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Vulgar Statistics: The NHL’s Dirtiest Players


Not long ago I grew curious about the breakdown of minor penalties, and which players were prone to which infractions.  In looking at this, I realized that it became a great way to empiracally rate players for dirtiness based on the type of penalties they commit and how often.  Here are the penalties that have been committed in the past year, with the “dirty” ones underlined.

  • Tripping
  • Interference
  • Hooking
  • Roughing
  • Holding
  • High Sticking
  • Slashing
  • Delay of Game (I lumped all together)
  • Boarding (includes hitting from behind)
  • Crosschecking
  • Unsportsmanlike Conduct
  • Goaltender Interference
  • Holding the Stick
  • Diving (split from Unsportsmanlike Conduct)
  • Elbowing
  • Charging
  • Instigator
  • Throwing the Stick
  • Spearing
  • Kneeing
  • Check to the Head
  • Intent to Injure
  • Fighting
  • Misconduct

I realize that fighting and the instigator could be dirty (as well as some interferences), but for the most part they don’t involve an intent to injure or a carelessness that is likely to injure.  I then whittled down every player in the NHL by going back three years to see who consistently rose to the top.  My top ten is taken from ranking about thirty players in the following categories:

  1. Total Dirty Penalties (in minutes) (TDP)
  2. Dirty Penalties per Game (in minutes) (DPG)
  3. Percentage of Penalties Committed which are Dirty (%DP)

10 – Daniel Carcillo

TDP – 91 (20th)

DPG – .49 (11th)

%DP – 69.2% (6th)

Weapon of Choice – Roughing (14 PIM)

Alternate Weapon – High Sticking/Crosschecking (8 PIM)

Although Carbomb hasn’t gotten a whole lot of playing time this season, he made it onto this list with his high percentage of dirty penalties.  In short, he uses his time for injuring wisely.

9 – Evander Kane

TDP – 68 (9th)

DPG – .41 (13th)

%DP – 63.0% (12th)

Weapon of Choice – Roughing (40 PIM)

Alternate Weapon – High Sticking (14 PIM)

Kane is one of the more skilled players on this list, but he uses his time for mayhem well.

8 – Jared Boll

TDP – 56 (12th)

DPG – .38 (16th)

%DP – 80.0% (2nd)

Weapon of Choice – Roughing (24 PIM)

Alternate Weapon – Charging (12 PIM)

He plays for Columbus.  One of their goons, Boll is fond of lining players up from afar.  In fact there was only one player on this list who committed more charging penalties.  While he isn’t frequently committing dirty penalties, the majority of the ones he does commit are nasty.

7 – Cody McLeod

TDP – 84 (6th)

DPG – .51 (10th)

%DP – 63.6% (11th)

Weapon of Choice – Roughing (40 PIM)

Alternate Weapon – Boarding (24 PIM)

I might move McLeod up to the top of this list due to the sheer number of boarding infractions he’s committed, almost double the next closest player.  I have yet to see a top 10 list featuring McLeod, probably because he plays for a bad Western Conference team in Colorado.

6 – Brandon Dubinsky

TDP – 89 (5th)

DPG – .54 (8th)

%DP – 65.9% (8th)

Weapon of Choice – Roughing (32 PIM)

Alternate Weapon – Slashing (20 PIM)

Dubinsky ties for this list’s premier swordsman, frequently using his stick to make his presence known.  He also scored second highest in boarding infractions with 13 PIM.

5 – Steve Downie

TDP – 92 (4th)

DPG – .69 (1st)

%DP – 61.3% (15th)

Weapon of Choice – Roughing (50 PIM)

Alternate Weapon – Slashing (16 PIM)

A lot of people would probably put Downie first and I can’t blame them as he commits more dirty penalties per game than any other player.

4 – Derek Dorsett

TDP – 108 (2nd)

DPG – .62 (4th)

%DP – 62.1% (14th)

Weapon of Choice – Roughing (46 PIM)

Alternate Weapon – Slashing (18 PIM)

He also plays for Columbus.  Dorsett split his time pretty evenly between Slashing, High Sticking (16 PIM), Boarding (12 PIM), and Crosschecking (12PIM).  He’s also one of two players (Boll) to commit an illegal check to the head.

3 – Patrick Kaleta

TDP – 82 (7th)

DPG – .64 (3rd)

%DP – 75.9% (4th)

Weapon of Choice – Roughing (56 PIM)

Alternate Weapon – Charging (14 PIM)

Any Kaleta apologists can quit right now.  He has earned his spot here.  No one in the league charges more than Kaleta, and he’s just one of two players in the top ten (Carcillo) to have a kneeing infraction on his resume. On the boarding infraction above, and this is why Greg Wyshynski is a raging victim-blaming dumbass, Kaleta didn’t exactly plow Richards, but as we’ve learned in seeing these incidents, it doesn’t take much for there to be catastrophic results.  I’m going to keep calling out people that try to excuse the perpetrator on boarding incidents until they call them, all of them, what they are: dirty stupid hits that should never happen or be excused regardless of who’s involved.

2 – Chris Neil

TDP – 114 (1st)

DPG – .66 (2nd)

%DP – 65.5% (9th)

Weapon of Choice – Roughing (78 PIM)

Alternate Weapon – Boarding (10 PIM)

No one committed more dirty infractions the past three years than Chris Neil, although generally roughings vary widely in severity.  In the video above, watch how Neil sees Chara coming out of the corner of his eye and pretends to be hurt.

1 – Milan Lucic

TDP – 107 (3rd)

DPG – .61 (5th)

%DP – 78.1% (3rd)

Weapon of Choice – Roughing (40 PIM)

Alternate Weapon – Slashing (20 PIM)

For supposedly being a big, tough guy, Lucic sure uses his stick to defend himself an awful lot.  If Kaleta apologists can shut up, Lucic apologists can lock their doors and toss the key.  To add to his impressive resume which includes 12 High Sticking and Crosschecking PIM and 11 Boarding PIM, Lucic is the only player on this list to receive a penalty for Attempting to Injure another player. Start watching at :30 above to see Lucic attempt to sit Evander Kane next to Steve Moore.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. 03/08/13 9:03 PM

    You can view my spreadsheet here, but I’m not finished with it yet which is why I didn’t link it.

  2. 05/11/13 8:50 PM

    Lucic number one and Cooke not even on the list? You suck. You’re list sucks.

  3. 05/11/13 9:36 PM

    Shrug. Cooke just doesn’t commit that many penalties anymore. If you had taken the time to look at my spreadsheet, you’ll see that he is on there, just not worth mentioning, regardless of what he did one time several years ago.

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