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Who’s the one NHL player you just can’t stand?

I know “hate” is not a nice word, but for the purposes of our discussion today, let me use it in the way sports fans do: not maliciously, just as a way of expressing good old-fashioned intense dislike for a particular player.

Over the past fifty plus years, (though much more so in my younger days…) I’ve built up a lot of “hockey hate” for any number of NHL players.  Back in the 1960s, Montreal's John Ferguson was easy to loathe.  Rugged, tough and the best fighter in his day, Fergy was a fiercely determined winger who made players like teammate (Montreal captain) Jean Beliveau even better, because Ferguson ensured there was plenty of room for “Big Jean” to operate.  The fact that I was a passionate young Leaf fan and Ferguson was a big part of the vaunted (and much-despited, on my part) Habs just made his seemingly constant presence on the ice all the more troublesome and annoying.

Now, as solid a player as he was, Fergy was also, in my estimation, a guy who sometimes played dirty. (I once was at the old Olympia in Detroit, in the winter of 1968, and saw him skate half-way across the ice to cross-check Gordie Howe viciously from behind. Howe was always considered the toughest guy in hockey, so Ferguson certainly didn't pick his spots...)  He was also a bit too fast and loose with his stick at times.  (Johnny Bower could attest to that. If you saw the 1967 Cup finals between Toronto and Montreal, you will remember that Ferguson's stick came up to Bower's face several times- I'm pretty sure Bower had to go off for "repairs" on at least one occasion.  Check out the photo at the top of this story from action at the old Montreal Forum in 1964).  And the fact that Ferguson played for the team I hated more than any other, before or since, just brought out my venom in the worst way.

Thankfully, Fergy retired fairly early in his career, back in 1971, after helping Montreal win five Cups in his eight-year career.

Now, if you had asked me back then if I would have liked to have Ferguson on the Leafs, I would have jumped at the chance.  But he was a proud Montreal Canadien, through and through, and I'm sure he would never have considered playing anywhere else.

There were any number of other Hab players I couldn’t stand (though I grew to respect many of them), but one  in particular that springs to mind was Claude Larose, who I think had, if I’m not mistaken,  a couple of different incarnations with Montreal throughout the 1960s and ‘70s.  He was just one of those annoying guys who was seemingly always in the middle of something, but was a very useful player. Then were was Doug Risebrought later in the ‘70s, and of course Ken Dryden (right), who I, well….I just couldn’t stand the guy.  He was probably too good for my liking. The list of Montreal guys I didn't like at all is too long to list here.

Otherwise, there were NHL’ers like Derek Sanderson and Johnny McKenzie in Boston, (and every living, breathing guy who played for the Flyers from 1973 to about 1980) who were on my hate list.  Put Bobby Clarke at the top of the list, but boy, could Clarke play.  I don't think I've seen a player who worked harder on the ice, shift after shift, game after game, than Clarke.

But my real question for you today is, who—for any numbers of reasons—is an NHL player, fair or not, that you just don’t like?

Send your thoughts along…


  1. Well where can I start.
    Billy Smith for his fake injury against the oilers.
    Ken Linesman the rat.
    Larry Robinson for his dirty elbows.
    Claude Lemieux for his assault on the red wings. Dale Hunter cheap shoting Turgeon.
    Samuelson injuring Neely.
    Gary Suter crosschecking Kariya.
    Mathew Barnaby for just being dirty.
    Ron Hextall but Felix took care of him...
    In Today's NHL I would have Chris Neil for picking fights with guys only smaller than him.
    Carcillo for being Carcillo.
    Marchant because he has chara, lucic and Thornton fighting his battles for him.
    I know you said one guy but there are just too many
    to leave out.
    P.S. I had Alfredson on that list until this year...

  2. Great list, bluendwhite- all worthy of inclusion. (I, too, have come to respect Alfredsson...)

  3. Jordan Tootoo hack

  4. lucic is a talented player i'd love on the leafs but i hate on any other team... arrogant, obnoxious, dirty, a bully. chris neil is similar, although not as talented offensively.

    any player that celebrates a goal they score as if it's crosby's gold-medal winner is pretty irritating, but that's just a pet-peeve of mine.

  5. Good name in Tootoo, Anon. (Though he was on my list of guys I'd like the Leafs to explore this summer!)

  6. I hear you with Lucic, Alex. But as you say, I'd love him with the Leafs!

  7. Great topic. Can't stop at only one.
    The Sedins
    Maxim Lapierre (big time)
    Anyone that wears a Montreal jersey
    Daniel Alfredsson (for the hit on Tucker)
    Danny Heatley (for just being a dick)
    Chris Neil (for being the biggest dick)
    Bobby Clarke
    Patrick Kaleta
    Sean Avery
    Dan Carcillo
    Steve Webb (played for Islanders)
    PK Subban (deserves a second mention)
    Matt Cooke
    Matthew Barnaby
    Darius Kasparaitis
    Billy Smith
    Ron Hextall
    Alex Burrows
    Ulf Samuelsson

    Honorable mention goes to
    Evgeni Malkin
    Sydney Crosby

  8. That's a really good list cbh747....hate-able names both old and current....

    Highlights for me would include both Samuelsson and Kasparaitis...and yes, Billy Smith (Webb's a fond memory in this regard, too...)


  9. I always disliked Brett Hull and Jeremy Roenick. Both very good players who seemed cocky and who, in my opinion, talked way too much. At times I found their willingness to say exactly what was on their minds refreshing and entertaining, but most of the time it just seemed that they liked hearing themselves talk.

  10. Interesting choices, Mironov's Nose. I think they were both pretty popular players, but I can see why they would make your list...

  11. My list would probably star:

    -Chris Neil
    -Mike Ribeiro
    -Alex Burrows
    -Max Yapierre
    -Steve Downie
    -Matt Carkner
    -Dominic Hasek
    -Alex Kovalev
    -Ryan Callahan
    -Patrick Kaleta
    -Daniel Alfredsson
    -Kevin Bieksa

    Yea I don't like a lot of players..

  12. Thanks Guggenheim- another great list! All part of the fun of cheering...