Hockey is a fast paced game like with every sport requires hard work, teamwork, and dedication. Rivalries happen in sports all the time between players from different teams, different team rivalries, and sometime rivalries happen between teammates. We have seen in other sports teammates not get along such has Kobe and Shaq, LeBron and Kyire Irving, and even in baseball with Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez. When teammates don’t get along it could cause a distraction from what you are trying to do win games and be the best team you can be.
Hockey is that sport though that allows fighting between a player from one team and another player from another team during a game. But having fights between teammates is not good because it can take away the focus of what that particular team is trying to accomplish. Not everyone gets along but having a team that doesn’t have any drama are the ones that do the best. Look at the Pittsburgh Penguins for example; everyone knows the team is Crosby’s and everyone follows his lead and takes the same direction to reach the ultimate goal.
In this article I take a look at the top 15 former NHL teammates that hated each other and still do to this day.
15. BRIAN MCGRATTAN AND CHRIS NEIL
Brian McGrattan and Chris Neil were teammates for the Ottawa Senators. McGratton felt he had to protect Chris Neil when they were both teammates before McGratton moved to Boston in 2010. He was tired of protecting Chris Neal all the time and he let his words be known in a 2010 interview. “I had to protect that guy for three years when I was there.”
McGrattan was talking about a fight Neil got into with a Boston Bruins defenceman Dennis Seidenberg. McGrattan also said in the interview that “He’d do that and I’d have to fight all his battles for him.” So It’s pretty clear that McGrattan didn’t like Chris Neil because Neil would start a fight and expect McGrattan to save him and help him out. McGrattan doesn’t like Neil to this day because it he had to protect Neil so much it took the focus away on making himself a better player.
14. TROY BROUWER AND ALEX SEMIN
Alex Semin was a type of teammate that you didn’t know what you were going to get out of him. He was good at scoring goals but his work ethic was always in question. He was teammates with Troy Brouwer with the Washington Capitals where Alex Semin spent his first seven seasons in the NHL. In the summer of 2013 Semin was a free agent and went to the Carolina Hurricanes.
Troy Brouwer said in an interview in 2013 that “It was tough to lose his scoring ability when he wanted to play, but all in all I think we’ve been doing well without him. Some nights you didn’t even know if he was gonna come to the rink. It’s tough to play alongside guys like those because you don’t know what you’re gonna get out of em.”
13. SAKU KOIVU AND MIKE RIBEIRO
The two Montreal Canadiens were teammates and didn’t get along too well. The two players were fighting over a top position on the team and fought in a practice in 2004 as well. Ribeiro had an attitude problem throughout his career and clearly being the captain, Saku Koivu just had enough. Another example of having trouble in your locker room can affect your team greatly.
To this day Koivu and Ribeiro don’t talk. In fact, no on is talking to Ribeiro nowadays, as he has disappeared in recent months, with his agent saying he hasn’t been able to contact him.
Ribeiro has had a rough career not really fitting in well no matter what team he is on. He had 153 points with the Montreal Canadiens. Koivu played 13 seasons with the Habs and was one of their most beloved players in franchise history.
12. RYAN KESLER AND R.J. UMBERGER
Ryan Kelser and R.J. Umberger were teammates together at Ohio State University. They were both taken by the Vancouver Canucks at different times though Umberger was taken 16th overall in the 2001 draft and Ryan Kelser was chosen 23rd overall in the 2003 NHL Draft. Umberger, however failed to come to an agreement with his contract he instead used tried to use Kesler’s contract to get a better deal but nothing happened. He sat out the season.
Ryan Kelser didn’t like that and he felt betrayed by Umberger. I’m sure it caused a distraction in the locker room and was not a good situation for the team. In a 2009 game, with Kesler on Vancouver and Umberger on the Rangers, both got into a fight during the game. In a 2014 interview Umberger said he wouldn’t welcome back old teammate Ryan Kesler to the Columbus Blue Jackets.
