Hockey Top 7: Players I Love to Hate
7. Jaromir Jagr (Omsk Avangarde, KHL). Jari making my top 7 list in players I love to hate should say something. Now, for those who know me, they know I absolutely LOVE Jaromir Jagr. He’s my all-time favorite hockey player. He was in my first hockey game ever when I was taken to see the DC Caps vs. Boston Bruins back in 2001.
He was in my 2nd hockey game ever when I was sitting in Madison Square Garden for my first New York Rangers game (I had no idea he was on the NYR at the time). So yeah…Jaromir is my all-time favorite.
Now, Jari falls onto this list because for the past few months he’s been making me very mad with his desire to steal away NHLers from North America to get them to sign in the KHL.
When I saw that he was talking about having Michael Nylander go over to Omsk Avangarde, that, to me, was gonna cause a fight. When I read that he wanted the rules changed in the KHL that allows for more non-Russians on KHL teams, I wanted to punch him. Sure, that last one is all dandy, if he wasn’t really suggesting that the KHL persuade more NHLers over there.
Now, I don’t like the thought of having to travel 13 hours on a non-stop flight into a territory that may withhold my passport from me if I don’t bribe the officials to get out of their country. I don’t like the thought of moving to a country that’s just too cold for my liking. Visit…ok…but move there to cover the game of hockey…not on my list of things to do in this lifetime anytime soon.
Really, I was hoping Jagr would come back to the NHL to play out his final years. When I read about his pro-KHL stuff (and after all the problems the NHL has been having with the KHL), it really saddens and disappoints me that this is the guy…this is the player that is my all-time favorite. To me, it’s like reading Benedict Arnold’s works on betraying his country.
I see all of Jagr’s pro-KHL as anti-NHL and that just doesn’t settle well with me. It’s that feeling in the pit of your stomach that makes you feel like this guy is betraying everything you stand for…and he’s my all-time favorite hockey player. Just a harsh and not-pretty reality.
I’ve already forgiven him over that other NHL/NYR stuff I’m not supposed to know about, but I am still mad at him for that stuff he pulled on Aaron Ward (Carolina Hurricanes).
6. Jesse Boulerice (UFA). This man has serious anger management problems. Not such a nice guy when he cross-checks a player across the face.
5. Chris Simon (Vityaz Chekhov, KHL). Well, thank God he’s in the KHL and not the NHL. Simon was delivered up a long suspension after whacking Ryan Hollweg across the face with his stick. He almost had criminal charges brought up over the incident. It was a bad situation that made national news.
4. Steve Downie (Philadelphia Flyers/Tampa Bay Lightning/Norfolk Admirals). Steve Downie is a bad boy and has it written all over him. Just read his Wikipedia definition and you’ll find a long list of NHL, AHL and OHL suspensions that go all the way back to when he was 16-years old.
Downie is that kid you hate to see getting in a brawl with your team. He fights dirty.
3. Sean Avery (New York Rangers). The first thing you learn in your rookie season after the NHL has let you in is that if you HATE Sean Avery, you have it made in the NHL. Now, I’ve tried to like him. I really have. But then he’ll do something that makes me want to punch his lights out…that is, if another player hasn’t done it for me already. His teammates are always apologizing to me for his behavior, telling me not to take what he says seriously, because if I do, it will really hurt me. Now, why am I standing in a visiting team’s locker room being told this by a bunch of men I don’t even know? Yes, the player Michelle Kenneth LOVES to HATE…it’s personal.
Believe it or not, our love to hate each other stems from a single night not too long ago when Avery was a NYR the first time around and I was standing outside of MSG with a bunch of friends. Avery was on IR recuperating from wrist surgery, so that meant he had been upstairs in the nosebleeds drinking with a bunch of fans. When he came out of MSG, drunk off his ass, he started signing autographs for the fans.
My friend wanted his autograph, so I stood there with her while I was holding her bag. She had the book opened to the page for Sean to sign. While he was signing everything, I noticed that Sean was looking right at me. He wasn’t even paying attention to what he was doing and ended up signing some kid’s hat twice. When he realized what he had done, he said to the kid, “I already signed this.” The kid said, “I know.” Sean then yelled at him, “THEN GET IT THE FUCK AWAY FROM ME!” [The kid is innocent in the matter, he was just holding the hat in his hands when Sean took it away from him.]
I was in shock that Sean would yell at a kid like that! He had to have been 9 or 10 years old.
