Anywhere a rivalry exists, there’s usually one player who draws the ire of the hometown fans, be it a former player, superstar scorer or a perpetual pest who has stirred things up one time too many. For example, in Washington, Sidney Crosby is usually met with boos. The same goes for Alex Ovechkin in Pittsburgh.
Maybe some of the hate is misguided, though. After all, the players who deserve to get the most heat from the home team’s supporters should be the players who are hurting the good guys on the scoresheet where it really counts, right? But who are the players who should then be facing the brunt of the away fans’ anger?
Well, look no further. We’ve perused the databases and pulled out the players who have done the most damage to each team in the NHL. These are the 31 players — plus a few more when you include active and all-timers — who home fans should be focusing on throwing off their game. So, be it by chants or jeers, here’s the ultimate guide to who should be targeted by the boo birds:
(Note: The “all-time” statistics only truly reflect the past 30 seasons. Hockey-Reference’s database only allows )
All-Time: Mike Modano — 28G, 55A, 83Pts.
Active: Joe Thornton — 18G, 56A, 74Pts.
Past Five Seasons: Anze Kopitar — 9G, 14A, 23Pts.
No surprise here. The Battle of California is not for the faint of heart, and with Thornton entering the back nine of his career, he’s passed the torch to Kopitar as the player most responsible for doing damage to the Ducks. With several years left on a big-money deal in Los Angeles, chances are Kopitar keeps it up for a while yet.
All-Time: Wayne Gretzky — 24G, 73A, 97Pts.
Active: Joe Thornton — 24G, 63A, 87Pts.
Past Five Seasons: Anze Kopitar — 7G, 20A, 27Pts.
Sure enough, the same active and past-five players have torched Arizona. You’ll note, however, that former coach Gretzky tops the all-time list. That dates back to the franchise’s days as the Winnipeg Jets. It’s also the first on this list in a funny trend of teams keeping their enemies close. You’ll see.
All-Time: Jaromir Jagr — 35G, 68A, 103Pts.
Active: Thomas Vanek — 34G, 36A, 70Pts.
Past Five Seasons: James van Riemsdyk — 12G, 8A, 20Pts.
Max Pacioretty was probably on the most-hated list during his tenure in Montreal. Heck, any Canadien probably out-ranked the Maple Leafs’ best. But it’s ‘JVR’ who tops the list in recent years, with Vanek sticking out like a sore thumb on the active list. Bruins fans shouldn’t have been happy to see him return to the division this summer. A note, as well: this is Jagr’s first appearance, but prepare to understand why an alternate title for this post could have been “Why fans of every team should hate Jaromir Jagr.”
All-Time: Jaromir Jagr — 46G, 63A, 109Pts.
Active: Jason Spezza — 23G, 47A, 70Pts.
Past Five Seasons: Brad Marchand — 10G, 15A, 25Pts.
Marchand’s emergence as a top scorer has been one of the most impressive player developments over the past few seasons, and he’s really brought down the hammer on the Sabres. Surely Buffalo hates seeing Marchand come into town for other reasons, but his offense should be up there. And hey, there’s Jagr again!
All-Time: Wayne Gretzky — 26G, 80A, 106Pts.
Active: Paul Stastny — 25G, 36A, 61Pts.
Past Five Seasons: Ryan Getzlaf — 6G, 22A, 28Pts.
Stastny makes only one appearance on this list, and the damage he’s done against the Flames dates back to his days with the Avalanche. Getzlaf has been a human assist machine against Calgary in recent years, too, while Gretzky basically fourth-liners career’s-worth of points against the Flames to add some extra fuel to the Battle of Alberta fire.
All-Time: Jaromir Jagr — 39G, 83A, 122Pts.
Active: Alex Ovechkin — 36G, 49A, 85Pts.
Past Five Seasons: Mats Zuccarello — 6G, 16A, 22Pts.
