Los Angeles Kings: 5 Biggest Agitators in Franchise History
How about we take a minute this week to step away from the agitation that is taking place off the ice and remember the agitation that took place on the ice in Kings' history.
The agitator. You hate them on other teams and love them on your own. It's a role that a lot of players embrace, while others just seem to have the label placed on them. They dive, they chirp, they take cheap shots, they make clean hits, and they annoy the bejesus out of opposing teams and their fans.
The Los Angeles Kings have had few real headlining agitators in their history (save for one...). That aspect of the game has never really been big with the organization. That being said, there have been some noteworthy players that passed through the rank that were no strangers to stirring up stuff on the ice.
Who were they? Take a look and see.
Let's just get that elephant out of the room right away.
Yea that guy who did push-ups after a goal. That guy who had some inappropriate and crude words for his ex-girlfriend in the media. That guy who turtled in fights like this. Oh, and that guy that the NHL had to create a special rule for because he did stuff like this.
Let's be honest, if you look up the word agitator in the hockey dictionary this guy's face takes up the entire page. I believe he might also take up the entire page in the Don Cherry hockey dictionary under the word "gutless puke".
Avery even began agitating his own teammates, including Kings' present captain Dustin Brown, whom Avery used to mock for his lisp.
It's things like that that got Sean Avery playing himself out of the NHL at around the age of 30.
Really though, it's a shame, because Avery had talent as a solid bottom-six forward. Thrice in his career he eclipsed 30-points, and was one point shy of 40 back in 2005.
If you hated him don't worry, he threw his skates in the Hudson river to signify his retirement. One final ridiculous act that concluded a career of pretty ridiculous acts.
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Aside from having one of the best hockey names out there, Kelly Buchberger was a great captain, a solid defensive-minded forward and a noted agitator.
Buchberger had a storied career out in Edmonton where he compiled 13 seasons and two cups. He came to Los Angeles in the twilight of his career, but that didn't stop the guy from captaining the team and dropping the gloves with any who stepped to him.
Who could forget this fight with Brenden Shanahan? Maybe not the most monumental of fights, but watching two old school hockey players gut it out in fisticuffs is always fantastic.
In his two full seasons with the Kings, at age 36 and 37, Buchberger still compiled 75 and 105 penalty minutes respectively.
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Who could have known that when the Kings traded Marty McSorely and Jari Kurri to the Rangers for Ray Ferraro and Mattias Norstrom that the spare part of the trade, Ian Laperriere, would become a fan favorite, a captain and a nine-season member of the Los Angeles Kings?
Laperriere was tenacious, he was annoying, he was a pest, he was ugly and he was loved by the L.A. crowd.
If there was one moment that summed up Ian Laperriere's career, it was this. He sacrificed himself for the game in a lot of ways.
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While Tony Granato is a respected coach and a cognitive, nice guy off the ice, he was far from an angel on the ice.
Granato might go down as one of the more legendary agitators of his time alongside guys like Esa Tikkanen, and Ulf Samuellson.
His temper was often what got him in most trouble, as can be seen with plays like this.
He was also a part of the famous 1990 Kings-Oilers Brawl which saw fights from Messier, Buchberger, McSorely, Brian Benning, Steve Duchene, Tony Granato, Jeff Beukeboom, Craig MacTavish, Esa Tikkanen and goaltender Bill Ranford. (The brawl can be seen in its entirety in three parts on youtube: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.)
Granato was also an offensive force for several years. He played seven seasons with the Kings and in three of them had 60-plus points and 30-plus goals.
His 15-game suspension for slashing Neil Wilkinson (seen above) is still one of the longest suspensions in NHL history.
David 'Tiger' Williams
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Easily the best agitator in history to play in a Kings' uniform.
Williams stood at an intimidating 5'11", but he talked, acted, and played the game as if he were 6'8". Williams to this day is still the career leader in NHL penalty minutes. Most were fights. He played four years with the Kings, two in which he played nearly a full season.
In those seasons, Williams accumulated 320 and 358 penalty minutes. It's an insane number really.
If you take a look at Williams in this between period interview, you can absolutely tell that this was the attitude that got under the skin of many players back when he played. Williams had a swagger about him.
Tiger could start a fight with just about anyone in the league. He was that hated.
Williams legacy has not gone unnoticed. He was going to appear in the alumni game at this years NHL Winter Classic. However, well, you know the way that story ends.
Hey maybe if we got Williams in on the NHL and NHLPA meetings things would be moving a lot quicker. Or at the least maybe some REAL fights would break out.