Opposing players could predict with certainty how Dale Hunter would play against them. They knew it would be an unpleasant experience.
Hunter amassed 3,565 penalty minutes, the second most in NHL history. He compiled at least 100 penalty minutes in each of his 19 seasons, and at least 200 penalty minutes in 11 of them.
Over the course of 1,407 career games, his 3,565 penalty minutes average out to 2:32 penalty minutes per game.
Put a different way, Hunter averaged one fight for every 10 games he played, according to HockeyFights.com.
But these fights did not occur on a set schedule. Hunter was consistent, not predictable.
The same can be said for Hunter's actions on April 28, 1993, against the New York Islanders in Game 6 of the Patrick Division Semifinals. Christine Brennan of The Washington Post aptly described the incident at the time:
With 8 ½ minutes remaining, Dale Hunter, who should have been remembered as the star of this series for Washington, delivered one of the cheapest shots you'll ever see. Angry because New York's Pierre Turgeon scored to put the Islanders ahead 5-1, Hunter plowed him into the boards, leaving him with a separated shoulder. Turgeon left the arena in a sling and will be out up to six weeks, the Islanders said. Apparently, Hunter decided that if he was going to miss the rest of the playoffs, Turgeon should too. An eye for an eye, NHL-style...After the game, the Capitals closed their locker room to the media, a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence for this organization...For a club that prides itself on public relations, it was a dismal moment...It was ugly and messy and disgusting, all of it. And it was so unlike the Capitals.
The response by the NHL was predictable. Hunter received a 21-game suspension. At the time, it was the longest suspension in league history, according to ESPN.com.
Hunter's response, on the other hand, was both unforeseen and unfortunate, as told to Sandra McKee of The Baltimore Sun:
I didn't see the puck go in the net. I didn't know he scored, and I was just trying to finish my check. It was a clean check, but he put his arms up just before I hit him, and that was unfortunate. I'm sorry he got hurt. I'd take it back if I could.
Pierre Turgeon was not the only person blindsided by Dale Hunter on that fateful night.