Hockey's worst knee-on-knee hits

No matter what he does, Colton Orr is a cult hero. Except in San Jose.

Most of the plays on the list of hockey’s dirtiest deeds come with a clear and obvious intent to injure. A spear in the gut is malicious, a butt-end to the face is cowardly, a head-butt during a fight is just downright rude, as is the most common fighting sin, the sucker punch.

Those plays happen every now and then, sometimes even in high-profile games. But they require a different breed of jerk, the kind of jerk on a level that Sean Avery can’t even touch.

There’s another infamous dirty trick that’s often placed on this list: the knee-on-knee hit. The problem with this is that some knee-on-knee hits are blatantly intentional, and sometimes the collision is an unfortunate result of a fast-moving game where limbs can get tangled and twisted in ways the human body wasn’t meant to sustain.

Where Colton Orr’s hit on Logan Couture last night lands depends on your allegiance, as do the other dozen questionable hits we examine with a magnifying glass and stethoscope on a weekly basis nowadays.

Regardless of the intent, there’s one constant with these hits: they really, really hurt, and have been known to derail careers. Thankfully, it sounds like Couture has escaped serious injury. He’s officially been slapped with the always vague day-to-day tag, and was seen today walking around the locker room without crutches. Neither head coach Todd McLellan or Couture would offer any kind of diagnosis or timetable, but Couture didn’t back off when asked to give his two cents on the hit.

He was surprised by the lack of supplementary discipline from the league.

“Obviously at the time I didn’t know what happened. He did lead with his shoulder, but as soon as I moved I felt he kind of opened up with his knee and got me knee-on-knee.  It’s tough to take a hit like that, especially from a player like that.”

Many others haven’t been nearly as lucky as Couture, and have missed significant time after knee-on-knee collisions. It’s the kind of hit that never fails to induce an immediate wince, a quick turn away from the TV, and possibly even a gag reflex.

Let’s take a look at some of the most infamous knee-on-knee hits, both recent blows and haunting memories from yesteryear.

And let’s do it in video form, because things that move are more fun to look at. I’m sure I missed a few, and I’m sure you’ll let me know about it.

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