New York Rangers
The roughest I've played against is Leo Boivin of the Bruins. He throws the hardest body checks in hockey. A lot of players on other teams feel the same way I do about him. If he manages to catch you unaware, with your head down, his check really shakes you up in spite of all the padding. It's a thing you don't easily forget.
This is an article from the Feb. 15, 1960 issue
Hockey players are rough, but they are clean. One who isn't wouldn't last long against the rough competition in the NHL. From what I have seen and from what I hear other players say, Fern Flaman of the Bruins is the roughest. Some of his own teammates agree with me and they ought to know.
I think the roughest player in the league is Fernie Flaman of our team. But the guy who gives me the hardest time is Marcel Pronovost of the Detroit Red Wings. He really .has every one of my moves figured out, and it's more disconcerting than a series of hard blocks. I try to cross him up, but that's it. He has me.
Chicago Black Hawks
I've encountered very few tough guys in the league, so far. But I'd have to rate Bill Gadsby of the New York Rangers as the toughest I've come across. He's always ready to give a hip for a hip, with a shoulder thrown in for interest. He's not a pugnacious player, but he plays the game with everything he's got.
New York Rangers
Gordie Howe has the reputation of being the roughest, but he's calmed down considerably in recent years. Currently it's between Eric Nesterenko of the Black Hawks, who generally plays a rough game, and Leo Boivin of Boston. Personally, I'd say Boivin is the toughest. He's the hardest body checker in the business.
Leo Boivin of the Boston Bruins is the toughest because he throws the hardest body check and he does it cleanly. Hockey is a rough game but not necessarily a dirty game. Sometimes a player may appear dirty, but it is unintentional. Other rough players are Marcel Pronovost of Detroit and Lou Fontinato of New York.