NHL's Dirtiest Players
Playing the game at Briere's size (he's generously listed at 5'-9", 174) isn't easy, so he occasionally supplements his skill set with a bit of stick work to create some space for himself. Though he usually gets away with it ? he's more of a sneaky-dirty player ? he's been suspended three times, including a three-gamer back in 2010-11 for a stick foul on Islanders' forward Frans Nielsen.
When you face the kind of ferocious checking that Malkin deals with every night, you're bound to succumb to frustration every now and then. Usually, Geno makes use of his size and strength to discourage the attention, but he's an artist with his stick, too, as the Flyers' Sean Couturier can attest.
Sure, it's tough to control the lumber when you're falling down all the time, but Hartnell doesn't always have an excuse for the way he uses his stick. He led the league in combined slashing/crosschecking fouls last season, proving that he doesn't mind using it to make a point.
It's not simply a world-class skills package that makes Ovechkin unique ? it's that it comes with a healthy dose of menace. He's a hard hitter who's been known to take it too far. He's been fined or suspended four times in his career, most notoriously for a cheap shot that sent a defenseless Brian Campbell crashing into the boards, leaving him with a broken collar bone.
Marchand is miserable to play against. He's a relentless chirper, casual with his stick and gloves, and willing to deliver a hit late...or low. He earned his third meeting in three seasons with Brendan Shanahan, and a five-game suspension, for a low-bridge hit on Vancouver's Sami Salo in 2012.
There weren't too many tears shed around the league at the news Torres was lost for the majority of this season after undergoing ACL surgery in September. Despite an effort to clean up his act, he's still regarded as one of the league's most lethal headhunters, with five suspensions and/or fines on his record. His shocking hit on Marian Hossa in the 2012 playoffs earned him 21-game stint on the shelf. The following year, he was benched 10 games for a blindside hit on Jarret Stoll.
His hit from behind that knocked Detroit's Niklas Kronwall out of the game and earned the Colorado forward a five-game suspension wasn't exactly McLeod's first boarding call (just ask Jared Spurgeon). He has a hard time laying off the big hit, even if the numbers on the back of someone's jersey are all that he sees.
Car Bomb has been suspended five times during his career, most recently in Jan. 2012 for an inexcusable hit from behind on Edmonton's Tom Gilbert. He's earned a reputation as one of the game's most dangerous predators, someone who lurks until he spots an opponent in a vulnerable position.
He's matured considerably from the young player who seemed motivated only by the intent to injure (and earned a pair of 20-game suspensions as a result), but Downie still knows his way around the other side of the line. Like the worst of the bunch, he excels at exacting his pound of flesh behind the play, hoping to drive the opposition to distraction.
The five-game suspension he earned for this sickening hit on Dan Boyle was the first official blot on his rap sheet, but he's been pilloried as an elite cheap shot artist for years. Lapierre is a classic modern agitator, a player who'll do anything to get an opponent off his game. Usually that entails an incessant chirp, but he's a master at executing a butt end, slew foot or late hit when the officials aren't looking.
This one doesn't really require an explanation, does it? He's been suspended or fined seven times for his thuggish behavior, most recently for the flying shot to the head of Blue Jackets defenseman Jack Johnson that earned Kaleta 10 games in the press box without pay. He has a reputation for consistently crossing the line that separates hard play from blatant disrespect for the safety of others. No wonder the NHLPA's appeal of his suspension irked many in the union's rank and file.