Great idea over at thepensblog.com as an homage to the Mount Puckmore series over at Puck Daddy - Mount Dirtymore! A collection of cheap shot artists, pricks, and whiners. The post got me thinking about the dirtiest Oilers of all time - or at least in my recollection - which would be somewhere around the early 80's to today. The rules are quite simple, as they are mine! The player had to be a dirty Oiler, proudly wearing the blue and orange on his elbow, and the player, at some point in his Oilers career, had to make me personally cringe at the thought that I was cheering for this player as a member of the Oilers.
Many players to consider over the years but honestly, it was quite easy for me to pick four off the top of my head.
Before getting to the top four though, here are my runner ups, starting with perhaps one of the dirtiest players the league has ever seen - Chris Pronger.
Pronger has been suspended on several occasions for delivering elbows to the heads of his opponents. Prongers defence is that his elbows are at head level to these players as he is a freakishly lanky 6'6" bastard. That doesn't expalin his suspension for stomping his stake blade on Ryan Kessler a few years back. On top of the physical assaults, he a prick too. Pronger would probably make my list as one of the top four dirtiest in the league, but for the life of me, I can't remember him doing anything really noteworthy in this regard as a member of the Oilers.
Brown was truely an enforcer. A feared fighter who could do little else on the ice. One of the craziest fighters the NHL has ever seen. I once saw Brown fighting a Calgary Flame (who I can't remember the name of). He knocked the player over backwards and got pulled down on top of him. The Flame, in a terribly unfortuante position, was helpless to defend himself. Brown raised his fist, hesitated, as if to think, "I shouldn't do this", and then proceded to do it anyway, landing several solid punches square to the face of his prone opponent. A saw him interviewed after the game and he basically said he thought the Flames player would do the same to him were the situations reversed. Brown was suspended for 15 games one season for breaking the jaw of Tomas Sandstrom with a crosscheck - but he did this as a member of the Flyers - so no dice.
A lot like Brown. Good enforcer for the Oilers but his claim to dirty fame comes as a Boston Bruin whislt trying to get Donald Brashear's attention. Again, no dice.
I remember thinking that Dave Manson was a dirty player that always got away with being dirty....and I liked it. His signature move was to let the rushing player get a step past him and then deliver a quick jab to the face (disguising it as some sort of clean takedown I presume - because he did it alot). In today's NHL it would not fly, but back in the beginning of the clutch and grab era, it was cool. Manson was a little dirty - but not sensational at it!
Anderson was a fearless and reckless player. He took many a goalie into the net while driving hard off the boards. I can recall kicking and stick swinging incidents with Anderson, and a search of his name and "dirty" on google finds plently of anecdotal evidence. He was suspended for 8 games for highsticking Jet's Dave Silk in the ear. He was also fined for breaking Tomas Sandstroms check with a punch while having his knuckles on his right hand taped (the fine stood, even though Anderson clocked him with a left. And, as mentioned above in the Dave Brown section - Sandstrom had a bit of a glass jaw)
Now, with those behind us, onto my top 4:
#4. Ken "the rat" Linesmen
One of the great nicknames in professional hockey, known both for his pest like demeanor on the ice, and, as I've heard, his penchant for conducting post game interviews with his towel a little too loose. Ken Linesman was a dirty hockey player. He was convicted of assault for kicking a player in the head while still in junior, and involved again in a kicking incident while with the Flyers. He also bit his former Edmonton teammate Lee Fogolin on the face. Fogolin needed a tetnus shot, probably because he told doctors he was bitten by a rat. (Folgolin broke Linesmans nose later in the game in retaliation.) As an Oiler, Linesman was a good player, producing at about a PPG clip in his first 2 season go 'round. He makes the list for memorably fighting Dean Kennedy of the Kings under the stands after they were sent off the ice for unsportsmanlike conduct. Apparantly not thinking he had done enough to earn the penalty, Linesman proceeded to hit Kenedy in the face with his stick, and then slam his head into the concrete floor.
#3. Dwayne Roloson
Dirty comes in all shapes and sizes. Not one to bash opponets heads off concrete, Roloson makes the grade for bashing lumber off balls. Roloson, a good goalie - and nearly a legend in Edmonton if not for the Game 1 injury of the 2006 SCF - is also a bit of a prick. I'm guessing his antics were not well liked by many of his teammates, opponents, or officials. Constant whining, delaying of the game, and being all tough in his $5000 suit of armour, made Roloson difficult to like as a person, and sometimes as a player. But this, is why I, as a human being with testicles, put Roloson on the dirty list.
#2. Mark Messier
The words Mark Messier and Elbow will forever be intertwined. Messier, one of the greatest Edmonton Oilers, and NHL players, of all time, was dirty. If Steve Downie had the skill of Mark Messier he'd have an NHL award named after him. Messier leveled many an opponent with a high elbow. Just ask Rick Nattress, Vladamir Kovin, Musil, DeGray. Should have been suspended several more times in his career but looks to have gotten the star treatment, Messier was a dirty beast of a player.
#1. Bryan Marchment
One of my happiest days as an Oiler fan was the day Marchment was traded away - I couldn't stand him. And what a trade it was.....Bryan Marchment and 2 first round picks for Roman Hamrlik and Paul Comrie! (OK, doesn't sound that great until you realize that those 2 first rounders were Steve Kelley and Jason Bonsignore). Marchment (pronounced marsh-mon - which is French for deliberate attempt to injure), is one of the dirtiest I've ever seen. Suspended 13 times in his first 12 seasons, Bryan Marchments dirty hits (typically to the knees) injured Modano, Nieuwendyk, Bure, Gartner, Karia, Clark, and others. You can see he liked to take out the other teams best players. Some of his "best" work can be found here, here, and you can see what former teammates thought of him here. Fittingly, Marchment ended his career as a Calgary Flame - which makes my hatred of this former Oiler much more palatable.
So, there you have it - my list of the dirtiest Oilers of my time. I'm sure there were others that I've missed out on. My recollections of the dynasty Oilers is not as good as many. I never saw them play live as a group. I watched Messier drop an unsuspecting Zdeno Cigar off a faceoff as a member of the Canucks, and witnessed nearly all of Roli's antics as an Oiler, but there are many others out there who could add to this list I'm sure.
Interesting note about my list, Anderson, Linseman, and Messier were linemates in 1983-84.....jeesus, keep your heads up against those guys!