Sean Avery, Dan Carcillo and the Best Agitators For Every NHL Team

Donald Wood@@Donald_WoodFeatured ColumnistFebruary 18, 2011

Sean Avery, Dan Carcillo and the Best Agitators For Every NHL Team

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    NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 14:  Ladislav Smid #5 of the Edmonton Oilers is on the bottom in a fight with Sean Avery #16 of the New York Rangers in the third period of a hockey game at Madison Square Garden on November 14, 2010 in New York City.  (Photo by Paul B
    Paul Bereswill/Getty Images

    One of the best parts of watching the NHL is that fact that people like Sean Avery and Dan Carcillo are allowed to roam free—or, relatively free.

    Many will argue the purpose and necessity of an agitator in the league.

    The truth is that a person who can agitate the other team and get them off their game can put their own teammates in the best position to win.

    The NHL requires players to perform at 100 percent and when a player is preoccupied by an agitator, that gives the other team the advantage for that moment.

    The following list is of the best agitators on each team. Enjoy!

30. John Erskine

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    PITTSBURGH, PA - JANUARY 01:  John Erskine #4 of the Washington Capitals looks to pass against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the 2011 NHL Bridgestone Winter Classic at Heinz Field on January 1, 2011 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Washington won 3-1.  (Phot
    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    Team: Washington Capitals

    While John Erskine might not be leading the Capitals in penalty minutes, his talk on the ice has been enough to get people mad.

    Erskine likes to talk but he can let his hands do the talking too. He has 81 total penalty minutes.

    The Capitals' defenders have played well this season, but they should concentrate more on their play and less on talking.

29. Jake Dowell

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    DALLAS, TX - FEBRUARY 11:  Center Jake Dowell #28 of the Chicago Blackhawks at American Airlines Center on February 11, 2011 in Dallas, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Team: Chicago Blackhawks

    Jake Dowell has become the talker in Chicago after their former mouthpiece, Ben Eager, was shipped out after the Stanley Cup run.

    Dowell can add an offensive touch but his best moves are those that infuriate the other team.

    The Chicago Blackhawks haven’t been as aggressive this season but Dowell still leads the team with 54 penalty minutes.

28. Cody McCormick

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    BUFFALO, NY - NOVEMBER 05: Dustin Boyd #17 of the Montreal Canadiens checks Cody McCormick #8 of the Buffalo Sabres on November 5, 2010 at the HSBC Arena in Buffalo, New York.  (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)
    Rick Stewart/Getty Images

    Team: Buffalo Sabres

    The Buffalo Sabres have found their new Andrew Peters in Cody McCormick.

    McCormick has a nasty streak and is not afraid to back up his words with punches.

    He is 14th in the NHL in penalty minutes with 112 and has 12 fights as well.

27. Jared Boll

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    SUNRISE, FL - JANUARY 19: Darcy Hordichuk #16 of the Florida Panthers and Jared Boll #40 of the Columbus Blue Jackets fight during the second period on January 19, 2011 at the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, Florida. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)
    Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

    Team: Columbus Blue Jackets

    Jared Boll is one of the toughest players in the league but he isn’t as big of a talker as most of the others on this list.

    The Blue Jacket tough guy lets his hands do the speaking for the most part, but he still talks enough to get players to take a swing.

    Boll leads the Blue Jackets and is fourth in the NHL with 149 penalty minutes while compiling 19 fights.

26. David Clarkson

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    NEWARK, NJ - FEBRUARY 08:  Jamie McBain #4 of the Carolina Hurricanes is upended by Tim Sestito #14 and David Clarkson #23 of the New Jersey Devils during the third period of an NHL hockey game at the Prudential Center on February 8, 2011 in Newark, New J
    Paul Bereswill/Getty Images

    Team: New Jersey Devils

    David Clarkson is the resident troublemaker for the New Jersey Devils.

    His attitude and ability to get people off of their game are why he has become a staple in the lineup for the Devils.