11. BRENDAN SHANAHAN AND CRAIG JANNEY
Well, you can’t really blame Janney for this one.
This is another cheating scandal when it comes to athletes. These two players were on the STt. Louis Blues in the 1990s and story goes Shanahan was sleeping with Craig Janney’s wife at the time. That affected the locker room so bad both players had to get traded. Craig got a divorce and Shanahan ended up marrying his ex wife.
To this day these two guys have still not talked to one another. Shanahan was snubbed of the Hockey Hall Of Fame in 2012 and some speculated it was because of what he did in the Blues locker room. Doing those things causes a huge mess for the team and it definitely doesn’t paint you as being a good teammate.
10. TIE DOMI AND NEIL WILKINSON
These two Winnipeg teammates got into a fight at practice in 1994-95 training camp. Wilkinson broke Tie Domi’s thumb at the time. Domi said it was “play fighting” while Wilkinson said “I wasn’t play fighting.” In a 1995 interview Domi was on the Leafs and was asked if he would be afraid to fight anyone on his old team he replied with “No.”
Also in a home interview he recalls his time with the Jets saying “I’ve never had more confrontations with teammates.” To this day there hasn’t been news if Domi has ever talked to his teammates when he was in Winnipeg. There is still bad blood between Domi and Wilkinson after Wilkinson broke Domi’s thumb. I doubt any Christmas cards have been exchanged since that fight.
9. DION PHANEUF AND ROBYN Regehr
These two guys were competitive with each other which can be a good thing or a bad thing. In this case he it was a bad thing because neither guy got along when they played for the Calgary Flames. Dion Phaneuf got traded by the Flames in 2009 and people wondered why. Turns out Phaneuf and Regehr would have fights in the locker room.
Head coach at the time for the Flames Mike Keenan told NBC Sports in a 2012 interview that there was never ending in the locker room between Phaneuf and Regehr. “Some of the decisions made about personal there has been a lot of discrepancy, there’s been fighting in the locker room between Phaneuf and Regehr at the time and you settle those things out as a coaching staff.” Not everybody gets along but these two guys were hardly speaking to each other at all.
8. SEAN AVERY AND BRENDEN MORROW
Sean Avery and Brenden Morrow were teammates for the Dallas Stars. Apparently Brenden Morrow didn’t like Sean Avery from the moment he walked in. He said in an interview “I have said hate and I imagine we wouldn’t have singed him I would’ve said I still hate him.” Sean Avery’s time in Dallas was short because of drama going on with his ex-girlfriend dating Dion Phaneuf and he made those controversial “sloppy seconds” comments.
Morrow would never want to work together with Avery or get to know him. Not the greatest attitude to have when you’re on a team working together. Then again, it’s Sean Avery. Avery still doesn’t get along with Morrow today saying in a 2011 interview “I didn’t adjust to Texas as a whole.” He also was quoted as saying he didn’t like some of the guys in the room.
7. JEREMY ROENICK AND PATRICK MARLEAU
Jeremy Roenick and Patrick Marleau were teammates on the San Jose Sharks from 2007-2009 and didn’t really see eye to eye. To this day Jeremy Roenick isn’t too fond of Patrick Marleau. Saying in 2016 “He has some of the most talent ever. I don’t think he brings it on a day-to-day basis and that’s my opinion. And obviously I work as an analyst for NBC and that’s usually my analysis. But that doesn’t mean I have to like him as a person or like him as a player or anything like that.”
Marleau responded to the comments saying “He’s got his own agenda. He’s saying stuff so people watch. I understand that. I don’t have to like it or agree with it, but he’s trying to get viewers like you’re trying to get people to read the paper. I don’t take it personally or anything like that.”
