Chris Pronger and Steve Ott are the dirtiest players in the National Hockey League, according to a survey of their fellow players.
A Sports Illustrated poll of 324 players that is to appear in this week’s issue has Anaheim Ducks defenceman Pronger and Dallas Stars forward Ott in a tie, each chosen by 13 per cent of their peers.
Jarkko Ruutu of the Ottawa Senators was third at 12 per cent, with Sean Avery of the New York Rangers fourth at 10 per cent, followed by Scott Hartnell of the Philadelphia Flyers at five per cent.
Pronger, the Hart Trophy winner as the league’s most valuable player in 1999-2000, has been suspended eight times in his career.
During the 2007 playoffs alone, he was banned one game for a questionable hit on Detroit’s Tomas Holmstrom and got another game in the final for an elbow to the head of Ottawa’s Dean McAmmond. In March, 2008, Pronger was suspended eight games for stomping on the leg of Vancouver’s Ryan Kesler.
Ott’s most recent transgression was a one-game suspension for gouging the eye of Anaheim’s Travis Moen on March 1. With 35 minor penalties in 64 games, Ott had the highest ratio of penalties among those who played at least 50 games.
The pesky Ruutu was suspended two games in November for an elbow to the head of Montreal’s Maxim Lapierre, then got two games in January for biting the hand of Buffalo enforcer Andrew Peters during an altercation.
Avery dominated the poll last year with 24 per cent of the votes but missed much of this season when he was sent for counselling after making crude comments in Calgary about opponents dating his former girlfriends.
Hartnell, a power forward who likes to crowd the net, had 143 penalty minutes this season.