10 Biggest Pests in NHL History

Tab BamfordSenior Writer ISeptember 16, 2011

10 Biggest Pests in NHL History

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    Annoying. Irritating. Attention-grabbing. Cheap-shot-taking.

    These are all phrases that are used when people talk about pests in the game of hockey. Throughout the history of the game, there have been players that have crawled into the brains of their opponents and set up camp for 60 minutes and, in some cases, personally changed the course of a postseason series (see Bolland, Dave cc 2010 v. Vancouver).

    What follows is a list of 10 of the biggest pests in the history of the game.

Honorable Mention

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    The following players just missed the list:

    - Chris Pronger
    - Adam Burish
    - Dave Bolland
    - Dan Carcillo
    - Ian Laperriere
    - Maxim Lapierre
    - Tony "Mighty Mouse" Leswick
    - Darius Kasparaitis
    - Tyson Nash
    - Daniel Sedin

10. Matthew Barnaby

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    Everywhere he played, he's annoyed his opponents. Now he annoys everyone through our television screens. He was an instigator who would pick a fight with anyone, anywhere.

9. Pat Verbeek

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    "The Little Ball of Hate" had over 1,000 points, and probably hacked the back of 4,000 knees in the same career. He was always good for a wisecrack on and off the ice.

8. Dino Ciccarelli

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    He was an All-Star and is now in the Hall of Fame, and his most effective attribute on the ice might have been his ability to get under the skin of anyone on the other side of the ice. Not many have been a good player and a great pest the way Dino was.

7. Dale Hunter

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    His most infamous pest moment came in a postseason game when he brutally crosschecked Pierre Turgeon after he scored a game-winning goal. He received a 21-game suspension for the hit, and Turgeon was left with a separated shoulder.

6. Darcy Tucker

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    10 years before the league knew names like Carcillo, Bolland and Burish, there was Darcy Tucker. He was always verbally irritating and whacking opponents, making sure their attention was on him and not the game.

5. Esa Tikkanen

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    While with the Oilers, his antics were the perfect sideshow for the incredible scoring of Gretzky and Kurri.

4. Theo Fleury

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    One of the most wired players (naturally and otherwise) in the last 25 years, Fleury was a tiny player who flew up and down the ice like a player on Sega Genesis. If you were between him and the puck, odds are he would knock you out of the way to get there.

3. Sean Avery

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    Just keep your eyes on the blue sweater in front of the net. The man has a rule named after him because he's so **** annoying.

    Beyond having a rule named for his antics, Avery has run himself out of more than one organization and has thrown anyone available under the bus.

2. Claude Lemieux

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    Everywhere he went opponents loathed him. Even if they were former teammates, they couldn't stand playing against him. Every inch of the body was vulnerable while Lemieux was on the ice, and he would make sure everyone in the arena knew when he was on the ice.

1. Kenny Linseman

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    "The Rat" started a lot of extracurricular action in his career, but it usually resulted in an opponent spending a lot of time in the penalty box and focused on revenge.