By PowerPlayCJ @powerplaywithcj on August 27, 2014
There are a multitude of reasons why NHL players are disliked by their opponents, teammates and/or fans; sometimes they throw cheap shots, sometimes they have a reputation for diving and other times it might be contract related. Regardless, every team has at least one opponent who it isn’t exactly Mr. Popularity, and in many ways that hatred is what makes hockey so uniquely awesome.
The newest Duck has a reputation for diving in a way that would make the great Greg Louganis proud. Kesler’s a thorn in the side of opponents and will be on the receiving end of the same amount of hatred in Orange County as he was in Vancouver by fans and opponents alike.
Despite being a former Vezina candidate and backbone of the Coyotes’ success, Smith has a hard time staying on his skates as he dives and flops on the ice like a trout almost nightly. Opposing fans and players alike can’t stand seeing such a large goalie hit the deck on even the slightest of brushes.
Where to begin -- he dives, throws cheap shots and says really dumb things. If there was a walking, talking embodiment of hate Marchand would be it. There are 29 teams that hate “The Little Ball of Hate”, but he is as beloved in Boston as Dunkin Donuts and clam chowder.
The giant defenseman hasn’t lived up to his massive contract and has regressed since winning the Calder Trophy as a teenager. A three-game suspension for a hit to the head last season didn’t earn him any love from players around the league.
Wideman was despised by Boston fans when he was a Bruin for his untimely turnovers and at times atrocious play. Expect the defenseman to hear the boo birds when the Flames travel to Boston on Mar. 5.
Capitals fans hated Semin for his inconsistencies and at times very bad attitude. Now he has a massive contract and is back to his inconsistent play in Carolina. As the old saying goes, “a leopard doesn’t change his spots."
The Slovakian sniper is a potential Hall of Famer and has been a big part of the team’s turnaround. Having said that, he bolted the Pittsburgh Penguins and Detroit Red Wings after hinting he was going to stay both times. Every time the Hawks play in Steel Town or the Motor City the boo birds descend on the man in red wearing No. 81.
The enforcer had a very intriguing route to the NHL and showed that longshots can make it to the best league in the world. Having said that, he has thrown cheap shots in the past and earned a five-game suspension in 2013 for boarding.
He has left several teams, thrown cheap shots and once made an obscene gesture to Sean Avery (okay, that one can slide). “Wiz” is a good player and helped the Jackets make their second ever playoff appearance last season, but he’ll never be a beloved figure by opposing fans and players.
Roussel came on strong last season and emerged as a bona fide NHL player, amassing 14 goals over 200 penalty minutes for the upstart Stars. His job description includes irking opposing players as a means to gain a competitive advantage, which he does very well.
The former Michigan State Spartan is a thorn in the side of opposing players, and he wouldn’t have it any other way. His grit, tenacity and ability to infuriate opponents complements Detroit’s otherwise skill based lineup.
Minnesota fans hate Pouliot for not living up to his billing as a high draft pick and acting like a spoiled child. Montreal fans despise him for his inconsistency, as do fans in Boston Tampa Bay and New York. The Oilers bestowed a massive contract upon the winger despite these issues. It won’t be long before Edmonton fans join in the chorus of Pouliot haters.
The enforcer will always be beloved in Boston and Panthers fans will join in the love, but his cheap shot on Brooks Orpik last season rubbed many fans around the league the wrong way. Look for Thornton to be booed regularly when the Panthers go on the road next season.
Brown brings it every night and is one of the toughest players in the league to go up against on a nightly basis. His hits at times border on dirty, which hasn’t earned Brown many fans outside of Los Angeles.
Cooke is the dirtiest player in the league and someone the league would be better off without. Nothing more needs to be said.
Subban’s enthusiasm and love for the game irks many hockey purists and opposing players. His reputation as a diver hasn’t helped him either, as fans around the league routinely boo the 2013 Norris Trophy winner whenever he touches the ice.
When Nashville acquired Neal for the scoring void they have in their lineup, they also acquired one of the most hated players in the NHL. Neal throws elbows, goes knee on knee and is at times a recklessly dangerous player. Don’t expect Neal to be exchanging best wishes with any opposing players anytime soon.
Bernier’s misconduct penalty in Game 6 of the 2012 Stanley Cup Final all but secured the Cup for the Los Angeles Kings and Devils fans haven’t let him forget it. His physicality, which borders on reckless at times, has made him a target in opposing arenas throughout the league.
The former Sarnia Sting winger is a thorn in the side of his opponents, and that kind of play surely has earned him some haters. Add in the hostile fans he plays in front of on the road and you have the most hated player on the Islanders’ roster.
A year ago St. Louis would have been the most beloved player on his team, but the way he forced his way out of Tampa soured the perception of many fans inside and outside the state of Florida. It’s too bad it came down to that, because there were few players more liked around the league by players and fans alike before Marty threw the childish fit that landed him in New York.
The massive defenseman is tough to play against and has been booed heavily since his college hockey days with the Boston University Terriers. His hit on Lars Eller during the 2013 playoffs helped breed hatred, especially amongst Montreal fans.
The Flyers seem to love being hated like no other team in sports, but this Philly squad is at the very least borderline likeable. That being said, Rinaldo is a tough customer who no one wants to go up against on a nightly basis. His suspensions also have strengthened the negativity in his reputation that in many ways the former Barrie Colt feeds off.
Greatness breeds hatred and jealousy, and Crosby epitomizes greatness like no other. Sid also has earned a reputation as a whiner and a diver that fans around the league let him hear every time he walks into another opposing arena.
John Scott isn’t really a hockey player; he's a giant goon who wears skates. It’s laughable the Sharks signed him and even more laughable the “enforcer” is still in the league. Suffice it to say Scott isn’t well liked anywhere.
The former Canuck learned much in Vancouver about how to dive, throw cheap shots and make a mockery of the game we all love. The Blues will need him to infuriate opponents if they wish to make a run in the Stanley Cup playoffs this season, much to the chagrin of the competition.
The Lightning are arguably the most likable team in hockey as there isn’t a single “bad guy” on the team. Having said that, St. Louis Blues fans are bitter how Brewer left for Tampa in 2011 and during a trying 2013 season his home fans turned on him. If that’s the closest the Lightning get to pure hatred, then Steve Yzerman is surely doing something right.
Between suspensions and his laughable contract Leafs management bestowed upon him last summer, it’s hard to find anyone who appreciates Clarkson. He also is deeply attached to water bottles and doesn’t want anyone else touching his, which is something that makes him look even more petty and idiotic.
It’s not hard to find a hated player on the Canucks as they truly bring it on themselves like no other team in the league. Burrows dives, throws cheap shots and even bites fingers, a hat trick to end all hat tricks if I do say so myself.
Much like Crosby, greatness draws haters and Ovechkin knows what it’s like to be hated. Between his dangerous hits, knack for diving, lack of anything resembling defense and at times inability to produce in the clutch, it’s no surprise AO is maligned by fans and players alike.
Rightly or wrongly, Kane is hated seemingly everywhere he goes. Between his bad reputation in Winnipeg restaurants for walking out on tabs and his now infamous “money phone” in Vegas during the lockout, EK has a Justin Bieber-like bad boy reputation. With the way the Jets are in transition, Kane could be taking his reputation on the road before too long.
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