In the NHL there are a handful of players that you love to have on your team but hate to play against.
Not many NHL fans may admit it, but they probably cringe a little when they see these players score a nice goal, win a playoff series or the Stanley Cup.
Even though sometimes we may not agree with their style of play or antics, away from the ice, some these players may be the nicest people you’ll ever meet.
With that said, let’s take a look at five players who should be considered the most annoying to play against in the NHL today.
Ryan Kesler – Anaheim Ducks
Ryan Kesler is a very easy player to hate, especially if you are not an Anaheim Ducks’ fan. He is a hard-nosed player who is often seen going after the opposing team’s best players and trying to get them off their game.
During his days with the Vancouver Canucks, he was reportedly at the top of the NHL’s embellishment list, in NHL rules meetings.
His style of play has even gotten on the nerves of many players around the NHL, including Ryan Johansen. The Nashville Predators’ center voiced his displeasure during last year’s playoffs and had some harsh words about Kesler’s play.
“His family and friends watching him play, I don’t know how you cheer for a guy like that. It just doesn’t make sense how he plays the game. I’m just trying to go out there and play hockey, and it sucks when you have to pull a stick out of your groin after every shift.
Another part of Kesler’s game that doesn’t sit too well with others, is his unwillingness to engage in too many fights when challenged. Perhaps it’s part of his strategy to agitate his opponents and let them come away with the penalty.
Why you may tolerate Ryan Kesler:
Kesler plays the game hard, rarely takes a shift off and will do everything in his power to help his team win. He usually takes on the toughest matchup assignments and can be counted on to shut down the other team’s best players.
At 6’2″ and 202lbs, Kesler is not a small guy and can physically match up against anyone. He is an elite-two-center, who knows how to get under people’s skin but does it in a subtle way that doesn’t cost his team too many penalties.
Antics aside, you would probably love to have a player like that on your side, as he competes each and every night and leaves everything on the table.
Brad Marchand – Boston Bruins
Ever since entering the NHL, Brad Marchand has embraced the agitator role and has slowly become a huge part of the Boston Bruins’ franchise.
However, Marchand has a rich history of questionable antics and has been suspended multiple times in his career. He goes overboard from time to time and is an elite pest who can get under the skin of any opponent.
On top of that, he sometimes shows little remorse for his wrongdoings.
One of the most frustrating things for many is that Marchand has the elite skill to hurt you on the scoreboard as well.
He is coming off a career-year with the Boston Bruins scoring 39 goals, and 85 points, and finished in the top-five in scoring. Marchand has proved that he has the talent to be an elite scorer in NHL, which makes many believe he doesn’t need to play the way he does.
Sometimes it’s interesting to imagine if the Boston Bruins’ fans could tolerate Marchand if he wasn’t a Boston Bruin……
Why you may tolerate Brad Marchand:
He is an elite skilled pest, possessing vision with the puck and is a very talented offensive player. Marchand has breached the 20-goal plateau six times in his career and has averaged 31 goals in his past four seasons with the Boston Bruins.
Marchand has the ability to deliver in the clutch and has scored some very big goals for the Boston Bruins in the past.
He is also very effective in getting under other people’s skin and can help swing the momentum into your team’s favor each and every night.
Matthew Tkachuk – Calgary Flames[embedded content]
As an 18-year-old coming into the NHL, Matthew Tkachuk has quickly embraced the villain role and was a very effective player for the Calgary Flames last season.
Having only played one season, Matthew Tkachuk has already made a name for himself as one of the new up-and-coming skilled agitators in the NHL.
For one, he looks like he genuinely enjoys stirring the pot each and every night. He is often found in the middle of scrums between whistles and is not afraid to get into the dirty areas.
He parks himself in front of the net and does a good job disrupting opposing goalies.
Tkachuk finishes his checks often, and he plays on the edge. He isn’t afraid to give the other team some attitude if he feels it can give his team an advantage.
Matthew Tkachuk was the 11th most penalized player in the NHL in 2016/17, with 105 penalty minutes in 76 games played.
Why you may tolerate Matthew Tkachuk:
Quite frankly, many teams around the NHL would love to have a guy like Matthew Tkachuk on their roster. He is an old school hard-nosed player, with an edgy game.
With the enforcer role nearly extinct, he is a new archetype in today’s game that gives the Calgary Flames some sandpaper and a source of intimidation in their lineup.
It is rare for a young player to have such courage to not really back down from anyone. Tkachuk gives an honest effort each and every night and makes the Calgary Flames a more difficult team to play against.
He is not the biggest guy (6’1″, 195lbs) but is a very strong player who can protect the puck and help his team keep possession in the offensive zone.
Tkachuk looks to be a solid top-six forward and a perennial 20-goal scorer in the NHL for years to come. He finished his rookie season with an impressive 48 points in 76 games and should eclipse those numbers in the 2017/18 season.
Antoine Roussel – Dallas Stars
He may not show up on the scoresheet every night but he plays a huge role for the Dallas Stars.
Roussel plays the game with a high amount of intensity and is often seen running his mouth, and ticking off Opposing teams. He just has a way of instigating opponents and always does it with a smirk on his face.
Sometimes I am curious to hear what he actually says to other players to get them so riled up.
In a sense, Roussel plays the agitator role quite well, as he always tries to lure opposing players to go into the penalty box with him. Often times, he doesn’t just go after anybody, he picks his spots and goes after big impact players to help his team win the tradeoff.
At times, he is known to deliver some pretty heavy slashes as well, which adds to the many reasons why Roussel is one of the most annoying players to play against in the NHL.
If you are a Dallas Stars’ fan you may appreciate Antoine Roussel for several reasons. He helps your team draw penalties, is all over the ice on the forecheck and doesn’t shy away from the physical play.
He is a high energy player with a decent amount of skill to keep up with the more talented players around him. Roussel’s rambunctious style is often contagious and opens up space for his linemates on offense.
He can be used in multiple situations and is a reliable penalty killer, and most importantly not a liability on the ice. You can always count on Roussel to give his opponents a tough time every time he is on the ice.
Off the ice, as this story shows, he can be a very nice guy with a good heart. Which probably means he is also a good locker room guy that helps keep the team morale up through the grind of a tough 82-game season.
Andrew Shaw – Montreal Canadiens
Andrew Shaw is only listed at 5’11” and 179lbs but he plays a lot bigger than his size. He is often counted on to provide physical play and is not afraid to get into anyone’s face.
In the offensive zone, Shaw is often seen crashing the opposition’s net for loose pucks and sometimes runs through the goalie to try to score a goal.
He is a scrappy player that never seems to shut up on the ice, and is arguably the biggest trash talker in the NHL today.
Shaw is a very emotional player and sometimes he lets it get the best of him, resulting in some unnecessary penalties.
In an interview, Andrew Shaw described himself as a “rat” and an “agitator” on the ice.
That alone should give you a good indication of what type of player he is on the ice.
Why you may tolerate Andrew Shaw:
There are so many things to love about Andrew Shaw, especially if he plays on your team. Just ask Chicago Blackhawk fans and they can tell you all about number 65.
Andrew Shaw is a versatile player who can play all three positions and is very useful on the powerplay by causing a lot of havoc in front of the net.
He never hesitates to stick up for a teammate and is a major presence on the ice with his grit and tenacity.
It was rather evident that the Chicago Blackhawks missed some of that sandpaper in their lineup last year, after trading Shaw to the Montreal Canadiens.
He was fan favorite in Chicago and has quickly become one of the most liked players in Montreal.
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Source : https://realsport101.com/news/sports/nhl/5-annoying-nhl-players-face/