Some say sports needs its villains as well as its heroes. The "new" NHL has been reluctant to play along with one hockey player who is called one of the best villains in any sport.
AskMen.com, an online men’s web portal, has posted two lists of the top ten villains in the NHL. One featured the likes of Alan Eagelson and David Frost. The list compiled by Mohit Arora stayed with hockey players who have played the role of villains rather than heroes.
His heroes are Wayne Gretzky, Bobby Orr, and Gordie Howe. His villains include Tiger Williams, Bobby Clark, Ulf Samuelson, Gary Suter, John Ferguson, and Eddie Shore, as well as four active players—Darcy Tucker, Todd Bertuzzi, Sean Avery, and Claude Lemieux.
Tie Domi did not make his list, and neither did Eddie Shack, John Kordic, Stan Jonithan, Terry O'Reiley, Ron Hextall, Dale Hunter, Eric Lindros, Kenny Linsman, Eric Lindros, or any of the Broad Street Bullies other than Bobby Clark.
Dave “Tiger” Williams of the Toronto Maple Leafs is the owner of the NHL’s record for career penalty minutes. He loved getting under his opponents’ skin—or simply splitting it open.
Bobby Clarke, captain of the Philadelphia Flyers in the ’70s, set the tone for the team that came to be known as the Broad Street Bullies. Clark was known for his toothless grin and vicious style of play. During the first Canada/CCCP Summit Series in 1972, he chopped the ankle of Soviet star Valery Kharlamov, and broke it. Some say that was why Canada won.
Todd Bertuzzi chased Colorado’s Steve Moore and attacked him from behind. Moore suffered a broken neck and Bertuzzi earned an indefinite suspension, as an assault charge and a civil suit.
Darcy Tucker of the Toronto Maple Leafs is known for his rough play, you might say.
Sean Avery was voted Most Hated Player in the NHL in 2007. The Avery Rule, for unsportsmanlike conduct, was named after him.
Ulf Samuelsson injured opponents with his elbow, hip, stick, and knees. He ruined the career of Bruins Cam Neely, who has the fourth best goals-per-game average in a single season in NHL history. When another villain, Tie Domi of Toronto, sucker punched him and knocked him unconscious, players from across the league called Domi to thank him.
Gary Suter was, they say, one of the most cold-blooded hit men to ever lace up. Among his many crimes are a baseball swing to the face of a Soviet opponent in the 1987 Canada Cup, a cross-check to the back of Wayne Gretzky in the 1991 Canada Cup, and a cross-check to the head of Paul Kariya in 1998, which forced Kariya to miss the Nagano Olympic Games as well as the rest of the NHL season.
John Ferguson vowed to be the “meanest, rottenest, most miserable cuss to ever play in the NHL” and did it.
Eddie Shore, The Edmonton Express, knocked Toronto’s Ace Bailey into the boards, from behind, which resulted in a fractured skull and the end of Bailey’s career. Shore was promptly punched and knocked unconscious by Red Horner. When Shore and Bailey recovered from their respective injuries, they shook hands and called it a day—it was a simpler time.
Claude Lemieux, called Pepe Lemieux, after the skunk, bit Calgary winger Jim Peplinski during the 1989 playoffs. After six years away from the NHL, playing for Zug in Switzerland and the China Sharks, he is making a comeback with the San Jose Sharks at age 43.