6. KEVIN BIEKSA AND FEDOR FEDOROV
This rivalry between teammates started literally over a spilled drink. Bieska went to try out for the Vancouver AHL Affiliate team the Manitoba Moose. Bieksa and Fedor were at a restaurant and Bieksa bumped into Fedor which made him spill his beer. Bieksa offered to buy Federov another beer ,but he refused and wanted to fight Bieksa outside.
Bieksa would knock out Fedor with a punch and get called up in the 2005 season while Fedor would be traded before the 2005-06 season. To this day it’s not certain if these two players have made peace with one another. With Vancouver, Bieksa scored 241 points and played 10 seasons with the team. Fedorov only scored two goals with Vancouver before leaving the NHL after the 2005-06 season.
5. STEVE DOWNIE AND AKIM ALIU
Steve Downie and Akim Aliu were at each other’s throats from the beginning. The two players fought when they were both teammates for the Windsor Spitfires. Downie cross-checked Aliu during a practice and Aliu went after him. Aliu said in a interview “we’re here to play hockey it’s not part of the game or the team.”
To this day it’s not certain if they ever put their differences aside. Downie has 196 points in his career Aliu had three points in his NFL career. Fights happen in sports this one remains a mystery as to whether or not they’ve made peace with each other. It was always Downie’s job to drop the gloves with an opponent, but maybe someone forgot to tell him not do it with his own teammate.
4. TODD FEDORUK And JONI PITKANEN
Both players fought during a practice when they were teammates for the Philadelphia Flyers. They were on a losing streak when they should’ve been winning and their playoff hopes were in question. Todd Fedoruk said in a interview “this team’s lost its identity. We need to create an identity.”
Pitkanen was traded in July of 2007. It’s still not certain if these two guys ever made peace. Fighting in practice sometimes happens but when it distracts the team it’s never a good sign.
3. P.K. SUBBAN AND MAX PACIORETTY
Max Pacioretty and P.K. Subban were expected to be the leadership core of the Habs for years, but after Carey Price went down with a season ending injury in the 2015-16 season, the Habs’ locker room fell apart.
Tension had brewed so high that Pacioretty reportedly tried turning the whole locker room against Subban. Subban would reportedly miss team curfew, and would be late for meetings and it would cause a rift in the locker room. Pacioretty was trying to take matters into his own hands but shot down reports of him turning the locker room against Subban. When the Habs’ captaincy was vacant, one old teammate of Subban’s said he would ‘never’ be a captain for the team.
To this day there is still bad blood between Subban and the Habs. As for Pacioretty in a 2016 interview said “What do you want me to say? P.K. Subban came to my wedding. I think you guys are looking way too far into this.
2. BRANDON DUBINSKY AND BLAKE COMEAU
Both players played for the Columbus Blue Jackets in the lockout shortened 2013 season. They didn’t like each other from the start. They exchanged words during a practice then fought on the ice. It caused a distraction in the locker room as Comeau was traded in the 2013-14 season.
To this day there is still tension because one player had to leave for another team. No word got out if there were any fights in the locker room between the players besides the fight at practice. Coach Todd Richards said at the time “There was intensity in practice and some passion sometimes it bubbles over.” He was downplaying the fight so it wouldn’t become a distraction but it did. Clearly, one of them had to go.
1. ERIC LINDROS AND ROD BRIND’AMOUR
Much like the Shanahan/Janney story talked about earlier, this blowup extended from one player sleeping with the other’s wife. Lindros was the face of the Flyers franchise, but when Brind’Amour reportedly learned of the alleged affair, he didn’t hesitate in knocking Lindros down in the Flyers locker room. Since Lindros was their franchise player, the Flyers opted to keep 88 and trade Brind’Amour.
To this day the two former teammates don’t speak. Brind’Amour had 1,184 points in his career Eric Lindros had 865 points in his career. Cheating scandals are never good but in sports again they cause a distraction to the team.
Players, coaches and fans don’t need that it’s just for media so they can get a story. For a player to think that it won’t get out is obviously wrong.
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