The National Hockey League is home of the best hockey players in the world. Players from all over the globe showcase their skills in Canada and the United States.
As it is with any sports, there are a number of athletes who have attracted a lot of hatred towards them. Be it because of their off ice incidents, their dirty hits, diving or anything else, no one is loved by everyone.
Some of the NHL’s very best players are also the most hated. They just don’t earn love for any of their skills. It’s a pity, but part of the league.
There’s a popular phrase that “haters are going to hate.” And it’s true. The best athletes block out the negative stuff said about them and they just go out there and perform.
That’s the way to do it. And no matter how much you want to tell the world that you hate this player or that player, you just have to admit deep down inside that you want to have them on your team.
That’s natural. When do fans ever hate a great player on their own team? You learn to support them all the way and believe they can’t do anything wrong.
These NHL players have done nothing but perform at extreme heights, and they’re aware that they’ve earned a lot of haters.
But they also know that you need them on your team. They’re so good that you hate it and wish they were on your team.
With all of that aside, let’s take a look at the 15 NHLers that fans hate most but would love to have on their team on any day of the week.
15. The Sedin Twins
Daniel and Henrik Sedin are a classic case of superstars that are so good, you hate them.
Still, the Sedins have earned quite the number of enemies. Dave Bolland and Brad Marchand are just two of the players that hate the Twins.
Considering how slick their playmaking skills are and how much damage they’ve done to other teams, you hate how soft they are.
Yet, no matter how much your team roughs them up, they’ll keep cycling and scoring on you.
Yes, you want them on your team. You can’t deny it. Few duos have been so dynamic.
14. Jonathan Toews
When you’re the captain of the NHL’s best team, it’s easy to draw a lot of people who will never like you.
Jonathan Toews is the complete package in hockey. He leads. He scores. He wins. He does it all.
His competitive nature gets the best of him sometimes and he will throw fits when he is angry and nobody likes that in sports.
However, it can’t be denied how he’s the model NHL player that anyone would want to have. Toews has always played for a winner, be it the NHL or Winter Olympics. Hate him all you want, but he’s the top player many people would love to build their team around.
13. Matt Cooke
In my opinion, no player in the NHL has made himself more hated in history than Matt Cooke. His constant cheapshots and dirty hits have made him a villain among NHL fans.
But still, the thing is, it takes players like him to win the Stanley Cup. He was the player that the Pittsburgh Penguins needed to win the Stanley Cup in 2009. His fearless and grinding skills, plus his ability to score 20 goals, make him a tough player to play against.
Yes, I’m sure the only people who don’t hate him are Minnesota Wild fans, but lots of them must hate him from his Vancouver Canucks days.
High energy players are required for the playoffs. Few have the energy that Cookie possesses.
12. Dustin Brown
Brown started making a name for himself when the Los Angeles Kings captain single-handedly bullied the Vancouver Canucks in the 2012 playoffs, en route to the first-round upset and Stanley Cup championship.
As an undersized forward, Brown hits like few other NHL players. His leadership is incredible.
You hate him because his Kings probably dominate your team in the playoffs. It’s easy to see why. Can’t he just be on your team?
11. Carey Price
I have to be honest, Price hasn’t done much of anything to make himself a disliked player. He’s classy and simply a great player.
However, it’s easy to hate the best of the best in any sport. Price has emerged as the undisputed number one goalie in the NHL.
With success comes haters. This piece is dedicated to Boston Bruins fans. Just admit it, he’s beaten you twice in the playoffs. He has your number. You want him over Tuukka Rask as your goalie.
Every NHL team does.
10. Ryan Kesler
Kesler has made himself hated due to his attitude. He left the Vancouver Canucks after being an arrogant player in the locker room that wanted to leave. He’s a loud-mouth player who still hasn’t won a significant championship in his pro hockey career.
Still, the way he led the Vancouver Canucks to the Stanley Cup Final in 2011, and the Anaheim Ducks in last year’s Western Final, it’s easy to see why you hate him.
He constantly shuts down the best player on your team, which is frustrating. But he also is a player any team needs to have. Few men can score 20 goals and work hard enough to shut down the opponent’s best player.
9. Roberto Luongo
Hey look, another former Canuck.
Roberto Luongo was a great goaltender for the Vancouver Canucks. It is a shame that the fans and former coach John Tortorella ran him out of town.
That’s because he was the scapegoat on a team that underachieved in the playoffs. Luongo brought Vancouver its most dominant reign ever.
