Ladies and gentlemen, the League's hardest hitter

Sports Illustrated continued its release of player polls yesterday, this time laying out the names of players that were voted the League’s hardest hitters.

The list below, then some thoughts:

1. Zdeno Chara
2. Jordin Tootoo
3. Cal Clutterbuck
4. Douglas Murray
5. Dion Phaneuf
6. Dustin Brown
7. Niklas Kronwall
8. Shea Weber
9. Milan Lucic
10. Alex Ovechkin
11. Patrick Kaleta
12. Chris Neil
13. Chris Pronger
14. Brooks Orpik
15. Robyn Regehr

***

Thoughts:

* There are different types of “hitters.” There are guys that put you on your butt, then there are guys that make you think ”oof, I don’t ever want to play another shift of hockey again.” This clearly seems to be a list of the latter.

* Congrats to Jordin Tootoo for making the list. He’s a cannonball, and really prides himself on hammering every possible human on skates, so it’s good to see that it’s been a successful strategy for him.

* Being a consistent “oh god, you know this guy is taking the body every time” guy seems to have some value (Tootoo, Dustin Brown etc.). That’s part of what makes taking the body so effective – you make guys pass the puck too early because they know they’re getting hit, so they know they have to be prepared.

* Alex Ovechkin made the list, which is cool. Part of me wondered if we didn’t make a fuss about his hits because he’s an offensive star, but it turns out the players agree – he does bring the thunder when he wants to.

And lastly,

* Context. The men on this list are HUGE. Until you stand beside an NBA player yourself, it’s tough to tell how big they are. With few exceptions, this is a list of gigantasaurs.

Comments (10)

  1. Niklas Kronwall seems like a bit of an omission…

    Uh, he’s #7?

  2. Niklas Kronwall isn’t an omission – he’s at No. 7

  3. It’s really funny to watch the Sharks play against eastern conference teams, who typically don’t know Doug Murray well. In the west, everybody avoids trying to hit him, because his biggest strength is the way he counter-hits and flattens people. In the east they blindly try to go after him and end up flat on their backs.

  4. Clutterbuck isn’t so huge. He’s listed at 5’10″, 213lbs. I think he’s more one of the “oh god, you know this guy is taking the body every time” type guys rather than the “make you wish you were never born” type guys.

  5. Three guys on the list also happen to be on the most over rated list. Go figure.

  6. I remember going to a Bruins game a few years back, sitting at rinkside for the pregame skate and seeing Zdeno Chara for the first time up close. I don’t think I’ve recovered yet.

  7. Glad to see Clutterbuck getting the recognition he deserves; I’ve always thought him to be hell to play against. I think Orpik needs to be higher on the list.

    Interesting story on Tootoo- his first game, first shift in the league against the Red Wings, as soon as he hit the ice on a change, the entire Detroit bench began screaming at their players on the ice “HE’S ON THE ICE! HE’S ON THE ICE”. Thats gotta make a rookie really feel good.

    “Congrats to Jordin Tootoo for making the list. He’s a cannonball, and really prides himself on hammering every possible human on skates, so it’s good to see that it’s been a successful strategy for him.”……….I LOVE hockey players like that; as do their teammates and coaches. Hockey is Hitting.

  8. Well lots of props to Chris Neil, he has really grown his game over the years. Not only does he hit hard – the fininshing every check hard kind o guy, but he of course hes a great fighter and now really contributes offensively with a great forecheck and battle in front of the net. Glad he is getting PP2 time – he really has worked hard and grown his game.

    Lucic to me (and I am sure most folks) is such an amazing player. Not many guys as tough as him and talented overall at the same time.

  9. Could you add Alexei Emelin somewhere in the list? I know he is new in the league but believe me he is a Kasparaitis junior! The Canadiens suck so much this year we need this guy for the show…Ask Ryan Malone!

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