Oh, look, Jagr! Funny seeing him here. He put a hurting on the Hurricanes and Whalers over the course of his career, and Ovechkin has seemingly picked up right where Jagr left off. Look at that stat line for Ovechkin. He’s only three shy of matching Jagr’s goal total, and he’s still more than a decade younger than Jagr was when he left the NHL.
All-Time: Steve Yzerman — 47G, 72A, 119Pts.
Active: Rick Nash — 27G, 28A, 55Pts.
Past Five Seasons: Vladimir Tarasenko — 16G, 9A, 25Pts.
The Blackhawks and the Blues have one of the most heated rivalries in the league regardless of where the two teams are in the standings, and while David Backes, Steve Ott and Barret Jackman were usually the most despised players when St. Louis came to town, Tarasenko’s gaudy goal total should give the United Center crowd reason to focus their energy on throwing the sniper off his game.
All-Time: Jarome Iginla — 37G, 41A, 78Pts.
Active: Joe Thornton — 15G, 44A, 59Pts.
Past Five Seasons: Blake Wheeler — 13G, 18A, 31Pts.
Over the course of Thornton’s career, he has scored less than twice as many points as Wheeler has lit the Avalanche up for in the past five seasons alone. Also, recall that little note about keeping enemies close? After picking apart Colorado throughout his career, the organization had apparently seen enough and decided the only way to stop him was to bring him aboard.
Columbus Blue Jackets
All-Time: Pavel Datsyuk — 21G, 47A, 68Pts.
Active: Patrick Kane — 18G, 33A, 51Pts.
Past Five Seasons: John Tavares — 10G, 15A, 25Pts.
The Blue Jackets must have been over the moon to get away from the old Central Division. Not only were they in the right time zone, but it also meant no more seeing Patrick Kane several times each season. Look at those numbers. Yeesh.
All-Time: Brett Hull — 66G, 45A, 111Pts.
Active: Joe Thornton — 19G, 49A, 68Pts.
Past Five Seasons: Blake Wheeler — 8G, 19A, 27Pts.
Speaking of the Central, the new alignment has put the Jets in the division with the Avalanche and Stars, both of whom Wheeler has enjoyed some serious success against. Take note of the all-time leader, though. Hull brought a Stanley Cup to Dallas — on a perfectly legal goal that no one has ever complained about and everyone agrees should have counted — but he also was a giant pain when he played against the Stars.
Detroit Red Wings
All-Time: Brett Hull — 60G, 30A, 90Pts.
Active: Patrick Marleau — 25G, 26A, 51Pts.
Past Five Seasons: Brad Marchand — 13G, 14A, 27Pts.
When Hull left Dallas, he ended up in Detroit, which is funny because it’s the other team he absolutely destroyed during his tenure in the NHL. Take a second to bask in that goal total. Two-thirds of his 90 points were goals. Those kind of numbers would be unthinkable today.
All-Time: Joe Sakic — 38G, 61A, 99Pts.
Active: Patrick Marleau — 38G, 28A, 66Pts.
Past Five Seasons: Joe Pavelski — 18G, 14A, 32Pts.
In the past five years, Pavelski has dominated the Oilers. Yet, it’s probably Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau who have brought out the biggest boo birds in Edmonton. Oilers fans, you might want to bring out the howitzers next time Pavelski comes to town.
All-Time: Alex Ovechkin — 36G, 40A, 76Pts.
Active: Alex Ovechkin — 36G, 40A, 76Pts.
Past Five Seasons: Steven Stamkos — 12G, 14A, 26Pts.
Boy, did Ovechkin ever run roughshod over the old Southeast Division, especially the Panthers. He has basically owned a piece of Florida throughout his career. Of course, he’s renting some of that out to Stamkos now, as the Lightning captain has taken to laying a licking on the Cats in recent years.
Los Angeles Kings
All-Time: Teemu Selanne — 52G, 67A, 119Pts.
Active: Patrick Marleau — 41G, 49A, 90Pts.
Past Five Seasons: Johnny Gaudreau — 5G, 15A, 20Pts.
