Whether you are an athlete or part of any kind of team, you know the cliché “there is no I in team.” That saying is constantly repeated to you while you are a young developing athlete. This way while playing any sport you are used to be along a team player.
No matter the sport, if you aren't the only one on the field, rink or track you are part of a team. Like it or not, there are 20 teammates around wanting to win. You see it in any sport, there are players who are all about the team they are playing for their teammates. Players in hockey who would stick up for a teammate after a big hit or a pitcher in baseball throwing at an opposing playing because his pitcher threw at his teammate.
When you have teammates like that it is an overall better environment in the locker room. Not only that, the better the teammate the better the play. When you’re part of a team and you don’t have that cancer playing in the locker room it does wonders.
Then there are those cancerous players, who are just concerned with themselves. They are worried about a few things; their paycheck and how they look in the media.
Take for example New York Mets outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, the guy took himself out of a playoff game because he hurt his shoulder playing golf that morning. Cespedes just signed a contract with the Mets and now shows up to Spring Training in a different car every day.
When you deal with players like that you end up having some problems. However, so teams can rally around it.
The following is a list of some of the most self-centered players in the NHL who think they are the non-existent “I” in team.
15 Tim Thomas
The two-time Vezina Trophy winner (2009 and 2011) didn’t get named starting goalie of the Boston Bruins until the age of 32. He played a unique style of goaltending that made him different from any other goalie in the league.
Yet starting so late, Thomas is the only goaltender since Bernie Parent to win the Stanley Cup, the Vezina Trophy and the Conn Smythe all in the same season. So it is understandable as to why he may have an ego.
That ego was in full effect when he didn’t attend the Bruins White House visit in 2012. His excuse, “government has grown out of control.” This brought a lot of unwanted media attention to him and the franchise.
14 Evgeni Nabokov
Evgeni Nabokov makes an appearance in my “Top 15 NHL Players Who Disappear in the Playoffs” article. It was stated in the article that the goaltender was very successful in the regular season, yet, struggled in the postseason.
That's what makes it so confusing as to why this player could be all about himself. Could that be a reason for the postseason struggle?
In 2011 Nabokov’s ego was in full effect, as he got claimed off waivers by the New York Islanders. However, with the Islanders franchise still working on building a contending team, Nabokov was refusing to play for them.
Nonetheless, he put his ego aside played for the team and ended up signing a contract extension.
13 Ilya Bryzgalov
Is it surprising the first three on the list are goaltenders?
Ilya Bryzgalov started his career in Anaheim with the Ducks but has spent most of his playing career in Phoenix playing on the Arizona Coyotes.
His last two seasons in Arizona were the best of his of his career. Then he was shipped to Philadelphia where his career started to go downhill.
His “all about me ego” showed when rumors about the Coyotes moving to Winnipeg came up. He was quoted saying “If the team moved during my tenure I will not play there.”
Since this statement Bryzgalov has played for four different teams.
12 Jaromir Jagr
Sometimes a selfish nature will just emerge when a player is so immensely talented, and that was the case with Jaromir Jagr earlier in his career. While he now seems like that great big brother figure to have in a locker room, in his prime, Jagr was often seen as moody and selfish. Teams he played on often had to adjust to his style and needs, rather than the other way around.
Jagr lives the good life, as he was a young star beginning to make a lot of money, spent time in casinos, models and living the bachelor lifestyle to this day. Hey, just because he's selfish, doesn't mean we don't find him charming.
11 Alex Kovalev
Alexei Kovalev's attitude improved as he got older but there's no doubt there was a time when he was all about himself. There was the time he stayed on too long for a shift, so Mike Keenan kept him on the ice for seven minutes to teach the youngster a lesson. In the 2004 playoffs, Kovalev got a stick on the hand in overtime of a playoff game against Boston. His giving up on the play resulted in a goal.
Kovalev's overall play revolved around him having the puck on his stick as long as possible. Perhaps it was just the nature of his game and his talent, but it sure made him look like a selfish player.
10 Evander Kane
Evander Kane's attitude finally got the Jets fed up of him, even though he was a talented young player on a team that will never attract veteran free agents. Kane was seen flaunting his money around during the 2012 NHL lockout, clutching a wad of bills in Las Vegas at a time when fans were suffering without hockey. He didn't do much to change the notion that players are all about the money.
Winnipeg grew tired of his act and following an incident with his teammates last season, he was shipped off to Buffalo.
9 Alex Ovechkin
In the beginning of Alex Ovechkin’s career, under Bruce Boudreau, it seems as if he had an attitude problem. Ovechkin is an amazing hockey player, always was, but to start he was very lazy on the defensive side of the puck.