    The main reason he is there is because he protects star player Ilya Kovalchuk and he loves his job!

25. Paul Bissonnette

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    GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 25:  Paul Bissonnette #12 of the Phoenix Coyotes stretches on the ice during the NHL game at Jobing.com Arena on January 25, 2011 in Glendale, Arizona.  The Oilers defeated the Coyotes 4-3.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Team: Phoenix Coyotes

    When Paul Bissonnette gets into the lineup, he can be a menace on the ice. He has nine fights in 33 games this season and just three points.

    When Bissonnette is not trying to make everyone angry on the ice, he is pissing people off on the internet.

    His attitude is evident in his play and he continues to be the mouth of the Coyotes on the ice.

24. Todd Bertuzzi

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    BOSTON, MA - FEBRUARY 11:  Todd Bertuzzi #44 of the Detroit Red Wings is congratulated by teammates Pavel Datsyuk #13 and Drew Miller #20 after Bertuzzi scored in the first period against the Boston Bruins on February 11, 2011 at the TD Garden in Boston,
    Elsa/Getty Images

    Team: Detroit Red Wings

    Todd Bertuzzi may not be racking up the penalty minutes this season for the Detroit Red Wings, but that doesn’t mean he’s not making an impact.

    While his offensive numbers are still solid, Bertuzzi offers a certain amount of grit that can’t be measured.

    Bertuzzi’s play is very intense and that alone can be irritating, but his notoriously negative attitude can really turn people off.

23. Brent Burns

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    RALEIGH, NC - JANUARY 30:  (EDITORS NOTE: A special effects camera filter was used for this image.) Brent Burns #8 of the Minnesota Wild for Team Lidstrom poses for a portrait before the 58th NHL All-Star Game at RBC Center on January 30, 2011 in Raleigh,
    Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

    Team: Minnesota Wild

    While Brad Staubitz leads the Minnesota Wild in fights and penalty minutes, I think Brent Burns is the bigger talker.

    The Wild defender backs up everything he says at both ends of the ice but he can be very vocal at times and agitate a team to no end.

    Burns leads by example and his aggressive style can be quite abrasive for the opposition.

22. Darcy Hordichuk

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    TORONTO, CANADA - FEBRUARY 1:  Tim Brent #37 and Jay Rosehill #38 of the Toronto Maple Leafs fight off Darcy Hordichuk #16 of the Florida Panthers during game action at the Air Canada Centre February 1, 2011 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Abelimag
    Abelimages/Getty Images

    Team: Florida Panthers

    When Darcy Hordichuk can get into the Florida Panthers lineup, he has been a menace on the ice.

    He doesn’t lead the league in penalty minutes but he does lead the team with seven fights and is definitely the biggest talker of the bunch.

    If the pot needs stirring, Hordichuk is the man to grab the spoon and punch it in the face.

21. Theo Peckham

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    DALLAS, TX - JANUARY 26:  Defenseman Theo Peckham #49 of the Edmonton Oilers falls with Adam Burish #16 of the Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center on January 26, 2011 in Dallas, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Team: Edmonton Oilers

    The Edmonton Oilers have a wild man in Theo Peckham and he never ceases to amaze me.

    He leads the Oilers and is seventh in the NHL with 132 penalty minutes. He also has six fights to go along with all of the other problems he has caused.

    Peckham is notorious for reckless plays and hurts his team with his play as much as he helps them—he is third in the NHL with 30 minor penalties.

20. Wayne Simmonds

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 24:  Wayne Simmonds #17 of the Los Angeles Kings skates against the Boston Bruins at Staples Center on January 24, 2011 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    Team: Los Angeles Kings

    Agitating is not all about fighting, there is a science to making people angry and Wayne Simmonds has got it down.

    He may not be leading the Kings in penalty minutes or fights but his words get people furious.

    Simmonds can be an offensive treat as well as a nuisance, but nothing makes an opposition angrier than scoring on them.

