People are still talking about the Sean Avery/Ladislav Smid incident from Sunday night. Of course, Sean Avery is no stranger to controversy. He’s not exactly the league’s favourite person and he likely doesn’t get too many holiday cards from opposing players. However, he’s also not the first NHL player to cheap shot someone. That much is obvious. Now, in the spirit of douchiness, we present five hockey cheap shots in all their glory.
We’re going to stick with Rangers-related action here. Former Ranger and, at the time, Washington Capital Donald Brashear lost his mind in this 2009 playoff game. This wasn’t just a late hit or a blindside hit. Brashear skated from near the boards to the center ice circle to hit the unsuspecting Betts. Betts had passed the puck at least a second before the hit and Brashear was no where near him at the time. Brashear then decided to turn and go out of his way to hit Betts. Brashear was given a five game suspension for the hit and an additional game for an unrelated pre-game confrontation.
Another game involving the Rangers. This time Chris Simon clotheslined Ryan Hollweg with his stick. Regardless of any of the circumstances surrounding the situation, there’s never a good time to hit someone in the face with your stick. Ever.
Staying with sticks to the head and Donald Brashear, we have this infamous Marty McSorley attack. McSorley never played another NHL game after this and was found guilty of assault with a weapon.
Staying with the Canucks and cases that involved legal action, we have the Todd Bertuzzi/Steve Moore situation. Unfortunately it’s impossible to talk about cheap shots without mentioning this one. Steve Moore never played again.
Claude Lemieux was known for a lot of dirty plays, but this may be the one play you think of when you hear his name. Lemieux was suspended for two games and Kris Draper needed reconstructive surgery on his face.
Obviously these are not the only cheap shots in hockey. These probably aren’t even the worst cheap shots or the most dangerous. Simon, Lemieux, Avery, Brashear and McSorley as well as players like Matt Cooke, Chris Pronger, Jarkko Ruutu and others could fill novels with their dirty plays. However, an interesting thing is that when you watch the five clips posted here, Avery’s cheap shot doesn’t seem so bad.
Of course, that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a cheap shot and that it wasn’t dirty, but at least he didn’t hit Smid with a stick to the face. That’s gotta be worth something, right? Maybe not.