People have the right to dislike Lemieux all they want. The point is, Detroit Red Wings fans are quick to embrace players with a checkered past. Or look past transgressions they commit as Wings and then make some sort of justification. Bottom line is, yeah, Lemieux was dirty beyond dirty. At least he would stand up for himself and fight his own battles, unlike a lot of Wings players. Lets take a look at some our past favorites:
1. Dino Ciccarelli - January 6, 1988, in a game played at Maple Leaf Gardens, Ciccarelli attacked Maple Leafs defenceman Luke Richardson with his stick. As a result of this incident, Ciccarelli was convicted of assault, fined $1000.00, and sentenced to one day in jail. Dino was a noted stickman, was not afraid to give a cheap shot. He also started a bench clearing brawl while with the North Stars, in which everyone fought except for him. Oh wait, scratch that, he took on noted pugilist Denis Savard.
2. Todd Bertuzzi - On March 8, 2004, Bertuzzi retaliated to a Steve Moore hit on Markus Näslund in a previous game by sucker-punching him from behind late in the third period. Moore suffered a broken neck after being knocked unconscious.
3. Vladimir Konstantinov – One of the most hated players during his day. Not afraid to use the stick, hit a knee, or hit from behind.
4. Viacheslav Fetisov - While with New Jersey took out Wendel Clarks knee in 1989. Clark missed part of the 1989-90 season with a partial tear of the MCL in his right knee.
5. Joe Kocur – fractured the jaw and orbital bone of New York Islander Brad Dalgarno during a fight in 1988.
6. Bob Probert – suspended numerous times for headbutting (Bob Mcgill, Sandy McCarthy) sucker punches (Vincent Riendeau) elbowing (Denis Chasse). Also had a memorable stick fight with another former Red Wing, Bob Rouse.
7. Kirk Maltby – one of the most hated players in all of the NHL during his career. Always ran his mouth, never backed it up.
8. Chris Chelios – the Brian Propp incident I already posted. Countless others. There is a 2 hour DVD in circulation that consists ONLY of Chelios cheap shots and dirty plays.
9. Derian Hatcher – suspended two games while with Dallas for punching Jeff Finaly in the head, suspended 7 games for leaving his feet to hit Jeremy Roenick in the head, breaking his jaw with an elbow in 1999. Suspended 3 games for an illegal hit while with the Red Wings. Suspended 10 games in 1991 for a stick swinging incident with, surprise Dino Ciccarelli!
10. Greg Stefan – 1982 gets in a stick fight with Minnesota’s Willie Plett. Uses his stick like an ax over Pletts neck. Suspended 8 games.
GORDIE HOWE! Famous for his elbows and paybacks! Punched Lou Fontinato in the face so hard his nose was turned on a right angle!
Honorable mentions– Sean Avery (NHL’s most hated player) Tiger Williams (all time PIM leader) Harold Snepsts (as cheap as they come) Ulf Samuellsen (ended careers with knee checks, including Cam Neely) Wendel Clark (never to shy for a sucker bunch, hit from behind. Sat on Bob Brookes chest and pounded his face with punches) Stu Grimson, Tomas Sandstrom, Mel Bridgeman, Gerard Gallant, Lee Norwood,
I could go on and on. Point is, fans would have loved Lemieux if he played here. What he did was 15 years ago, it didn’t happen to anyone on this board, the players are over it, so why do people continue to play keyboard warriors and wonder aloud, “who is gonna punch him first”. Seriously?
(by the way, i liked all the players i listed above!)