The Most Polarizing Player in the History of Each NHL Team

Jeff LangridgeCorrespondent IIIFebruary 2, 2012

The Most Polarizing Player in the History of Each NHL Team

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    You either love 'em or hate 'em.

    They are the players you love to hate or hate to love. They might play for a rival team or they might even play for your favorite team. For whatever reason, these players just can't get fans of the game to agree on whether to like them or not.

    Here is the most polarizing athlete in each NHL team's history.

Anaheim: Chris Pronger

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    Okay, I'm only going to say this once as Chris Pronger makes more than one appearance on this list. Pronger is loved for the way he plays the game, but the way that he deals with the media at times can turn people off.

Boston: Ken Linseman

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    He was nicknamed "The Rat." What else do you expect?

Buffalo: Ryan Miller

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    Ryan Miller didn't earn this position until this season. Miller has always been a great goaltender, but this season, he has clearly underperformed and that has led some fans to think that the Buffalo Sabres would be better off without him.

    If he can regain his previous form, he might win some fans back, though.

Calgary: Dion Phaneuf

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    He was recently voted the most overrated player in the NHL. If other NHL players think that way about him, you can be sure that he's polarizing. People seem to forget that he was the other candidate for the Calder Trophy when Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin were up for it.

Carolina: Ulf Samuelsson

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    You're officially a polarizing player if you've pissed off Don Cherry.

Chicago: Jeremy Roenick

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    Jeremy Roenick has always been an interesting player. He might be the least polarizing player on this list but I couldn't find anyone else in Chicago's history.

Colorado: Semyon Varlamov

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    Semyon Varlamov was traded to Colorado for a first-round pick in the upcoming draft. The Avalanche felt comfortable that the acquisition of Varlamov would keep them out of the basement and bring them back to the playoffs.

    That hasn't been the case as Jean-Sebastien Giguere has been getting most of the starts as Varlamov has struggled all season long.

Columbus: Jeff Carter

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    Jeff Carter was thought to be the missing piece in Columbus when he was traded from Philadelphia last offseason. Injuries have gotten in his way, as he only has 17 points on the season, good for seventh on the team. Much more was expected of him, so he gets the honor as the most polarizing Blue Jacket.

Dallas: Mike Ribiero

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    Need I say more?

Detroit: Chris Osgood

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    Chris Osgood arguably had a Hall of Fame career. The problem is that the Red Wings were always interested in bringing in someone better. Whether it be Mike Vernon, Dominik Hasek or Jimmy Howard, Osgood had always lost his job when he really didn't deserve to.

Edmonton: Chris Pronger

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    There's the regular reason that Pronger is a polarizing player, but in Edmonton, he might be more so. His request for a trade after only one season definitely didn't sit right with fans.

Florida: Jay Bouwmeester

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    Jay Bouwmeester never lived up to expectations in Florida. After being drafted third overall in 2002, he was supposed to be one of the parts that led Florida back to the playoffs. He was a great player for them but he never got them to the promised land. It also didn't help that he got them basically nothing in the trade to Calgary, but that's not his fault.

Los Angeles: Drew Doughty

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    Another example of a player who was loved exclusively before a situation happened that changed people's opinions.

    Drew Doughty's holdout at the beginning of the season definitely turned some heads and more than a few fans have to think differently about him now. His slow start didn't do him any favors either.

Minnesota: Dany Heatley

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    Their aren't many polarizing players in Minnesota Wild history as they've only been around 10 years, so Dany Heatley takes this by default.

Montreal: Patrick Roy

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    If this doesn't show that Patrick Roy is the most polarizing player in Montreal's long history, I don't know what will.

Nashville: David Legwand

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    Michael Ryder. Erik Cole. Mikael Samuelsson. Brian Gionta. Shawn Horcoff. Mike Ribeiro. Simon Gagne. Scott Gomez. Alex Tanguay. Brad Richards. Pavel Datsyuk.

    That list of forwards were all drafted after David Legwand, who went second overall in the 1998 NHL entry draft. While Legwand is the Nashville leader in games played, goals, assists and points, you have to think that most fans in Nashville would rather have one of those last two names.

New Jersey: Scott Stevens

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    Granted, most of these hits are good, clean body checks, the last two pretty much were the beginning of the end of the careers of those players.

New York Islanders: Rick Dipietro

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    Okay, he might be more hated because he is paid so much and can't stay healthy, but there have to be a few people in Long Island who like him.

New York Rangers: Sean Avery

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    Enough said.

Ottawa: Dany Heatley

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    Dany Heatley appears on the list for a second time. Why well it might have something to do with the fact that he all but forced a trade out of Ottawa, rejecting at least one trade, before finally settling on San Jose.

Philadelphia: Bobby Clarke

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    I could have named anyone who played for the Flyers in their heyday, but I'm going to go with perhaps the best Flyer of all time, Bobby Clarke. A great offensive player, and a great defensive player, but as you could say about all Flyers of that time, they would try to win at all costs. That probably didn't earn him any friends outside Philly.

Phoenix: Kyle Turris

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    Kyle Turris was drafted third overall by the Phoenix Coyotes in 2007. The plan was for him to be the centerpiece of the rebuilt Phoenix Coyotes. That all changed this season.

    No longer wanting to play in the desert, Turris all but demanded a trade and refused to sign a contract until November 22 and then got traded to Ottawa about a month later.

Pittsburgh: Sidney Crosby

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    Who else would it be?

    Sidney Crosby is the face of the NHL even with being out of the game for pretty much a year now. He has won a Stanley Cup and an Olympic gold medal, and all before the age of 25.

    That success has made him the target of certain people who don't appreciate how fast he has reached his accomplishments.

San Jose: Dany Heatley

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    After arriving from Ottawa, Dany Heatley enjoyed a season or two of not being a problem player. Then last season, his play suffered and it all started over again.

St. Louis: Chris Pronger

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    Surprise! Chris Pronger represents the team where he perhaps enjoyed his greatest individual successes.

Tampa Bay: Steve Downie

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    Simply said, Steve Downie can be a dirtbag at times. He has legions of fans in Tampa Bay, but the way he plays when he's not performing offensively can sometimes be downright disgusting.

Toronto: Phil Kessel

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    I tried to look deep into Leafs history for this one but could not find anyone more polarizing than Phil Kessel.

    Through no fault of his own, Kessel arrived in Toronto with huge expectations from fans that were disappointed that Brian Burke sent two first-rounders and a second-rounder Boston's way to acquire him.

    No matter how many goals he scores, Kessel will always have his detractors and that is unfortunate.

Vancouver: Roberto Luongo

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    He has guided Team Canada to an Olympic gold medal. He has brought his team to within a game of winning the Stanley Cup.

    Perhaps in the same boat as Sidney Crosby, Roberto Luongo just can't catch a break with some people. No matter what he does, he cannot convince his doubters that he is ready to bring this team to the next level.

Washington: Alex Ovechkin

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    Alex Ovechkin has all the skill in the world. He dazzles fans with his moves and some of the ways he scores goals is mesmerizing. I'm sure if he just played the skill game he'd still have his detractors but the way he plays when he's not scoring is despicable. His hit on Zbynek Michalek is evidence of that.

Winnipeg: Ilya Kovalchuk

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    He has never played for the Winnipeg Jets, but the Atlanta Thrashers former franchise player Ilya Kovalchuk definitely has to be named here. The way he treated the city of Atlanta, turning down a huge contract to stay with the team that made him a star, was wrong. Going to New Jersey and signing for the money he signed for just poured more salt in the wound.