They made the the playoffs in five of six seasons with him. One Western Conference Campionship and two President’s Trophy titles. Don’t forget his two Olympic gold medals.
Now that the Canucks are fading into difficult times, it’s a reminder to their fans how much you miss him and need him on your team.
8. Phil Kessel
Kessel has begun to make himself more hated. Playing in the huge hockey market of Toronto, he made himself a laughingstock when former coach Carlyle said that Kessel wasn’t easy to coach.
Kessel has snapped whenever being asked by the media about it. Kessel hasn’t made friends with reporters and doesn’t seem to enjoy taking any of the blame for his team’s lack of success.
Still, a consistent 30-goal scorer with a wicked shot is someone you need to have on your team. If you don’t believe me, watch him and Sidney Crosby take off.
7. Milan Lucic
Lucic is one of the most despised players in the NHL. Playing as a power forward who has to bully his opponents is one thing.
But Lucic has been known to complain anytime he doesn’t get things his way. Fighting with a fan in his hometown made that clear.
However, like Dustin Brown, he’s someone you need for the playoffs. The power forward position is as weak as ever, and it’s guys like Lucic that keep Don Cherry pleased with the way hockey is played today.
A strong forward who can hit and score 20 goals is the old style of hockey. Not many of those exist. It’s time to respect Lucic for playing the ’70s’ way and wish he was on your team.
6. Brad Marchand
Marchand is just like Lucic. His pesky style and history of cheap hits has made him a target of being hated by opposing fans.
Why do you think the Bruins fans love him? He wins games. He can score in the clutch, is a huge hitter, and high energy player. He’s he ideal player any playoff team has to have.
Both him and Lucic are on here for the same reason, but there’s no denying their talents. Spending a lot of time in Vancouver, I can say with certainty that Canucks fans would love him to be on their team.
And they’re the ones who hate him most.
5. Dustin Byfuglien
Byfuglien isn’t quite as hated the way he was with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2010 when he scored seemingly every game winning goal by crashing the crease and running over goalies.
But still, he hasn’t been able to stop with the unnecessary hits. His humongous frame makes him a player that’s nearly impossible to play against.
Big Buff deserves some respect. He’s been a key part in turning around the Winnipeg Jets franchise as an elite defenseman. He has a history of coming up clutch in the playoffs and should be respected for it.
And yes, you need him to be on your team.
4. Sidney Crosby
Let’s get this one out of the way. Sid the Kid is the best hockey player in the world. Period.
Two gold medals. The Golden Goal. One Stanley Cup. A five-time All Star and two scoring titles with two Hart trophies on top of all that.
Like LeBron James in the NBA, it’s easy to see why anyone hates the best of the best. He’s always going to dominate your team. It’s what the best player does.
Crosby has earned a reputation as a whiner and diver. Debate all you want, but if your team could get him, you would not be the slightest bit upset.
3. P.K. Subban
Subban’s loud mouth and showing off ways have made him an easy target for fans to pick on and dislike.
But franchise and game-changing defensemen are almost as rare as flying pigs. Subban happens to be one of them.
His booming slapshot, slick defensive play and puck-moving skills have made him a key reason that Montreal has been a consistent playoff team that’s hard for anyone to play against.
Hate Subban all you want. But if you had to pick one defenseman to build your team around, you wouldn’t take many, if any, over him.
2. Alexander Ovechkin
Ovechkin, despite being the most dynamic scorer since the lockout, has brought a lot of disliked peers towards him due to his showboating.
And, like Crosby, the best players draw the most haters.
Six 50-goal seasons under his belt, one scoring title and three Hart Trophies. Ovechkin is one of the best players the NHL has ever seen and he is far from finished.
Every NHL team would love to have him on their team. A guy who does nothing but score and averages a point per game is rare in today’s NHL.
So yeah, put up with it. Your team needs a guy like him.
1. Patrick Kane
Kane may have been disliked by some, but not by as many as before the sexual assault allegations that came out in August.
Now that the incident is done with and Kane won’t be charged, he is clear of distractions. However, some NHL fans, like some Philadelphia Flyers supporters, haven’t given him the benefit of the doubt.
It could be a sign of jealousy. Kane is a top-10 NHL player. No one has his hands. Few match his skill. And no one has scored more clutch goals in the 2010s than he has.
Hate Kane all you want and bring up the allegations, but he’s busy with Jonathan Toews building on a successful dynasty in Chicago.
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