Over the years around the NHL, we have seen plenty of players that we as Penguins fans love to boo and heckle: Ron Hextall, Dale Hunter, Claude Lemieux, Eric Lindros, Adam Graves and so on. Currently speaking, there are opposing players around the league who the Penguins and their fans love to hate. Whether that player talked a bit more trash than he should have or maybe they are known for being a dirty player. On the other hand, there could have been a situation where the players are former Penguins who made decisions to move on not the best of terms. Here are the top five hated players that currently visit the Consol Energy Center
Zdeno Chara: Chara is one of the best shutdown defenseman in the NHL. Chara is also a schoolyard bully who plays with a serious edge to his game and won’t hesitate to show just how strong he is when pushed too far. At 6-foot-9, everything about the man is larger than life, from his shoulder pads to his overwhelming slap shot. In 2011 at the Bell Centre, Chara showed how strong he is when he drove Max Pacioretty into the stanchion at the benches. The end result, Pacioretty was stretchered off the ice. Chara and the Bruins contended it was a hockey play while anyone else that knows right from wrong saw a pro-wrestling, bush-league move. If your team has faced Chara in the playoffs, odds are you hate this man. The Pittsburgh Penguins are no exception to that rule. During the 2012-13 postseason, Chara continued his classless behavior when he sucker punched Sidney Crosby in the mouth who at the time was recovering from a broken jaw.
PK Subban: Subban is a mobile offensive defenseman, however, he’s brash and arrogant, which might work in a sport like the NBA. However, the culture in the NHL is to play hard, earn your respect and keep your mouth shut. Since entering the league, we have watched Subban become an immediate villain in the eyes of his peers for doing the exact opposite. During the 2010 season, Crosby and Subban had a few harsh words for each other and in the 2010 postseason, Subban’s skate blade severed a tendon in Jordan Staal’s foot. Subban could be a star in this league for years to come, however, the NHL isn’t big on flashy, selfish players as he has the characteristics of becoming the next Sean Avery.
Alexander Ovechkin: Ovechkin and Crosby have battled for supremacy since entering the league. However, Crosby has clearly claimed the title as best player in the NHL and internationally. Over the years, we have watched Ovechkin become reckless, throwing high hits into unsuspecting players and then there was the incident in 2009. In the Eastern Conference Semifinals, Ovechkin’s intentional knee-to-knee hit against fan-favorite Sergei Gonchar immediately made Ovechkin a villain in the eyes of Pens players and fans.
Scott Hartnell: To quote Reggie Dunlop, “a hundred bucks of my own money for the first of my guys who really nails that creep.” Scott Hartnell is exactly that, a creep. Hartnell over recent years has tried to impersonate a power forward while he is just a glorified grinder. Plenty of players could score 30 goals standing in front of the net playing on the same line with players such as Claude Giroux, Jaromir Jagr and Jacob Voracek. In a 2009 Matchup, Hartnell became most well known for supposedly biting defenseman Kris Letang during a scrum towards the end of the game. Letang came out of the scrum holding his hand and told the referee Hartnell bit him. Hartnell adamantly denied the incident ever taking place saying “a lot can happen” when players get tangled up. While he may be a fan favorite in Philadelphia, he is a total villain in Pittsburgh.
Jaromir Jagr: Last but certainly not least is Jaromir Jagr. Few players have ever earned such love and respect from a city as Jagr did with the Pens. It’s hard to believe that Jagr was able to wipe the slate clean after spending 11 years in a Penguins uniform. During the 2000-01 season, rumors swirled that Jagr bashed and publicly mocked current coach Ivan Hlinka. Furthermore, in July 2001, he demanded a trade out of Pittsburgh as friction between him and Lemieux became very apparent as he felt he should have been the captain, not Lemieux. What stung even more from this trade is that the Pens got absolutely nothing in return for Jagr. To pour more salt in the wound, number 68 returned to the NHL in 2011 after spending three seasons in Russia. For a moment, it seemed Jagr and Lemieux had a verbal agreement to reunite in Pittsburgh. However, Jagr, who was supposedly on a flight to Pittsburgh before free agency started, never showed up in the area. Instead, he signed with the Penguins’ most hated rival, the Philadelphia flyers, causing further resentment in a city who already despises him. During the 2012-13 postseason, Jagr who played for the Bruins practically lifted Evgeni Malkin off of his feet with a blatant hook that wasn’t called that led to a double overtime goal and an insurmountable 3-0 lead in the Eastern Conference Finals.