Sean Avery and the 10 Most-Hated Personalities Currently in the NHL

Jordan MatthewsAnalyst IIIAugust 8, 2011

Sean Avery and the 10 Most-Hated Personalities Currently in the NHL

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    Every league has them. They're people that the fans hate, and sometimes even other players hate. For the NFL there's Terrell Owens, for the MLB it might be A-Rod, and for the NBA, it's undoubtedly LeBron James.

    But for the best league in the world, who is the most hated person? The NHL does a pretty good job of keeping themselves out of the negative spotlight in sports. You almost never hear anything about steroids and rarely do you hear about players' deaths or arrests.

    Still, you hear a lot about dirty hits, and the NHL fans are some of the most hostile in sports despite having a league filled with mostly down-to-earth players.

    So with those questions in mind, let's look at the 10 most hated personalities in the NHL.

10. Mike Milbury

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    In case you don't recognize him, that's Mike Milbury, and he's shoved down our throats every night as a "hockey expert". Where did Milbury get his expertise you may ask? We don't know either. He was a former general manager of the New York Islanders. I guess that counts for something, right?

    Ever wonder who the genius was that signed the injury-prone Rick DiPietro to a 15-year contract? That was Milbury. And while $4.5 million a year may not seem like a lot now, in 2006 when the contract was signed, the cap was only $44 million. In comparison, DiPietro's $4.5 million contract then is like a $6.5 million contract now. Great move Mike.

    Speaking of DiPietro, Milbury is the guy that drafted Rick. Maybe not a bad decision at the time until you realize that Milbury selected DiPietro with the first overall pick over Dany Heatley, Marian Gaborik, Niklas Kronwall, Paul Martin, Lubomir Visnovsky, Ilya Bryzgalov, and others.

    So one decision isn't bad enough? Let's look at the reputation Milbury received on the trade market. First, Milbury decided it would be a good idea to trade Olli Jokinen and Roberto Luongo to Florida for Mark Parrish and Oleg Kvasha. Don't feel bad if you had to look them up.

    Next up? How about trading Zdeno Chara and a 1st round pick that turned out to be Jason Spezza to Ottawa for Alexei Yashin. Milbury then signed Yashin to a deal that took $7.1 million out of the salary cap per year (after the lockout) despite Yashin only scoring more than 70 points in one of the seasons he played with the Islanders.

    Yes, Mike Milbury is certainly a hockey expert, and you should listen to his every word on NBC so that you too can become a fountain of knowledge in the game of hockey.

9. Marc Crawford

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    It's sad that this guy doesn't get recognized as the villain that he really is. When you hear about the dirtiest hits in NHL history, most people will talk about Todd Bertuzzi, and sometimes people will bring up Claude Lemieux re-arranging Kris Draper's face.

    Know what nobody ever seems to talk about? Marc Crawford. Does anybody notice what both of those incidents have in common? Crawford was standing behind the bench of the offending team in both of them.

    Of course, Crawford will always shrug off the idea that he had anything to do with it, but watch the videos. Crawford was smiling on the bench after Todd Bertuzzi had just broken Steve Moore's neck. He didn't care. Nobody realizes Crawford as the real villain in both of these crimes though because he didn't directly commit them.

    My hunch is that it's not a coincidence that Crawford bears a striking resemblance to Iceland coach Wolf Stansson. Stansson, of course, is a fictional character from the Mighty Ducks movies, but if you watched them you'll remember Stansson loved trying to take out the other team's players.

    Oh well, there's my doppelganger for the month.

8. Alexander Burrows

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    First off I'd like to state that if Burrows doesn't want to bite her I'd be more than happy to substitute. Secondly, the only thing better than the sign and those other things is the old geezer in the back gawking at "those other things".

    Now to the topic at hand. Burrows hasn't really hurt anybody badly but he has earned himself a bad reputation nonetheless. Most people only remember him biting fingers during the Stanley Cup Finals.

    Still, Burrows has committed other rather childish acts such as getting a good yank of Duncan Keith's hair, and some people have questioned if he has a tendency to dive, but until I see some solid footage of that I'll remain indifferent on the matter.

    Nonetheless, if this pick doesn't appease all NHL fans, it'll certainly make the Bruins and Blackhawk fans happy. And if you don't like the pick, you can still appreciate the picture.

7. Sidney Crosby

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    Sure, Crosby has never injured somebody with a dirty hit, but nonetheless he is still one of the most hated players in the NHL.

    Maybe it's because success breeds contempt, but other than the Winter Olympics, I don't see that being the case. Sidney Crosby, in my opinion, is hated because he came into the league with the silver spoon, was called the next Gretzky when he was 14, and with all that hype came what many people saw as a young punk.

    It's certainly been toned down now but during Crosby's first years in the league he earned a reputation of being a bit of a whiner. He would frequently take dives, and although it was nothing dangerous, he was caught numerous times taking cheap shots at players, even going so far as to punch other players in the groin.

    Admittedly, Crosby has toned it down over the years, but it still happens. When you take that kind of an attitude and shove it down people's throats, it's natural for them to begin hating him, especially when he's promoted to be 10 times better than anybody else in the league when he's not.

6. Todd Bertuzzi

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    One of the dirtiest hits in NHL history, Todd Bertuzzi broke Steve Moore's neck in retaliation for a dirty hit Moore put on Canucks star Markus Naslund earlier in the season.

