Top 10 unsportsmanlike moments in NHL history

·8 min read
Curtis Joseph wiping out a referee after he made the correct call lands on our list of unsportsmanlike moments.
Curtis Joseph wiping out a referee after he made the correct call lands on our list of unsportsmanlike moments.

Over the weekend, Los Angeles Kings forward Brendan Lemieux joined a very exclusive club when he bit Ottawa Senators captain Brady Tkachuk not once but TWICE.

The double bite is certainly something new, and earned the 25-year-old a five-game suspension, but Lemieux is hardly the first player to ever bite someone on an NHL rink.

While not a common occurrence, there have been multiple instances of biting in the league's history.

Aside from chomping, there have been some other extremely unsportsmanlike things that have happened over the years, and luckily for you, I have the top 10 ranked here.

10. Sidney Crosby forgoes the handshake line after winning Stanley Cup

Look, I'm a fan of Sidney Crosby and I'm sure he meant no disrespect by this, but it doesn't change the fact that it happened.

When the Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Detroit Red Wings in the 2009 Stanley Cup Final after falling to the squad the year prior in the Final, the two teams lined up in the customary handshake line that follows every NHL playoff series.

One player who was missing was Crosby, who was too busy celebrating with members of his own team.

The fans inside Joe Louis Arena let Crosby hear it, while Nicklas Lidstrom, Henrik Zetterberg, and Mike Babcock all commented on the incident afterward.

"I think that's one thing you should do after a series, you shake hands," Zetterberg stated. "I don't know why he didn't do it. I think that's disrespectful, I don't know the reason why he didn't do it, but I hope that it was a good one."

9. Adam Burish sends fan home with game-used Tanner Glass glove

Adam Burish looked like he was going to be an honourable sportsman when he scooped Tanner Glass's glove off the ice after a scrap and appeared to be handing it to the ref. As Burish kept skating towards the penalty box, the glove never ended up in the hands of the official. Instead, Burish tossed the piece of equipment into the stands, much to the delight of a lucky fan.

Glass, not happy that his glove was gone (which I don't understand because he didn't wear them often when he was on the ice), started punching Burish.

If Burish had given the mitt back to the ref, he would've not only avoided some haymakers, but also a spot on this list.

8. Sean Avery creates "The Avery Rule"

During Game 3 of the 2008 Eastern Conference quarterfinal matchup between the New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils, Sean Avery's creativity literally changed the game.

The pesky forward parked himself in front of the net on a power play, but instead of just trying to screen netminder Martin Brodeur with his body, he instead started to wave his stick in the goalie's sightline. Moments later, Avery scored on the power play and the Rangers went on to win the game 4-3 in overtime.

The NHL, having never seen anything like this, acted swiftly and amended the unsportsmanlike conduct penalty to include players facing the opposing netminder and waving a hand or stick in their face as a penalty. To this day, the infraction is referred to as "The Avery Rule."

When you're so unsportsmanlike that they name a penalty after you, you make this list.

7. Curtis Joseph takes out a ref

Curtis Joseph didn't mean to take out referee Mick McGeough, but he did, and it's because he was engulfed in rage after an Ottawa Senators goal.

With the Toronto Maple Leafs battling the Sens in Game 3 of the 2000 Eastern Conference quarterfinal, Buds blueliner Cory Cross pushed Daniel Alfredsson into Joseph, which obstructed Joseph from making a save and allowed Rob Zamuner to score his second goal of the game. Absolutely fuming because he thought he was interfered with, Joseph whipped his blocker at McGeough, charged at him, and ultimately tripped and wiped out the official.

CuJo was given a 10-minute misconduct and the Leafs lost the game 4-3.

If Joseph was right in his conviction, maybe it would make his rampage a little more justified, but he was wrong, and poor McGeough took the fall because of it.

6. Officials go on strike thanks to Jim Schoenfeld

In Game 3 of the 1988 NHL Prince of Wales conference finals, the Boston Bruins laid a 6-1 beatdown on the New Jersey Devils, and in classic sore-loser fashion, Devils bench boss Jim Schoenfeld looked to blame the officials, specifically referee Don Koharski, for his team's shortcomings.

