As part of our Monday Meetup section, we discuss the “instigators” in the NHL. These are essentially players that lack the size and talent but contribute greatly to their respective teams. In fact, they more than make up for their lack of power and scoring skills on the ice. The struggle to reach the NHL is not easy for players of all levels. In fact, nearly all the current stars in the NHL have paid their dues in the minor and junior leagues to reach where they are today. However, some simply cannot compete with other players skills-wise – so they resort to other means of getting over. Here are some of the well-known instigators in the League – past and present – and a spotlight on some of their antics:
Darcy Tucker retired from active play in 2010. However, he was known for being one of the top instigators in the League. In fact, many of his antics would lead to fist fights with opponents on the ice. While he was not as verbal as Sean Avery – it was his borderline underhanded plays that would anger his opponents across the board. This included sly slashes and spears, along with the occasional illegal bump and push.
Sean Avery is perhaps the League’s No.1 agitator. In fact, he has been dubbed “The Agitator” because he loves to get under the opposition’s skin. Avery uses everything from verbal taunts to borderline penalty plays to piss of his opponents. He has also been known to disguise his slashes and spears to avoid the penalty box. Avery also shares this passion with fellow Dallas Star Steve Ott. The latter has been nicknamed “The Agitator Extraordinaire” by fans and hockey players alike.
Essa Tikkanen was also known to agitate opponents on the ice with flying kisses. While he retired in 1999, the former Washington Capital had the gift to annoy the opposition. This included the Great One, Wayne Gretzky and Jari Kurri. Here is a video clip of Tikkanen doing what he did best – agitate and instigate!
Brayden Schenn is known for his questionable hits and fierce attitude. The Flyer is a true agitator in every sense of the word. While Schenn is strong enough to go toe-to-toe with anyone in the League, it’s his underhanded tactics that have made him one of the biggest pests in the NHL today. Take a look at how Schenn has built his reputation for instigation and agitation!