Honestly, Gaudreau probably flies under the radar. Kings fans generally put their energy towards hurling insults at Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry or making fun of Brent Burns’ beard or something. But Gaudreau is the player who has hurt Los Angeles the most over the past five seasons.
All-Time: Jarome Iginla — 39G, 33A, 72Pts.
Active: Patrick Marleau — 24G, 18A, 42Pts.
Past Five Seasons: Tyler Seguin — 10G, 18A, 28Pts.
This one is interesting. You’ll notice that there’s a lot of divisional influence when it comes to active leaders, but Marleau, who did most of his damage while with the Sharks, never played in the same division as Minnesota. There must have just been something about playing the Wild that really got Marleau going.
All-Time: Daniel Alfredsson — 31G, 76A, 107Pts.
Active: Jason Spezza — 32G, 37A, 69Pts.
Past Five Seasons: Evgeni Malkin — 5G, 18A, 23Pts.
No one really forgets about Malkin, per se. It’s just that he’s overlooked when it comes to things like this because of that Sidney Crosby guy. Turns out, though, it’s Malkin who should be feared most when the Canadiens meet up with the Penguins.
All-Time: Pavel Datsyuk — 21G, 53A, 74Pts.
Active: Joe Thornton — 12G, 50A, 62Pts.
Past Five Seasons: Jamie Benn — 11G, 13A, 24Pts.
Another interdivisional beatdown, this one at the hands of Thornton. He’s very nearly the all-time leader for points against the Predators despite the fact he’s never played in the same division. For a team that has had great defensemen for a long while, Thornton has done a great job picking Nashville apart.
New Jersey Devils
All-Time: Mario Lemieux — 36G, 63A, 99Pts.
Active: Sidney Crosby — 33G, 36A, 69Pts.
Past Five Seasons: Sidney Crosby — 13G, 11A, 24Pts.
From one Penguins great to another. The Devils simply can’t escape it. The remarkable thing here, though, is that Crosby has almost matched Lemieux’s goal total. Three tallies separate the two. Crosby still has a way to go until he has the right to be called the most-hated opponent in Devils history.
New York Islanders
All-Time: Jaromir Jagr — 61G, 94A, 155Pts.
Active: Sidney Crosby — 34G, 74A, 108Pts.
Past Five Seasons: Sidney Crosby — 14G, 19A, 33Pts.
From one Penguins great to another. The Islanders simply can’t escape it. Seriously, though, Crosby is tied for the most points by one player against any single opponent over the past five seasons. Of course, that he has a share of that mark is hardly surprising. (Also, Jagr!)
New York Rangers
All-Time: Mark Recchi — 41G, 64A, 105Pts.
Active: Sidney Crosby — 31G, 50A, 81Pts.
Past Five Seasons: Phil Kessel — 9G, 14A, 23Pts.
Are you starting to notice a pattern with these Metropolitan Division teams? Getting the bulk of his work against those teams has allowed Crosby to take top spot on yet another active list. It’s teammate Kessel, though, that has really stuck in the Rangers’ craw.
All-Time: Jaromir Jagr — 44G, 46A, 90Pts.
Active: Patrice Bergeron — 25G, 34A, 59Pts.
Past Five Seasons: Nikita Kucherov — 8G, 16A, 24Pts.
Oh, hey, look! It’s Jaromir Jagr again! The Senators get to join the likes of the Islanders, Hurricanes, Sabres and Bruins as teams that Jagr piled up points against throughout his career. This is one that Bergeron might be able to take from the Czech legend at some point, though.
All-Time: Jaromir Jagr — 47G, 73A, 120Pts.
Active: Sidney Crosby — 38G, 55A, 93Pts.
Past Five Seasons: Sidney Crosby — 10G, 12A, 22Pts.
JAGR AGAIN. (Oh, and it appears Flyers fans are very justified in their hatred of Crosby.)
All-Time: Brian Leetch — 19G, 73A, 92Pts.
Active: Alex Ovechkin — 34G, 23A, 57Pts.