"You're crazy," "fat pig," and "have another donut," were some of the comments hurled at Koharski by Schoenfeld in the expletive-filled rant. When the NHL decided not to suspend Schoenfeld for his belligerence, however, the officials stood up for their harassed colleague and protested Game 4 of the series.

In order for the game to go on, the league had to find replacement officials. These four "officials," who looked like they barely knew how to skate, threw on their yellow jerseys(?) and called the game.

New Jersey won Game 4 by a score of 3-1, and 33 penalties were called in the contest.

5. Daniel Alfredsson purposely wires a slap shot at Scott Niedermayer

If Daniel Alfredsson was trying to make it look like he accidentally fired a slap shot at Scott Niedermayer, he did a terrible job of doing so.

As the clock was winding down in the second period in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final between the Ottawa Senators and Anaheim Ducks, Alfredsson was about to dump the puck into the Ducks zone and call it 40 minutes. Instead, the Sens captain peeked up at the clock, saw that there was still some time remaining, changed direction, and ripped a clapper right at Niedermayer.

The Ducks rallied and stood up for their captain, which led to a heated scrum to close out the frame.

With the game tied 2-2 after two periods, Dustin Penner scored the game-winning goal in the third to give the Ducks a 3-1 series lead.

4. Alex Burrows bites Patrice Bergeron in Game 1 of Stanley Cup Final

Game 1 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Final between the Boston Bruins and Vancouver Canucks set the tone for what was going to be a brutally physical series between the two squads.

In the first period, Canucks forward Alex Burrows was jostling with Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron, and with Bergeron's glove in his face, Burrows decided to chomp down. Despite the broadcast crew suggesting that Burrows may face a suspension, he did not receive one.

The Bruins decided to carve out their own punishment for Burrows, though, and it was Milan Lucic specifically who sought some retribution later in the series.

In Game 3, Lucic slashed Burrows to his knees after the whistle, punched him in the head, and then proceeded to taunt him by shoving his fingers in Burrows' face.

3. Flames start fourth line against Canucks, John Tortorella loses his mind

One of the most memorable hockey moments of the last decade occurred on a Saturday night in January of 2013.

To start the contest between the Calgary Flames and Vancouver Canucks, Flames head coach Bob Hartley listed his fourth line of Brian McGrattan, Ladislav Smid, and Kevin Westgarth along with his depth defense pairing of Chris Butler and Blair Jones as the starters. Thinking this was a sign that Harley was looking to goon it up, Canucks bench boss John Tortorella retaliated by throwing Tom Sestito, Kevin Bieksa, Jason Garrison, Kellan Lain (in his first NHL game), and Dale Weise over the boards.

The result? A line brawl to kick things off.

The fighting didn't stop there. Oh no, it had only just begun. After the period ended, Hockey Night in Canada cameras caught Torts trying to break into Calgary's locker room to tear a strip off of Hartley.

Numerous members of the Flames prevented Tortorella from getting after Hartley, but the footage of all this happening is unbelievably amazing.

2. Brad Marchand licking people

This was extremely bizarre and the fact that it happened multiple times is concerning.

On several occasions, Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand licked or attempted to lick his opponent. The list of victims includes Leo Komarov, Patrick Eaves, and Ryan Callahan. I still can't understand why, and I don't think I ever will.

1. Todd Bertuzzi mugs Steve Moore

This is hands down the worst thing anybody has ever done to another opponent.

Colorado Avalanche forward Steve Moore was a marked man after he delivered a headshot to Vancouver Canucks star Markus Naslund earlier in 2003-04 season that cost the latter three games.

Colorado and Vancouver met later in the season, and in this contest, Moore fought Matt Cooke and won the bout. Later in the game, he scored to give his team a 5-0 lead.

Afterward, with Vancouver trailing 8-2 in the third period, Todd Bertuzzi followed Moore around the ice, which culminated in Bertuzzi grabbing Moore's jersey and sucker-punching him to the ground. Moore laid motionless on the ice before a stretcher removed him from the game. He suffered multiple fractured neck vertebrae, facial cuts, and a concussion.

The NHL banned Bertuzzi for the remainder of the campaign, including the playoffs. With the NHL holding firm, the IIHF doubled down on the ruling and prevented Bertuzzi from playing during the 2004-05 lockout.

The act led to a civil lawsuit by Moore against Bertuzzi which resulted in an out-of-court settlement. Moore never played in the NHL again.

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