Ranking the Biggest Trash Talkers in the NHL Entering 2013 Season
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Trash talking in the NHL is often one of the most overlooked aspects of the sport.
After all, if somebody says something that gets under your skin, you have the opportunity to drop the gloves and engage your agitator.
In other sports, trash talking will go unpunished. If you trash talk in the NHL, you better be willing to at least attempt to back it up or you'll get a label that will be very difficult to shake.
Former Rangers forward Sean Avery was at the top of this list in the past followed closely by Flyers defenseman Chris Pronger. Avery no longer has a place in the NHL and it seems unlikely Pronger will return any time soon. So both of those players are no longer on the list.
Here's six who are not afraid to agitate with their words.
6. Dion Phaneuf, Toronto Maple Leafs
Dion Phaneuf has been known as a trash talker since his days in Calgary.
He likes to let players know what he thinks of them and then he likes to take them on with his fists. Phaneuf had 92 penalty minutes last year and has had as many as 182 in a single season.
Phaneuf certainly knows what its like to be on the wrong end of trash talking as Sean Avery once referred to Phaneuf's fiance actress Elisha Cuthbert as his "sloppy seconds."
Phaneuf will run his own mouth and loves to get under the skin of opponents and teammates. He once chided teammate Phil Kessel for the high-scoring forward's propensity for eating cookies.
5. Brad Marchand, Boston Bruins
Every team needs an agitator and the Bruins have several.
However, Brad Marchand may be at the top of the list. Marchand may be diminutive at 5'9" and 183 pounds, but he will throw his body around and throw his words around.
He loves to go at it with Montreal Canadiens defenseman (and former junior teammate) P.K. Subban.
Marchand knows that part of his job is agitating his opponents, and he won't hesitate.
"I'm just trying to do what gets me into the game and if people think I'm being a pest, people think I'm being a pest," Marchand said during the middle of the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals against the Vancouver Canucks.
4. Dustin Byfuglien, Winnipeg Jets
Dustin Byfuglien is a big man who knows how to assert himself.
When the Chicago Blackhawks won the 2010 Stanley Cup, Byfuglien was one of the the Hawks' most dominant players.
When he scored a hat trick in the playoffs against the Vancouver Canucks (above, at the 2:05 mark), he was mouthing off after the third goal and more than happy to let his opponents know what he thought of them.
Byfuglien continues to trash talk with the Winnipeg Jets, but he hears plenty in return. Byfuglien is not known for his conditioning and he often appears indifferent about his physique on the ice (source: Winnipeg Sun).
3. Ryan Miller, Buffalo Sabres
Most NHL goalies are not known for their trash talk. Most are quiet and try to let their play do their talking.
But Buffalo Sabres goalie Ryan Miller will let it fly with both barrels. In the video above (2:00 mark), Miller goes off on Mike Richards, who was with the Philadelphia Flyers at the time.
Richards complained that officials were letting the Sabres get away with murder. That did not sit well with Miller, who thought the Flyers were the team playing vicious and dirty hockey.
"He thinks we're getting away with murder," Miller said. "What are they getting away with? Mass murder?"
Miller also let Milan Lucic have it verbally after the Bruins forward steamrolled Miller in 2011-12.
2. Maxim Lapierre, Vancouver Canucks
Few players in the NHL are more annoying than Maxim Lapierre.
He has lived to taunt players with his antics and his words since he started playing regularly in the NHL with the Montreal Canadiens in 2006-07.
One of his regular targets has been the Boston Bruins, first with the Canadiens and later with the Canucks.
He taunted Patrice Bergeron in the second game of the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals by putting his finger in front of Bergeron's mouth. He was mocking the biting incident of teammate Alex Burrows on Bergeron in the previous game.
Lapierre could then be seen verbally challenging (:25-second mark of video above) the Bruins from the safety of the Canucks' bench.
1. P.K. Subban, Montreal Canadiens
Montreal Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban has a big mouth.
He always has and that doesn't change when he's on the ice. He seemingly does not have a filter that allows him to turn off his cockiness.
After an incident with the Philadelphia Flyers in which he ended up battling former Flyer Mike Richards during his rookie year, Richards was incensed at Subban's words (1:55 mark on video above) and actions on the ice.
Richards said Subban needed to earn respect before he could start spouting off the way he did.
That was in the 2009-10 season. Three years later, nothing has changed and Subban is among the mouthiest players in the NHL.