November 18, 2011

Bad Boys And Bruisers - The NHL's Toughest Characters

Everyone’s attention at the start of this season has been on the stars of the NHL. The point scorers leading the charts and the netminders who have been on fire have been on the lips of most fans on both sides of the Atlantic.

I thought I’d take a few minutes to look at the bad boys and bruisers so far and look at who is leading the way in fights and penalty minutes. The so called “role” players that have been sparking wars and lighting fires across the ice.

Tied at the top of the PIM’s list are Ottawa’s Zenon Konopka and Philadelphia’s Zac Rinaldo with a whopping 73 minutes.

Konopka has taken a whopping 572 minutes in his past 2 seasons split with the Islanders and Lightning and looks set to come close to the 307 minutes he posted last season. In his last 6 games alone he has dropped the gloves 4 times, taken a major for boarding against the Rangers, picked up a 10 minute fight instigator misconduct and had a 2 fight game in the 7-2 loss against the Flyers.

One of those fights was against Rinaldo who is tying him on 73 points at the top of the bad boy leader board.  He has managed 5 fights so far this season but has been picking up numerous 2 minute minor penalties as well as 3 10 minute misconducts that have seen him shoot to the top of the list.  Infact, out of his 14 games played he has failed to take a penalty in only 3 of them.

3rd on the list sees our 2nd player from the Ottawa Senators, Chris Neil who is slightly lagging behind his team mate Konopka with only 52 points. In all fairness, Neil took 19 of those in one incident in a game against the Maple Leafs Luke Schenn when he got 2 for roughing, 2 for instigating, 5 for fighting and a 10 minute misconduct. Since then he has only dropped the gloves one other time and taken another 10 minute misconduct but a 3 minors against the Bruins and 2 against The Capitals have helped bump up his number. With 2 out of the top 3 so penalised players so far it is no wonder Ottawa are the team to have been shorthanded 2nd most so far this season, with only Winnipeg being shorthanded more times.

Steve Downie of the Tampa Bay Lightning sits 4th on the list with 49 points, however 29 of these were taken in back to back games against close rivals Florida.

This brings us to 5th place and Brandon Dubinsky of the New York Rangers. Maybe it was early season frustration whilst trying to get that 1st goal that led to Dubinsky taking 37 of the minutes in his opening 4 games but since then he has only picked up 5 minors over 12 games so don’t expect him to be here come the end of the season.

There you have it, a look at the 5 most penalised players so far this season!
- Adam Yates

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