25 Dirtiest Hits in NHL History
In a game where it's OK to fight, shove people and blast hard three-inch pieces of rubber across the ice, it's really surprising that there are lines to be crossed.
Still, not all checks are legal; leading with the elbow, jumping or otherwise intending to injure the other player is looked down upon.
Several players have crossed the line throughout hockey's rough history.
25. Quinn on Orr
In 1969, Pat Quinn hit Bobby Orr hard.
It was done with either the shoulder or the elbow, but Quinn definitely hits Orr in the head.
24. Hunter on Turgeon
Dale Hunter's late hit on Pierre Turgeon was more of a frustrated reaction than that of an intent to injure.
23. Carcillo on Gilbert
Believers of karma will enjoy knowing that Dan Carcillo injured himself for the rest of the season on this play.
22. Ludwig on Selanne
The cross-check on Paul Kariya is more of a cheap shot than a dirty hit (there is a difference), but the hit on Teemu Selanne belongs here.
Craig Ludwig threw an elbow at the young Selanne.
21. Murray on Volchenkov
Garth Murray was the Canadien who shoved Anton Volchenkov into the boards on this play.
20. Chara on Pacioretty
Zdeno Chara pushed Max Pacioretty into a glass partition, causing severe injuries.
Chara's intentions were clearly not keeping in mind the health of his opponent.
19. Jones on Bergeron
Patrice Bergeron suffered a concussion from this hit from behind into the boards.
When a player is in the position that Bergeron is in, finishing the hit is not the safest idea.
18. Harvey on Barnaby
Todd Harvey just did what a lot of players wanted to: hit Matt Barnaby in the mouth.
17. Fedoruk on Nedved
What does a good enforcer do when his team is getting run?
He goes after the other team.
16. Kovalev on Tucker
At the beginning of this clip, Darcy Tucker goes for an elbow and misses.
Alex Kovalev simply returns the favor.
15. Domi on Niedermayer
Tie Domi gets Scott Stevens really angry by throwing an elbow at Scott Niedermayer's head.
Stevens is not someone you want to be mad at you while you are on the ice.
14. Salei on Modano
Ruslan Salei's push sent Mike Modano awkwardly into the boards.
13. Brown on Hudler
Mike Brown's hit on Jiri Hudler was a late elbow to the head.
12. Nolan on Marshall
Owen Nolan caught Grant Marshall completely off guard and rocked him in the head.
11. Downie on McAmmond
The worst part about this hit is that Steve Downie probably would have destroyed Dean McAmmond even if he stayed on his feet.
Downie was suspended 20 games for the hit, the fourth longest in NHL history at the time.
10. McLaren on Zednik
Kyle McLaren delivers a completely unnecessary elbow to the head of Richard Zednik in the waning minutes of a blowout game.
9. Sutton on Tucker
Just 23 seconds after a line brawl between these teams, Atlanta's Andy Sutton applied this hit to Toronto's Darcy Tucker.
Tucker's face was driven directly in the glass. Despite bleeding all over himself, Tucker went at Sutton in the penalty box after.
8. Hatcher on Roenick
I've had enough of those awful green jerseys!
7. Hunter on Murphy
Dale Hunter not only jumps at Gord Murphy, but he leads with his elbow as well.
6. Rice on Karpov
Before the scrutiny of Brendan Shanaban phased out physical hockey, you could end someone's career without being sent off for even a minor penalty.
Steven Rice's elbow to the face of Valeri Karpov marked the last time Karpov played NHL hockey.
5. Cooke on Savard
This single play may have changed the careers of three different individuals.
Colin Campbell's decision not to suspend Matt Cooke contributed to the scrutiny he faced as the head of supplementary discipline.
Savard's career was never the same after the incident, and it may very well be over due to head injuries.
This may have led to Cooke's decision to play a cleaner style of hockey.
4. Bure on Churla
Shane Churla was not even close to the puck here.
Pavel Bure delivered an elbow directly to the head of Churla that knocked out Churla.
3. Lemieux on Draper
Perhaps the most infamous dirty hit of all time, Claude Lemieux's destruction of Kris Draper essentially began one of hockey's greatest rivalries ever.
2. Bureau on Svoboda
Mark Bureau's late elbow knocked out Petr Svoboda.
Svoboda was unconscious and bleeding all over the ice after the incident and had to be taken off the ice on a stretcher after the incident.
What is interesting about this is that Bureau was only given a five-minute penalty for the hit, no game misconduct. Craig MacTavish jumped him later in the game.
Longer video of hit available here.
1. Shore on Bailey
This video from NHL.com explains the incident: a frustrated Eddie Shore hit Ace Bailey from behind and ended his career.
Bailey's skull was fractured on the play, several hours of surgery were necessary.
Bailey's No. 6 was the first number retired in the NHL.
The moment is a sore spot in Shore's Hall of Fame career. Shore won four Hart Trophies and is regarded as one of the greatest defensemen of all time.
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