Minnesota's mouthy winger (even his distinctive mustache had a Twitter account) is one of the league's top hit men and a first-class pot-stirrer with his needles and barbs. Here are 17 other notable pests of the present and past whose games dwell somewhere in the badlands between production and goonery.
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Cited by his peers in 2007 as hockey's most hated man, this notorious motormouth brings a maddening edge, antics and scoring touch to any team that has the guts to risk his disruptive personality (he got himself suspended indefinitely and booted off the Dallas Stars in 2009 for unsavory public pronouncements about his former girlfriends). Still, there's no doubt that a player who brings sandpaper, distraction (to foes) and the occasional goal (or headline) to the table can be a very valuable commodity.
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The feisty winger, who attempted a comeback with the San Jose Sharks at age 43 after four seasons in retirement, was often despised by foe and friend alike. Best known for his brawl-inducing hit on Detroit's Kris Draper in the 1996 playoffs and for biting the finger of Calgary's Jim Peplinksi in the 1989 Stanley Cup Final, Lemieux was also renowned for dramatically elevating his play in the postseason, where he scored 19 game-winning goals and won four Cups and a Conn Smythe Trophy.
4 of 18David E. Klutho/SI
A first-round pick in 2000, the hardworking if zealously reckless 6-0, 195-pound Ott has been stirring the coals in Dallas since 2002. He briefly formed a Hanson-esque tag team with Sean Avery in 2008-09, sparking donnybrooks in Boston that drove then-teammate Mike Modano to thoughts of retirement.
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The first Inuit to play in the NHL, Tootoo (5-9, 194) brings wild abandon to the ice. Tougher than freeze-dried moose -- he received a five-game suspension in March 2007 for knocking out and concussing Stephane Robidas (inset) of the Stars with one punch -- and prone to going over the top, the Predators nevertheless appreciate his grit and fire. They rewarded him with a two-year contract extension in Jan. 2008.
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The edgy winger, who puts some teeth in the Senators' attack, received a two-game suspension without pay for biting the finger of Buffalo's Andrew Peters during a 2009 game. Ruutu can also grate on teammates' nerves. While playing for Vancouver in 2002, he tussled with Matt Cooke...during practice.
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The veteran 5-11, 205-pound left-winger draws infuriating whistles, charges of being dirty (see his devastating March 2010 hit on Boston's Marc Savard), and barbed remarks. Tampa Bay's Gary Roberts once referred to Cooke as "chicken droppings" and a diver.
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Vancouver's abrasive winger is aptly nicknamed "Burr" and is one in his foes' behinds. Like Sean Avery, Burrows carefully studies lives and stats for touchy subjects that he then brings up at optimum moments during games.
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An Avery without the carnival antics, Neil is a complete player who can score clutch goals and deliver big hits -- he led the NHL with 288 in 2006-07 as a key member of Ottawa's Stanley Cup finalists. He'll also dispense some rough justice if needed.
10 of 18David E. Klutho/SI, Tim DeFrisco/SI
The reliably mouthy center leant his fearless, bone-rattling, hellbent for leather, defensive style to the Blues, Rangers, Kings, Avalanche and Flyers during the course of 15 seasons, establishing himself as a fan favorite wherever he played.
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Nicknamed "Sideshow Bob" during his 13-season career for Avery-esque antics, Tucker was a 5-10, 170-pound fireball who started out with Montreal but made a name for himself as first-class disturber during his eight seasons in Toronto, where he also had a string of three straight 20-goal campaigns. One of his most notorious acts was a devastating hit on the Islanders' Michael Peca in the 2002 playoffs that turned the series in Toronto's favor.
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The troubled winger often got himself in hot water for running his yap. Simon's suspension rap sheet includes one for making racial slurs at Mike Grier of the Oilers in 1997. He also got sent off to get some counseling in December 2007, nine months after sitting 25 games for a stick-swinging incident (pictured). Yet, during his 15 seasons in the NHL, Simon won a Cup with Colorado (1996) and was often hailed as the consummate teammate.
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From Buffalo (where he led the league in PIM during his first full season, 1995-96), to Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, New York (Rangers), Colorado, Chicago and Dallas, the 6-0, 190-pound winger won hearts (teammates and fans, of course) with his in-your-face style. Like Tiger Williams, he may not have been the best pugilist on the ice, but he always relished a scrap, usually one that he had sparked with his fingernails-on-the-blackboard tactics.
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A pint-sized (5-6, 180) terror who could score, Fleury had eight 30-goal seasons for the Flames and Rangers (including 51 for Calgary in 1990-91), and often taunted foes verbally or by riding his stick after lighting the lamp. His reputation preceded him to the NHL, as he had a role in a brawl at the 1986 World Junior Championships that ultimately cost Canada the gold medal. A member of Calgary's 1989 Stanley Cup team, Fleury eventually became team captain.
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The fiery 5-9, 190-winger was known as the Little Ball of Hate, and from 1983 to 2002 he became the first NHL player to produce 500 goals and more than 2,500 penalty minutes, while skating for the Devils, Whalers, Rangers, Stars and Red Wings. He did most of it after losing part of his thumb in a farming accident in 1985.
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If Wayne Gretzky was The Great One, his left winger was The Grate One during their years together in Edmonton during the 1980s. The feisty Finn was infamous for his often unintelligible chatter and irritating surgery with the stick, but his name is on five Stanley Cups and he had three 30-goal seasons with the Oilers before bringing his mayhem to the Rangers, Blues, Devils, Canucks, Panthers and Capitals.
17 of 18Steve Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images
The Rat was versatile, deceptively fast and a master at goading foes into retaliatory penalties. But he could wear out his welcome. Linseman got himself traded out of Philadelphia after his first four NHL seasons to Edmonton, where he won a Cup in 1984 while skating on a line with Hall of Famers Mark Messier and Glenn Anderson. The Rat hung 'em up in 1991, after also playing for the Bruins and Maple Leafs, with a very respectable 807 points in 860 games.
18 of 18Bruce Bennett Studios/Getty Images
No list of pests is complete without the NHL's all-time leader in penalty minutes (3,966). The 5-11, 190-pound agitator never shied from sticking his nose into a fight. A frequent resident of the sin bin, he still found time to average nearly 20 goals per season for 14 years, including 35 during his All-Star campaign of 1980-81. In all, Tiger clawed at opponents' nerves for seasons while skating for the Leafs, Canucks, Red Wings, Kings and Whalers.
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