19. Cody McLeod

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    DENVER, CO - JANUARY 20:  Referee Tim Peel #20 makes a penalty call as Cody McLeod #55 of the Colorado Avalanche David Legwand #11 of the Nashville Predators observe at the Pepsi Center on January 20, 2011 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Ge
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Team: Colorado Avalanche

    Cody McLeod is by far the biggest troublemaker on the Colorado Avalanche.

    McLeod is 10th in the league in penalty minutes with 128 and has plenty of minors to go with all of the majors he has.

    Whenever there is trouble during a Colorado Avalanche game, you can bet Mr. McLeod is in the middle of it all.

18. Zenon Konopka

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    UNIONDALE, NY - JANUARY 26:  Fans behind the glass take photos with their cell phones as Troy Bodie #20 of the Carolina Hurricanes fights with Zenon Konopka #28 of the New York Islanders during the second period of an NHL hockey game at the Nassau Coliseu
    Paul Bereswill/Getty Images

    Team: New York Islanders

    Zenon Konopka is the New York Islanders' tough-guy and he has been busy recently.

    When he is not chastising Mario Lemiuex or beating up his players, he is pissing the rest of the NHL off and then beating them up.

    He has taken the role of protector to the extreme and leads the league in penalty minutes with 193.

    Konopka is also third in the league with 17 fights.

17. Dustin Byfuglien

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    TORONTO, CAN - FEBRUARY 7:  Dustin Byfuglien #33 of the Atlanta Thrashers skates after a loose puck in a game against the Toronto Maple Leafs on February 7, 2011 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Canada. The Leafs defeated the Thrashers 5-4. (Photo by
    Claus Andersen/Getty Images

    Team: Atlanta Thrashers

    Dustin Byfuglien has become one of the most complete players in the NHL.

    He can play defense, play forward, score, pass and agitate. Really agitate.

    The best part of a player like Byfuglien is that he can talk trash all game and score the game winning goal against you. 

    Nothing hurts more than getting beat like that.

16. Tim Jackman

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    VANCOUVER, CANADA - JANUARY 22: Tim Jackman #15 of the Calgary Flames celebrates after scoring against the Vancouver Canucks during the third period in NHL action on January 22, 2011 at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.  (Photo by Rich
    Rich Lam/Getty Images

    Team: Calgary Flames

    The Calgary Flames have a bona fide tough-guy in Tim Jackman.

    Jackman will talk when he needs to and he will fight when words won’t do the damage his hands can.

    The Flames need Jackman to protect their stars and keep the momentum on Calgary’s side to make the playoffs.

15. Brad Winchester

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    SUNRISE, FL - FEBRUARY 8: Brad Winchester #15 celebrates the goal by Matt D'Agostini #36 (not pictured) of the St Louis Blues against the Florida Panthers on February 8, 2011 at the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, Florida. The Blues defeated the Panthers
    Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

    Team: St. Louis Blues

    Brad Winchester is the kind of player who will help the team any way he can.

    He can fight to defend his teammates or fight to get people to lose control.

    Winchester is second on the Blues in penalty minutes and fights, but he is first in talking with David Backes right behind him.

14. Ryan Kesler

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    VANCOUVER, CANADA - FEBRUARY 4: Ryan Kesler #17 of the Vancouver Canucks tries to poke the puck away from Tomas Kopecky #82 of the Chicago Blackhawks during the first period in NHL action on February 04, 2011 at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia
    Rich Lam/Getty Images

    Team: Vancouver Canucks

    Ryan Kesler doesn’t lead the team in penalty minutes and he hasn’t fought this year.

    He has done so much more to get under peoples skin.

    He is an aggressive forechecker and he loves to check. That aggressive style makes other teams always look over their shoulder for him.

    Nothing pisses a team off more than a player scoring 33 goals and racking up 56 total points while yapping in your ear.