Early in his career he let his superstar status get to his head buy signing a ton of endorsement deals. In 2011 Ovechkin signed a six-year deal with Bauer he also signed deals with Nike and a deal with Gillette. Don’t forget the Russian Rap video he appeared in.
It seems as the years went on he started to concentrate on hockey. We thank you for that Ovie.
8 Alexander Radulov
He scored his first NHL goal on his first shot in 2006; he was a solid player for the Nashville Predators. However, it seemed like he was involved with the sport for the money and not the pride.
As soon as he got the chance to play elsewhere for more money he would jump.
In 2008 even though he was still under NHL contract with the Predators he signed another contract with Salavalt Yulaev UFA for a three-year deal. He left the Predators because he got a better deal.
He returned to the Predators in 2012 to play the rest of the regular season and playoffs. As soon as they lost, he left and went back to the KHL for more money.
7 Phil Kessel
Phil Kessel just likes to coast to his goal scoring, but never really makes an effort in all the other aspects of the game. During his time in the pressure cooker city of Toronto, Kessel ducked the media at times, and when he did speak to the media never divulged much. All this did was bring further distractions to the Maple Leafs.
When the going got tough in Toronto, Kessel got going, as he was a dreadful minus-34 last season, getting himself a trade out of Toronto to go to Pittsburgh.
6 Alexei Yashin
The New York Islanders traded Zdeno Chara, Bill Muckalt and their first-round draft pick – second overall – in 2001 to the Ottawa Senators, who drafted Jason Spezza, in return for Alexei Yashin. Yashin was quickly signed to a 10-year, $87.5 million contract by then GM Mike Millbury. However in 2005, the contract went down 24% with the newly signed CBA.
The deal would have ended at the end of 2011, but because Yashin was bought out by the franchise in June 2007, Yashin got paid up to the end of last season (2014-2015).
Worked out well for him, considering he played in the RSL and KHL for five seasons.
5 Eric Lindros
What is worse than a player saying he didn’t want to play for a team and completely refuse to? Well that is what Eric Lindros did in 1991 when he refused to play for the Quebec Nordiques, the team that drafted him that year. He even refused to wear the Nordiques jersey.
His agent came out and said he would do far better in Toronto or the States in endorsements. There were also rumors that he didn’t want to sign because he didn’t like French Canadians.
Being compared to be the 'next one' went straight to his head.
4 Alexander Semin
Another player who appeared in my playoff disappearing article, is another player that is all about himself. He is a very talented hockey player, yet, that is when he wants to be, which is one of the reasons he never reached his true potential.
Semin put up good numbers in the regular season but struggled in the postseason. Washington had enough with his attitude and didn’t re-sign him. That didn’t stop the Carolina Hurricanes from picking him up, or the Montreal Canadiens the year after. However, when Semin's ego got in the way of him getting sent to the Canadiens' AHL team, the Habs terminated his contract.
3 Dany Heatley
Dan Heatley will forever be known as the hockey player who got away with murder, so to speak. Heatley crashed his Ferrari 360 Modena with his Thrasher teammate Dan Snyder in the car (2003). Snyder would eventually pass away six days later. Heatley was sentenced to three years probation and had to give 150 speeches on the dangers of speeding.
Heatley demanded a trade to Ottawa from the Thrashers and then in 2009 he requested to be traded from the Senators for being unhappy.
He has solid numbers in the NHL, although his numbers plummeted in his final couple of seasons.
2 Ilya Kovalchuck
Another NHL star who never reached full potential because of his laziness. Playing for the Thrashers and the New Jersey Devils, Kovalchuck was never concerned with his defensive game.
The biggest controversy with Kovalchuck was the 15-year, $100 million deal he signed with the Devils in 2010 and the original deal resulted in the Devils circumventing the salary cap, costing them a draft pick.
The biggest kick in the face to the Devils and the NHL was when Kovalchuck retired two years into the deal to go play in the KHL.
He was recently in the hockey news of losing his captaincy and being scratched from the playoff lineup. I guess the attitude follows you everywhere.
1 Sean Avery
A player you loved to have on your team but hated to play against. That is what Sean Avery’s about. Just ask Martian Brouder.
Believe it or not Avery was part of a Stanley Cup winning team in 2001-02 with the Detroit Red Wings. However, he did not play the required 41 games or in the playoffs so his name is not on the cup.
When he came to the New York Rangers no matter how cancerous he was the team seemed to win while he was in the lineup.
In 2008 Avery signed a four-year, $15.5 million contract with the Stars. In December of 2008 he was suspended for six-games following his “sloppy seconds” comments and February 2009 he was placed on waivers and returned to the Rangers.