Throughout the league, there are a number of players that opposing fans just love to hate. In fact, there are too many to mention but let’s take a look at some of the most universally hated NHL players in the league today.
These are the types of players that you love (most of them) when they play for you, but easily despise when they don’t. Some are hated for playing on the edge while others are the worst of the worst in terms of crossing the line from physical to downright dirty. They’ve been called dirty, gritty, abrasive, goon, and frequently far worse.
Marchand is known as the Little Ball Of Hate, or the Rat. That alone should tell you that there is nothing cute and cuddly about him. He is generally always playing a hard, gritty style of hockey and he loves to keep one foot firmly over the line at all times. Marchand is known for taking bone headed penalties when his team needs him the most which could eventually wear thin in Boston even.
In fact, Marchand is having a career year and was starting to look like he had finally evolved into a franchise type of player. The kind that doesn’t take questionable penalties and get suspended before one of the biggest games of the season. Of course, just after a number of fans and reporters had been commenting on how he was finally the kind of player Boston could be proud of, he went ahead and clipped Mark Borowiecki of the Ottawa Senators.
The play resulted in a three-game suspension that forced him to miss the Bruins matchup with the Montreal Canadiens in the Winter Classic. They were already without David Krejci due to an injury, so losing their top scorer was a nasty blow. One that was easily avoidable if Marchand had put his team first. The Bruins lost the game 5-1.
In spite of his dirty reputation, Marchand has many thinking he could be a part of team Canada in the 2016 World Cup of Hockey. It is clear that Marchand is a talented player, but his penchant for outside of the lines play could easily factor against him.
You know that saying about leopards not changing their spots…Marchand isn’t any more likely to change.
Shaw is a favorite son in Chicago, but once he leaves the Windy City, he is almost never warmly welcomed to any opposing arena. He isn’t the type of player to find a way onto fan’s most hated lists like Corey Perry, but you better believe on game days when the Blackhawks roll into town, he is the player that fans love to hate.
Shaw is a sandpaper type of player who always gets in the crease and is never afraid to engage opposing players, and boy does he loves to chirp. He is known as the Mutt, and he plays like a rabid version of Scrappy Doo (you know, the tiny dog everyone hated from Scooby Doo). He is almost always smaller than his adversaries, but he plays like he is ten foot tall and bullet proof on a nightly basis.
Shaw isn’t especially dirty, but he is effectively annoying enough to drive opponents, and their fans crazy on a regular basis.
Kesler is easily one of the most hated players in Vancouver for his demand to be traded in what many fans deemed the heart of their Stanley Cup window (which appears to be slamming shut on the Sedin twins). He then joined Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf with the Anaheim Ducks where he has gone on to expand his horizons in terms of breeding new hatred.
He is known for playing on the edge, and also has a penchant for diving and whining which is rarely an endearing quality. Kesler is a highly skilled centerman, but like a few others on this list does not care to have the tables turned on him.
Perry is one of the guys opposing players hate to play against. Apart from the fact that he has a flare for the drama selling penalties like a used car salesman, he also has a penchant for some nasty stick work. Perry likes to hack and whack at any opposing players whenever he has an opening, so if a player goes down in the corner it is advisable to protect the head and especially anything below the belt.
Perry is also a chirpy individual, so players and officials are always prepared for him to run his mouth off. What makes him especially annoying is that he also happens to be a highly skilled player who can come up big in key moments for the Anaheim Ducks.
If you were to search twitter for most hated NHL players, Perry makes nearly every top five out there.
He is an amazing player but Corey Perry is probably my most hated hockey player in the league.
— NHLtoSeattle (@NHLtoSeattle) April 28, 2014
While I generally wouldn’t consider Backes an especially dirty player in relation to a lot of players on this list, he does have a bit of a reputation for taking some dangerous hits. Backes has also been one of the most likely players in the Central for opposing teams to want to drop the gloves against, even being targeted by Chicago Blackhawks Captain Jonathan Toews after an ugly hit to defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson earlier this year. However, there is a lot of history in Chicago as Brent Seabrook was suspended for a bad hit on Backes as well.
Generally speaking, if skill players are dropping the gloves to protect linemates, it’s probably not because you gently tapped someone in the corner.