Past Five Seasons: Claude Giroux — 5G, 20A, 25Pts.
Leetch is the only defenseman who appears on this list in any category, which is mighty impressive. More impressive, though, might be that the Penguins and Flyers have both managed to have their captains as the players who have put up the most points for their respective sides in the rivalry in recent years.
San Jose Sharks
All-Time: Teemu Selanne — 51G, 48A, 99Pts.
Active: Ryan Getzlaf — 12G, 46A, 58Pts.
Past Five Seasons: Ryan Getzlaf — 4G, 17A, 21Pts.
Sharks fans like to chant ‘Beat L.A.!’ when the play the Kings, but maybe they should think about a new chant for when they play the Ducks. Maybe ‘Stop their best players from beating us mercilessly!’
St. Louis Blues
All-Time: Steve Yzerman — 41G, 66A, 107Pts.
Active: Patrick Kane — 21G, 35A, 56Pts.
Past Five Seasons: Jamie Benn — 12G, 17A, 29Pts.
Told you that Blues-Blackhawks rivalry was something. As much as Chicago fans should rain boos down on Tarasenko, St. Louis’ crowd should do the same to Kane. He’s done just as much damage and we highly doubt that’s going to end anytime soon.
Tampa Bay Lightning
All-Time: Alex Ovechkin — 43G, 42A, 85Pts.
Active: Alex Ovechkin — 43G, 42A, 85Pts.
Past Five Seasons: Sidney Crosby — 9G, 16A, 25Pts.
The Tampa Bay Lightning have probably never hated a pair of drafts more than they hate the 2004 and 2005 drafts. Stupid first-overall picks, you know?
Toronto Maple Leafs
All-Time: Steve Yzerman — 43G, 70A, 113Pts.
Active: Alex Ovechkin — 37G, 29A, 66Pts.
Past Five Seasons: Mark Stone — 10G, 19A, 29Pts.
This is a fun one. Yzerman is a throwback to the Norris Division days, and he certainly gave a lot of Maple Leafs fans headaches. Stone is a nod to the present-day Atlantic Division, one last sign the Battle of Ontario is alive. And Ovechkin is… Well, he’s Alex Ovechkin. He just puts up a lot of points and Toronto has suffered greatly at his hands.
All-Time: Wayne Gretzky — 31G, 73A, 104Pts.
Active: Joe Thornton — 18G, 49A, 67Pts.
Past Five Seasons: Logan Couture — 11G, 13A, 24Pts.
Gretzky really used to torture teams Western Canada. You’ll note that beyond him being the all-time leader against the Canucks, he also topped the list for the Flames and Coyotes (Jets). Seeing the Oilers on the schedule must have been the absolute worst during those days.
Vegas Golden Knights
All-Time: Connor McDavid — 2G, 6A, 8Pts.
Active: Connor McDavid — 2G, 6A, 8Pts.
Past Five Seasons: Connor McDavid — 2G, 6A, 8Pts.
Legendary point totals. Unbreakable marks.
All-Time: Mark Recchi — 47G, 64A, 111Pts.
Active: Eric Staal — 30G, 44A, 74Pts.
Past Five Seasons: Evgeni Malkin — 10G, 16A, 26Pts.
Another Malkin appearance, and the reason why we indicated above that despising Crosby might be resulting in a lot of wasted energy. It’s actually Malkin who’s been doing most of the heavy lifting. Also, shoutout to the Southeast Division and the old Hurricanes-Capitals battles.
All-Time: Alex Ovechkin — 47G, 44A, 91Pts.
Active: Alex Ovechkin — 47G, 44A, 91Pts.
Past Five Seasons: Tyler Seguin — 18G, 15A, 33Pts.
Another homage to the Southeast. Ovechkin feasted on the Atlanta Thrashers, which means he gets top spot on the all-time and active lists. Don’t sleep on that Seguin point total, though. His 33 points against the Jets from the start of the 2013-14 campaign onward are tied with Crosby for the most against one team in that span.