13. P.K. Subban

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    MONTREAL, CANADA - FEBRUARY 12:  P.K. Subban #76 of the Montreal Canadiens and Joffrey Lupul #19 of the Toronto Maple Leafs fight during the NHL game at the Bell Centre on February 12, 2011 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.  (Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Im
    Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images

    Team: Montreal Canadiens

    The Montreal Canadiens not only have found a solid defender in rookie P.K. Subban, but also a born troublemaker.

    Subban leads the Canadiens with 86 penalty minutes and most of those are minor penalties that come from getting in people’s faces and spaces.

    The rookie defender also has 25 points so he can back up what he says for the most part.

12. Tuomo Ruutu

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    RALEIGH, NC - NOVEMBER 29: Kari Lehtonen #32 of the Dallas Stars stops Tuomo Ruutu #15 of the Carolina Hurricanes at the RBC Center on November 29, 2010 in Raleigh, North Carolina.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
    Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

    Team: Carolina Hurricanes

    Tuomo Ruutu isn’t leading the Hurricanes in penalty minutes but he is second in minors with 22.

    Ruutu has been scoring well this season with 44 points, but his aggressive style can be abrasive for other teams.

    He can be a bowling ball on the ice and he will take a run at anyone.

11. Shawn Thornton

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 24:  Shawn Thornton #22 of the Boston Bruins and Kyle Clifford #13 of the Los Angeles Kings fight during the first period at Staples Center on January 24, 2011 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    Team: Boston Bruins

    The Boston Bruins are going to be in the middle of another playoff run and the reason they can play the style of offense they do is because of Shawn Thornton.

    Thornton protects the team and lets the opposition know that if they want to start anything they need to look no further than him.

    The Bruins' tough-guy leads the team with 103 penalty minutes for the season.

10. Corey Perry

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    RALEIGH, NC - JANUARY 30:  (EDITORS NOTE: A special effects camera filter was used for this image.) Corey Perry #10 of the Anaheim Ducks for Team Staal poses for a portrait before the 58th NHL All-Star Game at RBC Center on January 30, 2011 in Raleigh, No
    Harry How/Getty Images

    Team: Anaheim Ducks

    Corey Perry doesn't leads the Anaheim Ducks in penalty minutes, that distinction is held by the classy George Parros.

    Perry is the agitator of the team and he uses his defensive ability to give the opposition nightmares.

    He leads the team with 22 minor penalties and 65 points this season. Perry is the complete agitator.

9. Jordin Tootoo

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    NASHVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 14:  Jordin Tootoo #22 of the Nashville Predators fights Brad Winchester #15 of the St. Louis Blues on October 14, 2010 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
    Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

    Team: Nashville Predators

    The Nashville Predators are one of the hardest-working teams in the NHL and their agitator Jordin Tootoo works as hard at making people angry as anyone else in the league.

    The difference is he does it with more class than most.

    Tootoo hasn’t played a lot this season but when he is in the lineup, his best move is getting into the corners and creating havoc.

8. Steve Ott

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    PHILADELPHIA, PA - FEBRUARY 05:  Steve Ott #29 of the Dallas Stars checks Nikolay Zherdev #93 of the Philadelphia Flyers on February 5, 2011 at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    Team: Dallas Stars

    Steve Ott has been one of the keys to the success of the Dallas Stars this season.

    Ott is sixth in the league with 134 penalty minutes but most of his penalties are minors and he has only eight fights.

    He is a bowling ball out there and his physical play is the reason people can’t stand him.

7. Colton Orr

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    TORONTO, CANADA - JANUARY 20: Colton Orr #28 of the Toronto Maple Leafs squares up with George Parros #16 of the Anaheim Ducks during game action at the Air Canada Centre January 20, 2011 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Abelimages/Getty Images)
    Abelimages/Getty Images

    Team: Toronto Maple Leafs

    The Toronto Maple Leafs stink this season, but you couldn’t tell that by the effort Colton Orr puts into his role as agitator.

    He has the ability to level a person with a devastating hit and then knock-out the opposition’s tough-guy.

    Orr is eighth in the NHL with 126 penalty minutes and he has 14 fights so far this season.