    There are a lot of myths here. First of all people claim Bertuzzi as the culprit and while he was certainly the puppet on stage for all to see, Canucks coach Marc Crawford was the man behind the curtain pulling all the strings.

    That certainly doesn't justify what Bertuzzi did, but Marc Crawford got a lot less attention than he deserved for this incident.

    Another myth is that Moore's career ended, which simply isn't true. He was offered a two way deal by the Anaheim Ducks several years ago, which he turned down.

    Bertuzzi has kept his nose clean since the hit. But no matter how well-behaved he's been, this hit will always be the legacy that he leaves behind, and some NHL fans will never forgive him for it.

5. Colin Campbell

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    Colin Campbell easily could've been number one on this list before stepping down as the NHL's head of disciplinary actions for Brendan Shanahan to take over.

    Sure, it probably is a thankless job and no matter what decision you make, you're going to upset somebody. But some of the decisions Campbell screwed up were no-brainers, like when he failed to suspend Pittsburgh forward Matt Cooke for likely ending Marc Savard's career.

    That doesn't even account for the vast amount of inconsistent calls he's made, and I'm still trying to figure out how James Wisniewski can get more games for doing this than most players will receive for laying a dirty hit on another player.

    While Campell is out of the picture when it comes to disciplinary action, his name still rings around the NHL and he still makes it on the list of the most hated personalities in the NHL.

4. Chris Pronger

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    Chris Pronger may have toned down his antics, but he's still one of the most hated players in the NHL. His skill as a defensemen might be matched by the hatred he receives from fans around the league.

    Pronger's most recent antics involved taking game pucks from the Blackhawks during the Stanley Cup Finals in an effort to get in the heads of Chicago players. Obviously it didn't work, but it was still annoying and classless nonetheless.

    Pronger's rap sheet includes a dirty hit on Tomas Holmstrom during the 2007 Western Conference Finals, as well as a dirty elbow in the following series and stomping on Ryan Kesler's leg at another point in time when Kesler was relatively unknown in the NHL.

    At least Detroit, Chicago, and Vancouver fans can all agree on hating Pronger, and for every dirty player, what goes around comes around.

3. Sean Avery

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    That look has the word "tool" written all over it.

    Sean Avery is a guy who didn't really get into as much trouble on the ice as he does off the ice. I'll admit, there was a point when Avery just made me laugh, when he was doing pushups, screening Martin Brodeur, and "accidentally" hitting Tim Thomas in the head.

    It's funny, but the New York Rangers forward just started getting dumber and dumber. From a coarse comment about ex-girlfriend Elisha Cuthbert to his recent arrest for assaulting a law enforcement officer, Avery's reputation has become a notorious one in the NHL.

    Speaking of that Martin Brodeur incident, Avery's antics caused the NHL to make a rule against that type of play and penalize players for committing an infraction such as that.

    Just goes to show that dirty hits aren't the only thing that can make people hate you in the NHL.

2. Matt Cooke

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    Like Don Cherry or not, he was absolutely right, and I chose this video because it shows not just the Marc Savard hit, but multiple other shots where Matt Cooke targets the head or knee of another player.

    Cooke is undoubtedly the reason that rule 48 was established in the NHL to prohibit blindside hits to the head. Cooke has been suspended five times by the NHL. His most recent suspension was from an elbow to the head of Rangers forward Ryan McDonagh, which lasted a total of 17 games.

    Cooke is by far the dirtiest player in the league today, and it will be interesting to see how he plays in the upcoming season as he claims that he needs to change the way he plays the game. Actions speak louder than words, Matt.

    Cooke ended up getting his, which is why you didn't see him running around on people in Atlanta after it.

    On another note, quote of the day from Don Cherry:

    "Do you think he'd do this kind of stuff on Gretzky if Semenko was there? Do you think he'd do it to Yzerman when Probert was there?"

    The truth is, no, Matt Cooke wouldn't pull that kind of stuff because he'd get the ass kicking of a lifetime. But you'll still hear so-called fans cry about how the league needs to ban fighting. However, that's another argument for another day.

1. Gary Bettman

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    Disagree? Turn up the volume on the video.

    Gary Bettman wasn't necessarily liked before the lockout, especially not in Canada, and he certainly isn't liked after the lockout. Most fans hold "The Batman" responsible for missing a year of hockey, but whether they want to admit it or not, the competition has been 10 times better in the NHL since the lockout occurred.

    The lockout is just one of many things Gary is hated for. People will constantly complain that he does nothing about poor officiating, nobody liked the fact that he let Colin Campbell run the league disciplinary board for years, and many believe that he pulled strings for Sidney Crosby to win the Cup.

    Most recently, people are upset that Bettman inked a 10-year deal to keep the NHL's broadcasting rights with NBC. Why people are upset is beyond me, because the history of hockey coverage on ESPN was absolute garbage and they're getting much more exposure with NBC, but once again, that's another fight for another day.

    There are numerous reasons people hate Gary Bettman, and there is even a website called How could he not be the most hated man in the NHL?

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    Jordan Matthews is an avid hockey fan, and for more coverage on the NHL, you can become a fan of Jordan on Bleacher Report or follow him on Twitter by clicking the follow button below.