Chris Pronger and the 5 Dirtiest Players in the NHL

Ben CousinsCorrespondent IOctober 28, 2011

Chris Pronger and the 5 Dirtiest Players in the NHL

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    The NHL, more than ever with its new rule restrictions, is full of dirty plays. 

    Brendan Shanahan has done his job in really enforcing these rules and handing down steep but acceptable punishments.

    Here is a list of the five dirtiest players in today's NHL, and in turn, the players that can expect a call from Shanahan the most often.

    As always, feel free to comment about what players you think should be included on this list. I am always interested in hearing other people's opinions. 

    Please refrain from comments asking why Sean Avery is not on the list. This is a list of the dirtiest players in the NHL, Avery is not currently playing in the NHL; the New York Rangers sent him to the minors after a disappointing training camp. 

    Also, please follow me on twitter (@cousins_ben), I will try to entertain you. 

5. Maxim Lapierre

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    Although Maxim Lapierre has toned down his dirty play since joining the Vancouver Canucks at the 2011 trade deadline, he is still one of the league's dirtiest. 

    Lapierre is known for his dives, insults and cheap shots, all of which make him a dirty player. 

    Lapierre has only received one suspension in his short career thus far, so that is what puts him at No. 5. 

4. Steve Ott

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    Steve Ott is the NHL's best "pest" according to a poll by The Hockey News. He is also one of the league's dirtiest players. 

    Ott has received three suspensions in his career, but he flirts on the line of dirty every time he steps on the ice.

    Ott was also voted as the NHL's dirtiest player along with Chris Pronger in a survey done by Sports Illustrated

3. Dan Carcillo

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    Dan Carcillo is such a dirty player he gets suspensions during the offseason. 

    That's just what happened this offseason, when Carcillo received a two-game suspension to be served at the start of the 2011-12 campaign for insulting a referee during Game 4 of the Philadelphia Flyers' conference semifinal loss to the Boston Bruins

    Carcillo has received numerous suspensions in his career, and it does not seem to being slowing down anytime soon.

    Carcillo also has a pretty bad reputation for diving, which is a dirty play all in its own.  

2. Chris Pronger

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    Chris Pronger ranks as my second-dirtiest player in the NHL. 

    Pronger has a long and distinguished resume that puts him in elite category among the league's all-time defensemen, but his dirty plays will always tarnish his reputation.

    Pronger has been suspended eight times in his career for a total of 22 games.

    He received an eight-game suspension in 2008 after intentionally stomping on the leg of Vancouver Canucks forward Ryan Kesler. 

    Pronger may go down as one of the all-time great defensemen in the league. However, his suspension history leaves a dark stain on an otherwise impressive career.  

1. Matt Cooke

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    There is no doubt that Pittsburgh Penguins forward Matt Cooke is the dirtiest player in the NHL. 

    He has received five suspensions in his career, but none bigger than the one he got last season when he was suspended for the remainder of the season and the first round of the playoffs for his elbow to the head of New York Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonaugh on March 20th, 2011.

    The Penguins lost in the first round of the playoffs last season. 

    That wasn't even Cooke's only suspension last season—he was also suspended for four games when he hit Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Fedor Tyutin from behind. 

    Cooke is the poster boy for the term "repeat offender," and it is a term that will not soon be forgotten with Matt Cooke.