing him to miss the remainder of the playoffs. Hunter was suspended for 21 games for the hit.
He epitomized the "Bad Boy" Pistons. Seriously, how many fights did this guy get into? He took physicality to a completely different level. There were no such things as easy baskets and weak fouls with this guy. Laimbeer made sure that his opponents earned every point.
Chris Simon is no longer in the league, and that is probably a good thing. During his NHL career, he was suspended eight times for a grand total of 65 games. Two incidents stand out with him though. First, he took a swing with his stick toward the head of the Rangers' Ryan Hollweg. The other one came when he stomped on the leg of Jarkko Ruutu. Those two incidents alone cost him 55 games.
Conrad Dobler was named "Pro Football's Dirtiest Player" by Sports Illustrated in 1977. A right guard for the St. Louis Cardinals, Dobler quickly earned that title. Whether it was punching Joe Green, kicking Merlin Olsen, punching, biting and spitting on opponents, Dobler did whatever he could to get an advantage. And that's why he is No. 1 on this list.
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