The 17 Biggest "Me First" Players Currently in the NHL
The NHL is one of the more humble and team-oriented leagues in all of the major sports in North America.
However, egos, trade requests, off-ice activities and contract negotiations contribute to creating some of the biggest "me first" players in the NHL.
The NFL has Terrell Owens; the NHL has Ilya Kovalchuk.
The NBA has LeBron James; the NHL has...well you'll see.
Note: This article may seem a bit offensive to the players but be sure that it wasn't meant to be so.
Sean Avery still is in the NHL right?
Wait, he isn't? Could it have anything to do with his monster ego and selfish attitude?
Sean Avery is the epitome of a "me first" player so it seemed only fitting to start this list off here.
From "sloppy seconds" to the Sean Avery rule, Avery is the one player you think of when you think of an NHL ego.
Where to begin with Matt Cooke?
How many selfish penalties and career ending cheapshots can you accumulate before you get put on this list? About 20 less than Matt Cooke gathers in a single season.
Sure, you can point to his selfless contributions outside of the NHL, but one thing is still true, Matt Cooke doesn't know how to be a team player.
Jaromir Jagr is known for having a huge ego, even if he does deserve all the praise he receives. That being said, that's not why he is on this list.
In year's past, Jagr was notorious for being lazy on the play and not back-checking to cover his man defensively. That's one of the ultimate selfish moves for a hockey player.
Luckily, it looks like Jagr wants to prove he has what it takes to play for Philly this year in the twilight of his career. He has cleaned up his defensive play quite a bit.
Ben Eager is an enforcer-type and is paid to act like one. However, every great enforcer has to know his boundaries and Eager does not.
His display in the playoffs last season got him a one-way ticket off the Sharks' squad. Too many late period penalties and selfish moves are the downfall of Ben Eager.
PK Subban is a rising young defensive star for the Canadiens.
However, Subban has quite the ego on him.
It may just be his youth and immaturity but egos rarely bode well for budding young stars.
That being said, I am a huge fan of Subban and hope his head doesn't get in the way of his team.
Big Buff has an ego. And after weighing in at 280 plus pounds this summer, Byfuglien has quite some meat on his bones.
Although it may not mean much, Dustin should have been working out the whole summer instead of eating whatever he wanted. This Winnipeg team is not starting off great, and his leadership could really be put to the test this season. His actions this summer were selfish, end of story.
Dan Carcillo is a burden for other teams to play against. He makes it tough on opponents to compete every night. So why is he a selfish player?
Simply put, Carcillo is dirty. He is known for taking bad, dirty and ill-timed penalties and once accumulated 324 PIMs in one season. That's one of the best definitions of a player who thinks about himself and his reputation first.
Alex Ovechkin is on here for much the same reasons that Jaromir Jagr is.
There is no denying that Ovechkin loves Washington and would do anything for his team. He may have an ego on him and may be one of the more excitable players in the NHL but he isn't on this list for that.
Alex Ovechkin has always been the kind of player to stand at the blue line and wait for an opportunity to charge up ice. However, that often results in stupid and ill-timed goals on his Washington squad that could have been avoided had Ovechkin simply played some solid defense.
Ilya Kovalchuk is on here for one simple reason. He, like many other players on this list, demanded too much money with their past squads.
Kovalchuk caused a debacle in the hockey world once when he all but requested a trade out of Atlanta in 2010 (probably a good career move) then again when he shopped himself around after the Devils failed to fork up enough cash for his new contract.
Eventually he worked himself into a $100 million dollar contract, proving once and for all that he isn't the biggest team player for the Devils.
Sheldon Souray repeatedly wanted out of Edmonton to play for a Stanley Cup contender. His selfishness got him a one way ticket to the AHL in 2010-2011.
Now with Dallas he seems to be on the rebound, posting six points in six games. But if history tells us anything, his ego may eventually become a problem for Dallas.
Chris Pronger is without a doubt a great leader for Philadelphia this season. However, Pronger often gets his ego in the way of locker room productivity.
When Mike Richards was still in town there was plenty of talk about divided locker rooms and how the egos on either side ruined otherwise good chemistry.
If Chris Pronger could just turn down the power trip a bit, he could be one of the better team players in the NHL.
Roberto Luongo is only on this list for his emotional psyche. Luongo can be a bit of a headcase when it comes to net minding.
He has always been accused of being too emotional and having too many highs and lows in his game to be a true superstar in the NHL.
His comments against Tim Thomas may have proved more of a detriment to his team than one may think. Luongo was the opposite of solid in net for all three of the Bruins' home games while Thomas was the rock solid Vezina trophy winner throughout the series.
It just goes to show, you shouldn't put your ego in front of your team.
What? The captain of the Stanley Cup winning Bruins squad doesn't put his team first?
Well, he sure does for the Bruins.
But anybody else remember how things ended in Ottawa? After demanding and not receiving an eight-year $8 million salary from his Ottawa squad he quickly jumped ship, leaving Ottawa to never fully recover from his loss. Granted, Ottawa's recent failures were not all his fault but his actions still aren't that of a team player by any means.
I won't fault Heatley for his first trade request out of Atlanta. A horrific car crash and bad memories left Heatley needing a change.
That being said, requesting a trade out of Ottawa was completely a selfish act. He complained about not getting enough ice time and wanted out.
It seems to be a theme that big-time players want to get out of Ottawa. Sadly, it is bringing down the quality of hockey for the Senators.
It won't be long before Heatley finds himself unhappy with the play in Minnesota.
After under-performing in Toronto for a couple of seasons now, is it finally time for Dion Phaneuf to turn the jets back on his once All-Star abilities? Possibly, but one thing is for certain: Phaneuf has one of the largest egos on any NHL team. He sees himself as being better and above his teammates, something that caused great heartache in the locker room when he was in Calgary.
But I guess if you're a millionaire, call yourself "the Dion" and dated Elisha Cuthbert, your team may not always come first.
Although it may not seem like it now, a couple of years ago, Ray Emery would have been number one on this list. After being dubbed one of the biggest divas in the NHL, Emery has chilled out a bit as of late, accepting his role as a quality backup goaltender. But this story shows that Emery has quite the temper and doesn't always think of his team first. No self-respecting NHL player would endanger himself and risk jail-time to prove a point.
Drew Doughty is last on this list because of his contract negotiating debacle that ran the course of the entire summer.
Doughty turned down very large sums of money and held his own contract above his teammates. He waited till during training camp to finally sign himself onto the team.
Hopefully he enjoys his eight-year $56 million contract.