6. Steve Downie

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    PITTSBURGH, PA - JANUARY 05:  Steve Downie #9 of the Tampa Bay Lightning sports a black eye against the Pittsburgh Penguins on January 5, 2011 at Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
    Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

    Team: Tampa Bay Lightning

    Steve Downie is a chucky doll on skates. At least that’s what I think.

    He is always moving at 100 miles per hour and looking to land the most devastating hits.

    Downie’s ability and willingness to hit anyone has got him into a lot of trouble but he doesn’t seem to mind.

    When Downie isn’t crushing people or being fifth in the NHL with 134 penalty minutes, he can add offensively like he has this year, with 24 points.

5. Ben Eager

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    VANCOUVER, CANADA - JANUARY 20:  Ben Eager #55 of the San Jose Sharks is bumped off the puck by Christian Ehrhoff #5 of the Vancouver Canucks during the first period in NHL action on January 20, 2011 at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, BC, Canada.  (Photo by Ri
    Rich Lam/Getty Images

    Team: San Jose Sharks

    Wherever it is that Ben Eager goes, he leaves a wake of destruction in his path.

    His job is to agitate—plain and simple—and he takes the job as serious as anyone.

    He has moved around a lot in the past few years but he has been a nightmare for whatever team wasn’t wearing the same jersey as him. 

4. Matt Cooke

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    PITTSBURGH, PA - FEBRUARY 8:  Matt Cooke #24 of the Pittsburgh Penguins checks Fedor Tyutin #51 of the Columbus Blue Jackets in the first period on February 8, 2011 at CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Cooke was assessed a five-minute majo
    Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

    Team: Pittsburgh Penguins

    Matt Cooke has been one of the most reckless players in the NHL and a reputation like that will make people hate you.

    He hits late and has no regard for injuries when he plays the game. If he learned to control himself he could be quite good.

    Cooke leads the team with 106 penalty minutes and just four fights. With all of the minor penalties he has accumulated, you can’t help but think he is hurting more than helping.

3. Chris Neil

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    PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 20:  Chris Neil #25 of the Ottawa Senators trades punches with Jody Shelley #45 of the Philadelphia Flyers during the third period on January 20, 2011 at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Flyers defeated the
    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    Team: Ottawa Senators

    The Ottawa Senators may be struggling but their enforcer/agitator Chris Neil is having another solid season by tough-guy criteria.

    He is third in the NHL with 157 penalty minutes and is constantly hitting people and trying to run people off the puck.

    Neil plays with a bad attitude and it shows every shift he is on the ice. He has been the MVP of the Senators so far this season for me.

2. Dan Carcillo

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    PHILADELPHIA, PA - FEBRUARY 03:  Alexander Sulzer #52 of the Nashville Predators fights with Daniel Carcillo #13 of the Philadelphia Flyers during the second period of an NHL hockey game at the Wells Fargo Center on February 3, 2011 in Philadelphia, Penns
    Paul Bereswill/Getty Images

    Team: Philadelphia Flyers

    While Jody Shelley is the best enforcer on the Flyers, Dan Carcillo is by far the best agitator on the team and the second-best in the league.

    Carcillo has a knack for getting the opposition's blood boiling and he is one of the most aggressive players in the league.

    He plays extremely angry and in only 35 games this season he has 90 penalty minutes, ten fights and ten minor penalties.

    When Carcillo is on the ice, no one is safe.

1. Sean Avery

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    NEW YORK - JANUARY 06:  Sean Avery #16 of the New York Rangers battles Brenden Morrow #10 of The Dallas Stars during their game on January 6, 2010 at Madison Square Garden in New York City.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
    Al Bello/Getty Images

    Team: New York Rangers

    Sean Avery is the worst. 

    He can make the players on his team hate him and his ability to make people mad has never ceased to amaze me.

    The teams hate him, coaches hate him, fans hate him and everyone he comes in contact with is worse for wear.

    Avery is second in the NHL with 158 penalty minutes and has 22 minors, 10 fights and six game misconducts.