25 Sketchiest Characters in NHL History

Matthew FairburnCorrespondent INovember 21, 2011

25 Sketchiest Characters in NHL History

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    The NHL is no different than any other league in that it is home to a fair amount of sketchy characters.

    Whether it's dirty play on the ice or strange behavior off the ice, plenty of players have earned reputations as shady characters in league circles.

    Let's take a look at some of the sketchiest characters in NHL history.

Bobby Holik

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    Bobby Holik was a mean dude on the ice during his playing days. He played a physical brand of hockey that sometimes bordered on the dirty side.

    Meanwhile, despite countless cheap shots and dirty plays, Holik rarely dropped the gloves to fight someone. 

Derian Hatcher

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    Derian Hatcher was a feared defenseman who made a living off of his physical play and intimidation, but sometimes, he took things too far.

    His play in front of the net was always bordering on illegal, and Hatcher was never afraid to cross the line and deliver a dirty hit.

The Ruutus

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    Tuomo and Jarkko Ruutu have both made a living as excellent two way forwards in the National Hockey League. However, in the defensive zone, the Ruutus tend to get a bit chippy.

    The cheap shots Tuomo and Jarkko have handed out over the years include a vicious hit form behind and a biting incident.

Ken Linseman

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    Back in the days of the Big Bad Bruins, one player took the physicality to a different level. Notorious as being a dirty player, Ken Linseman is the godfather of the knee-to-knee hit and was constantly going low on people because of his size.

Matthew Barnaby

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    Matthew Barnaby is one player who would smile if he saw himself on this list. Barnaby made a name for himself as an agitator in the NHL and did a damn good job of getting under just about everybody's skin.

Sean Avery

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    Depending on your personality and moral beliefs, you either love Sean Avery or you hate him.

    He is shamelessly cheap and knows no limits to trash talking. This all, of course, makes him a mildly entertaining player.

Dan Carcillo

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    Dan Carcillo is a sketchy dude. He plays dirty, he is never clean cut and he always seems to be running his mouth.

Theo Fleury

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    Theo Fleury had an extremely unfortunate childhood. That parlayed itself into a career filed with drug addiction and angry play. It's truly a tragic story.

Ulf Samuelsson

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    Ulf Samuellson was a terror for the opposition. He flew around the ice knocking heads with anyone who got in his path. The Swede would take things too far occasionally, though, injuring quite a few players during his career.

Dale Hunter

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    Dale Hunter holds a unique place in the record books. He is the only player to have compiled 1,000 points to go along with over 3,000 penalty minutes.

Esa Tikkanen

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    Some guys just don't shut up. When their team is dominant, the trash talk becomes even more persistent.

    Esa Tikkanen, the man in charge of protecting Wayne Gretzky during his days in Edmonton, was constantly chirping the opposition night in and night out.

Darius Kasparaitis

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    I'll never truly understand where the hatred for Darius Kasparaitis stems from. Yes, he was a physical player, and yes, he talked his fair amount of trash on the ice.

    That being said, I would take six of Darius Kasparaitis on my team any day. He played balls to the wall for 60 minutes every night.

    Did that get under people's skin? You bet it did. Did that stop Darius? No chance.

Bobby Clarke

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    Beloved on Broad Street, Bobby Clarke was hated just about everywhere else. Clarke was a talented captain for the Broad Street Bullies, but also made a living injuring people and getting under the opposition's skin

    Whether in the NHL or international play, Clarke wasn't afraid to cross the line and risk injuring someone if it would benefit his team. Just ask Russia.

Chris Simon

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    During his playing days, Chris Simon truly was the bad boy of hockey. He had no control over his emotions and often let that get the better of him.

Dave Schultz

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    It's no surprise that not many people like the Broad Street Bullies on the 1970s. They wanted it that way.

    One of the best agitators rostered by the Flyers in those days was Dave Schultz, who holds the record for most penalty minutes in a single season with 472.

Tie Domi

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    Tie Domi was such a punk, but he made the Flyers vs Maple Leafs rivalry so much fun to watch.

    Up until the day he called it quits, Domi was dropping the gloves and doing everything he could to piss people off. That was his game.

Donald Brashear

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    Donald Brashear was in the league strictly to fight people and to hurt people. He did a pretty damn good job of it, too.

Marty McSorley

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    Donald Brashear made a living by getting under the other team's skin. Unfortunately, he pushed one player, Marty McSorley, to the breaking point.

    This was such a coward move that I can't really put it into words. Anyone who has seen the video understands just how outrageous this play was.

    This will live in infamy as one of the worst cheap shots in hockey history.

Matt Cooke

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    Matt Cooke is hockey's newest villain. He started Marc Savard's downward spiral, and he shows little remorse for the cheap shots he dishes out on a nightly basis.

    This guy is old school, and we usually don't see players like him these days. All he wants to do is injure people, and he will go to great measure to see that it happens.

    Blindside hits, knee-to-knee checks, hits to the head, you name it, Cooke has delivered it and injured someone in the process.

Claude Lemieux

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    I cannot think of a player more universally despised than Claude Lemieux. He was a part of arguably the greatest rivalry in hockey history between the Colorado Avalanche and Detroit Red Wings during the '90s and early 2000s, and was a big part of making it what it was.

Todd Bertuzzi

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    I truly belive Todd Bertuzzi has significant remorse for what he did to Steve Moore, and Bertuzzi was such a talented player without any history of cheap shots, but unfortunately, the above hit is how he will always be remembered.

    It was a disgusting display of anger and revenge that has no place on the hockey rink, and it has made Todd Bertuzzi one of the most hated players in the history of the NHL.

Bryan Marchment

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    Bryan Marchment always knew how to take things too far.

    Just refer to the video. Marchment makes a solid defensive play, removing Nieuwendyk from the puck and taking him out of the play.

    Unfortunately, he didn't stop there, slamming Big Joe into the boards relentlessly, somewhat from behind as well.

    Of course, the announcer celebrated this as a nice hit, but if Marchment was playing under the rules and regulations of the post-lockout NHL, a suspension would have been dished out. Just another example of how much the league has changed. 

    Though, Marchment was suspended 13 times in the span of his 12 seasons in the NHL. Of course, when you deliberately go for players' knees constantly, the suspensions are going to come in bunches.

Billy Smith

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    Even as a goaltender, Billy Smith managed to develop quite the reputation for his dirty work in front of his own goal. Sure, he kept opposing forwards on their toes in front of his net, but not without being widely disliked around the league.

    Who knew a goalie could make this list for dirty play?

Rick Tocchet

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    Rick Tocchet was a firecracker for years in the National Hockey League. He wasn't afraid to lay someone out, be careless with his stick, shoot his mouth off or even drop the mitts with just about anybody in the league.

Scott Stevens

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    Scott Stevens was a physical force on the blue line, which caused him to deliver a few questionable hits that earned him a bit of a spotty reputation around the league.