Backes also had a questionable hit against Washington Capitals Karl Alzner this season. Backes essentially threw a hard hit right to the numbers planting Alzner face first into the boards. Alzner was left bloodied, and Backes was given a boarding major and ejected from the game
Nothing to argue about on major penalty to Backes for boarding #Caps Alzner, other than length of suspension.
— Alan May (@MayHockeyNBCS) February 1, 2015
Torres just might be the one player that even his own team’s fans don’t love. With good reason, as it is hard to contribute to the team when you get suspended in the preseason for 41 games. Which is the second time he has been suspended for 20 or more games. He is the NHL Problem Child, who has outstayed his welcome.
While technically, Torres has not played a regular season game in 2015-16, as long as there is a chance that he could play another game at any point in the future he has to be included on this list. Torres had enough potential to be picked fifth overall in the 2000 NHL entry draft, but he never really lived up to that potential. He has been a member of eight NHL teams (not including the Leafs since he has yet to suit up due to another injury).
The difference with Torres is that he is an unapologetic repeat offender who is likely one of the worst the league has seen in recent years. Since 2011, no player has missed more games due to suspensions than Torres (74 games). He has finally been bounced to what should amount to purgatory as he was recently traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs and would have been unlikely to make an NHL appearance under coach Mike Babcock, injury or not.
This is the final year of his contract, and after his last 41 game suspension, he can’t be looking too attractive to prospective teams. Hopefully, when his contract expires, he will slither off into the sunset never to play in the NHL again.
— MapleLeafsFanZone (@MapleLeafs_FZ) March 10, 2016
Lucic is easily one of the most universally hated players on this list. He is one of those players that seems to love to dish out heavy hits, but the second the tables are turned he will whine and complain like he is the NHL’s version of a choir boy.
Of course, the fact that he completely disrespected one of the NHL’s most time-honored traditions as he used the handshake line at the end of a playoff series to make threats to Dale Weise after the Canadiens had eliminated the Boston Bruins. He will never be accused of being a classy player: That is a guarantee.
In fact, early on in his first season with the Los Angeles Kings, when Lucic took a hard open-ice hit from San Jose Sharks forward, Logan Couture as he was leaving the penalty box, he quickly got up and charged him as he retaliated and took a penalty with his team down 5-1 in the third.
In addition, Lucic has been suspended for a game this season for a sucker punch to Kevin Connaughton. In his first game back, he delivered another ‘accidental’ sucker punch to an official in a scrum.
Milan Lucic suspended one game for ‘sucker punch’ https://t.co/vt267gHcct
— NHL on NBC Sports (@NHLonNBCSports) January 24, 2016
Roussel isn’t on as many fanbases radar because the Stars haven’t been deep playoff contenders in recent years, but with a couple years of success and a little more exposure, he’ll get there. The Stars are on the doorstep of being a perennial Cup contender right now.
He hasn’t been in the league as long as some of the guys on this list, but he’s made an impact already. In the late stages of the 2014-15 season, Roussel cemented his reputation with a cross-check to the neck of Adam McQuaid in retaliation for a good hit. It was a dangerous play that could have resulted in a serious injury.
Roussel has also dropped the gloves early and often in his first four seasons at the NHL level. He averages around 10 fights per season, which is bound to keep him in the hunt for most hated among many fanbases.
Tootoo has been hated across many fanbases regardless of where his career has taken him. This season, he is among the leaders in several categories that you generally don’t want to be recognized for like penalty minutes (9th with 102 PIM over 66 games), fighting majors (4th), and major penalties (2nd).
He is not like Marchand or Perry, in that he is not a top skill player that can kill teams physically and put the puck in the back of your net on the next play. Instead Tootoo gets much of his hatred the old fashioned way, by dropping the gloves or throwing nasty hits.
I think the Pens, and Flyers are the hockey teams I hate the most, and whatever team employees Jordin Tootoo
— Keezus G (@Kgeter92) September 24, 2014
There are always going to be players that we love to hate, so hit the comments and let us know who you think should make the list!
Kristi is a long time hockey fan who grew up in, and around hockey rinks across the United States and Canada. A native Chicagoan, Loucks has always been an avid Blackhawks fan. Kristi also covers the Chicago Cubs and writes suspense thrillers, when not covering the Chicago Blackhawks. Follow Kristi on twitter @louckske