20 Most Hated Players in the NHL
Hockey is an exhilarating sport built on passion and bad blood. The NHL even allows players to fight and express their displeasure on the ice. This intensity draws impassioned adoration and loathing from the fans in equal measure stemming from support and rivalry. In some cases, however, certain players rouse hatred from fans and colleagues because of their dishonorable actions.
The game boasts many villains, but this list only covers the 20 most hated current NHL players.
1. Brad Marchand – Boston Bruins
Nicknamed “the Rat,” Brad is the poster child for most hated NHL players. He is a decent player but his trash talking antics coupled with an apparent indifference towards the game’s code makes him unlikable even among Bruins faithful. It is hard to respect a player who is always instigating fights only to hide behind an official.
2. Tom Wilson – Washington Capitals
Few knew who Tim Wilson was before the 2018 Stanley Cup playoffs, so it’s almost impressive how much hate he has attracted in the short amount of time he has been on the limelight. Famed for making blindsided hits and starting unnecessary brawls, Tom is a perfect example of the old-school players who spent more time in the sin bin than on the bench.
3. Kevin Bieska – Unrestricted Free Agent
The ice hockey defenseman has enjoyed a fruitful career for playing with a physical edge that has kept many attackers at bay. Though effective, his style of play has been deemed by many to be cheap and dirty. Many opponents have been on the receiving end of his nasty cheap shots and elbows.
4. Milan Lucic – Edmonton Oilers
Milan Lucic has never been accused of being a classy player. He is one of the dirtiest players in the NHL, and even his team’s fans do not like him. He has committed every vice from sucker punching officials to spearing opponents in their private parts.
5. Sidney Crosby – Pittsburgh Penguins
Crosby is arguably one of the best NHL players today, but his offensive skill is not the reason why many fans of the game dislike him. While the Penguins’ fans adore him for bringing home the Stanley Cup, Crosby has been condemned widely for being a “cry baby” and a cheap shot artist.
6. Dustin Brown – Los Angeles Kings
Players and fans of the LA Kings are the only people in the Pacific Division who like Dustin. He is known for his hits and knees which have badly injured opponents and earned him numerous penalties. Many fans have called for his misconduct to be checked for the sake of other players.
7. Corey Perry – Anaheim Ducks
The Ducks’ forward may be an Olympic medal winner for Team Canada, but he is yet to win over any hearts with his aggressive style of play. He has scored many game-winning goals but what irks his opponents the most is his trash talking and love for senseless fights.
8. Nazem Kadri – Toronto Maple Leafs
The Maple Leaf’s center has a knack for trash talking, but his dirty plays are the main reason he is detested throughout the NHL. He has a fondness for making open-ice hits and provoking fights for the fun of it. His detestable antics have attracted major retaliation in the past resulting in many penalties and injuries.
9. Dion Phaneuf – Los Angeles Kings
Phaneuf has always been a physical player since the beginning of his career in ’03. The 6ft 3” hulking defenseman has never shied away from mercilessly laying-out opposing players who get in his way. Although physicality is an asset in hockey, Phaneuf enjoys hurting people.
10. Matthew Tkachuk – Calgary flames
Barely two seasons into his career and Tkachuk has the rap sheet of a dirty veteran. He has received suspensions on various occasions for unsportsmanlike behavior. His crimes include spearing an opponent while on the bench and slashing another while leaving the ice.
11. Zac Rinaldo – Nashville Predators
Rinaldo’s reputation as one of the dirtiest players in the game comes earned. He has received frequent suspensions in his career since his days as a junior in the Ontario Hockey League. The relentless chirper has been guilty of crashing opponents hard into the boards and delivering illegal hits and sucker-punches.
12. Alexander Ovechkin – Washington Capitals
Ovechkin has enjoyed an illustrious career in the NHL thanks to his many on-ice talents. This, however, has not stopped him from becoming a cheap-shot-artist. His dirty tendencies range from hits from behind to blindside and Knee-on-knee hits.
13. Ryan Reaves – Vegas Golden Knights
Reaves is a perfect example of a hockey player who would have enjoyed more success in the fighting pits than in the NHL. This guy is all about stirring things up and picking fights. He has been involved in more fights than goals during his pitiful career.
14. Ryan Kesler – Anaheim Ducks
Kesler has been involved in everything from Twitter feuds to chirping fans in attendance. It seems that he got unhinged after being traded to the Ducks. Since then he has intensified his physical play and does not waste any opportunity to get under people’s skin.
15. James Neal – Calgary Flames
Neal’s on-ice actions can only be described as reckless. The significant rap sheet he has earned courtesy of the NHL’s Department of Player Safety tells a story of the danger he poses to other players every time he is on the ice.
16. Radko Gudas – Philadelphia Flyers
Gudas has vowed time after time to play cleaner, but he seemingly cannot stop himself from making late and controversial hits. The defenseman has been penalized severally throughout his career losing more than $400,000, but this has done little to slow him down.
17. Andrew Shaw – Montreal Canadiens
What Shaw lacks in attacking talent, he compensates for with grit and toughness. The 5’11” forward is a keen instigator and participant in the rough side of hockey. He delivers points consistently for his team, but other teams are not particularly fond of his on-ice ruthlessness.
18. Antoine Roussel – Vancouver Canucks
Roussel averages ten fights per season. The rugged brawler has been involved in controversies that have drawn the ire of both fans and players. He has punched his opponents injured chin, delivered a nasty crosscheck to the neck and is known to slew his foot regularly.
19. Evander Kane – San Jose Sharks
Multiple behavioral and legal problems in his past have earned Kane the reputation of a “problem child.” On the ice, he has excellent skills, but his hits and fights often have selfish motives. Off the ice, he has been involved in multiple confrontations with his coaches and fellow teammates.
20. Zdeno Chara – Boston Bruins
Chara is famed for his gigantic stature which gives him an edge as a defender. Age has since slowed the big man down. To compensate, he has resorted to bullying his opponents. Due to his size, his hits can get quite dirty.