So Sean started making his way down and kept coming up to me to sign something. I kept saying, “Sean, I really don’t want your autograph.” This is Sean we’re talking about, so you know he didn’t believe me.
He tried to sign something for me twice…but I had nothing for him to sign. Really…I can live without Sean’s autograph. He went through the entire line of fans and came right back up to me.
Now, I had been sitting in the front row during the game wearing my brand new white Harry Levine coat. Couldn’t miss me at all.
So since I offered up nothing, Sean tried to sign my brand new white coat. Now, Mr. Fashionisto should know better.
If you want to see me flare up in anger in less than .05 seconds flat…try signing my brand new white coat (that I’ve spent the last 4 years looking for) with a Sharpie. That coat cost me $300 (and that was the SALE price)…do you think I want anyone’s autograph on it?
Sean saw me flare up in anger with that look like I was getting ready to beat the crap out of him, so he backed off and walked away…shaking his head in disbelief like, “What just happened?”
Yep…this fashionista wanted NADA to do with Avery. And Avery learned that the hard way.
This wasn’t the only time. I used to sit in the front row and would every now and again find my attention on Avery talking to the guys on the other team. I was trying to read his lips to figure out what he was saying to them. Avery once caught me watching him and stopped and smiled really big at me. My response…I rolled my eyes and looked the other way. [I know Shanny witnessed that one, because he had to turn around to see who I was rolling my eyes at.]
It wasn’t until the real brush off that Avery took the hint…and what has followed…well, it hasn’t been pretty and it may have involved a few too many players trying to protect my honor. Even guys that I don’t even know…oh, they know who I am. The last time that little jerk said something…let’s just say I remember the look on everyone’s faces. So when I casually mention to a player that it would be nice to see a brawl with Sean, they are more than happy to oblige.
But I will say this…I will always love Sean as a fashion writer and a fashionisto, but as a hockey player…ummmm….NO.
2. Todd Bertuzzi (Detroit Red Wings). If you don’t know about the Steve Moore incident, you should Google it. It’s a lengthy ordeal that ended with Steve Moore being injured to the point of never being able to play hockey again. It’s a horrible sight to see.
When Dominic Moore was playing for the NYR, I’d see Steve walking around Madison Square Garden. You always feel bad for that guy. His career was ended at the hands of Todd Bertuzzi.
Bertuzzi is in a league of his own. He’s the player we all love to hate.
1. Patrick Kane (Chicago Blackhawks). So Pat was this poster child of goodness and everything sweet in Chicago.But everything headed downhill back home in Buffalo, New York over the summer when a problem with paying a cab fare and not getting his twenty cents in change led to Kane and his cousin beating the crap out of an old man that was old enough to be their grandfather. Pat repeatedly hit the old man yelling, “Do you know who I am?” Well, if he didn’t at the time, now he does. Patrick Kane will forever be known as “20 Cent” after this mess. I’m sure the Blackhawks will find a lot of dimes being thrown at their once upon a time superstar. Kane got off with a slap on the wrist, but lost a lot of respect across the NHL. I mean…how do we respect a young kid that beats the crap out of an old man over twenty cents?
[HONORABLE MENTION: Dany Heatley (Ottawa Senators?). Oh how Heatley has been putting a lot of heat under the NHL fans across the league. Will Heatley be traded? Where's the love for the Senators?
Heatley has a history for burning his bridges. Just ask the Atlanta Thrashers how they feel about Heatley.
Heatley's history is filled with regrets, shame and guilt. After being the responsible party in a severe car accident that killed his good friend and teammate, Dan Snyder, Heatley has seen 3 years of probation, a trade out of Atlanta (which Snyder's father said that Heatley should not have done after all the Thrashers did for him), and now he's asking for a trade away from the Senators?
I put a question mark there because it looks like Heatley has no idea what he wants. Heatley filed a request for a trade on June 9, 2009 after fulfilling only one year on a 6-year contract extension for the Senators stating his unhappiness with the team/coaching staff (after putting up some of the worst numbers). With what appeared to be a deal to the Edmonton Oilers on his $7.5M/year contract, Heatley refused to waive his no-trade clause.
Heatley has a way of pissing people off in the NHL. Really...who wants to love this guy when he makes hating him about the easiest thing in the world to do?
Heatley tops the list this summer for most people in the NHL, right alongside Patrick Kane's 20 cent bit.]