The Dirtiest Hits in NHL History
Hockey has always been an incredibly violent game. A bunch of guys flying around on ice with knives attached to their feet. Something bad is bound to happen.
This article lists eight of the most gruesome or heinous hits in the history of the NHL. At the end of this article, I'll show the worst two hockey injuries ever.
This article is in no particular order, and if you think I've left any off, leave me a comment.
But, hey, at least none of them are this guy:
Marty McSorley on Donald Brashear, 2000
McSorley portrayed the worst in all NHL players when he struck Canucks forward Donald Brashear on the head in a game between the Bruins and Vancouver.
McSorley was immediately suspended, and never played another NHL game, and was brought up on criminal charges.
Brashear suffered head trauma and memory lapses. He is still playing today.
Claude Lemieux on Kris Draper, 1996
Lemieux has always been a violent player. But this was one of the cheapest shots in the history of the NHL playoffs.
Lemieux, who was then playing for the Colorado Avalanche, came up from behind Kris Draper, and checked him headfirst into the boards.
Draper had to leave the ice, and Lemieux received two game suspension and a $1,000 fine.
Gary Suter on Paul Kariya, 1998
As a hockey fan from Maine, I heard a lot about Paul Kariya, and because of his roots in Maine, I became a fan of his.
Because I was only three years old at the time of this cheap shot, I don't really remember when it actually happened. But I do remember how pissed off my father got after seeing it on SportsCenter.
Kariya was cross checked by Suter to the head. It was cheap and intentional, and could've been as bad as Brashear's injury.
Dale Hunter on Pierre Turgeon, 1993
Pierre Turgeon scored a goal for the New York Islanders, and Dale Hunter was pissed.
After giving a stick to the face early on in the video (0:03), Hunter continued to express his apparent disgust with the Islanders by doing a full body check on Turgeon after he scored a goal, causing a huge brawl.
Hunter was suspended for 21 games.
Sorry about the low quality of video. The bester version of the video wasn't embeddable.
Chris Simon on Ryan Hollweg, 2007
In one of the dirtiest plays of the last few seasons, after a hit into the boards by Ryan Hollweg of the New York Rangers, Chris Simon of the New York Islanders high sticks and knocks down Hollweg, in a play eerily similar to the McSorley-Brashear incident.
Simon was suspended for 20 regular season games and five playoff games. Video courtesy of hockeyfights.com.
Todd Bertuzzi on Steve Moore, 2004
Todd Bertuzzi absolutely sucker punch on Steve Moore, than slams his head into the ice.
It was a douchey move by Bertuzzi, and he even went to court about the incident.
But, that didn't stop huge Bertuzzi fans for expressing their displeasure with the league and the court's handling of the incident, as they often brought pro-Bertuzzi signs to Canucks games.
Beruzzi received a pittance of a suspension (considering the crime) of 20 games, seven playoff and 13 regular season.
Matt Cooke on Marc Savard, 2010
As a Bruins fan, I had to post this. It may not be one of the worst in history, but if you elbow someone in the head without any provocation and from a blind side, and temporarily knocks the receiving player out, I think that deserves a mention.
Cooke was neither penalized during the game, nor suspended, which immediately infuriated most of the Bruins' fan base.
Matt Cooke just comes and destroys Marc Savard. It looks like he even leaves his skates for a split second.
I'm giving you guys both side of the story: the Penguins side and the Bruins side of the broadcast:
Pittsburgh (FSN Pittsburgh)
Kyle McLaren on Richard Zednik, 2002
In a playoff game between the Bruins (they've seemed to pretty much populate this list, haven't they?) and Canadiens, late in the third period of a game the Bruins were up by three in. Kyle McLaren comes out of nowhere, and beats down Richard Zednik with little to no provocation.
A heinous play. And this is coming from a Bruins fan who only placed Matt Cooke on this article because his hit was against the Bruins.
Eddie Shore on Ace Bailey, 1933
In December 1933 in a game between the Bruins and the Maple Leafs, Eddie Shore of the Black and Gold (actually, the Brown and Yellow in 1933) was tripped by King Clancy of Toronto. Enraged that the referee didn't call a penalty, Shore went after the first Leaf he saw.
Unfortunately, the first Leaf he saw was Ace Bailey. Shore came up behind Bailey brutally flipped him up in the air, causing Bailey's helmet-free head to hit the ice hard. Bailey cracked his skull and was knocked unconscious.
Bailey spent the next five weeks in the hospital. He survived, but his NHL career was over. During the Ace Bailey benefit game, Shore came over and shook Bailey's hand, and Bailey forgave Shore. Bailey died in 1988.
Unfortunately (fortunately?) there is no video footage of the incident.
Randy Jones on Patrice Bergeron, 2008
Another Bruin, but this one's on the receiving end. I saw this play live, and cringed. Jones comes up from behind Bergeron, and brutally strikes him down, causing a concussion. A disgusting play.
Sorry about the video, I couldn't find one with half-decent picture quality in English.
Second Worst Injury, Richard Zednik, 2008
One of the worst hockey injuries of all time could have been much, much worse if it wasn't for Zednik's sheer awareness of the situation is what made this an incredibly unfortunate coincidence and not a memorial slide.
First Worst Injury, Clint Malarchuk, 1989
I know that Zednik and Malarchuk's injuries are both similar, but Malarchuk's is so gruesome, that I had to post this.
Again, because of sheer awareness (this time by the trainer), Malarchuk survived the incident, and even played in the NHL weeks after.
The trainer's competence saved Malarchuk's life, as the trainer was a Vietnam veteran, and new how to pinch of an artery if it had been severed. It was the trainer's 'Nam training that saved Malarchuk's life.
Be aware, the video is incredibly graphic.