Burrows, Lapierre Qualify for SI’s Most Hated Players List

Photo Credit: VancouverNuck.tumblr.com

Sports Illustrated recently decided to put together a list of the 10 most hated NHL players. Well wouldn’t you know it, thanks to Maxim Lapierre and Alex Burrows, the Canucks find themselves rather well represented (though seriously, Ryan Kesler and former Canuck Matt Cooke got snubbed).

Read on past the jump.

The list is out of ten, and ranks PK Subban as the most hated NHL player. Which makes no sense to me. PK is exuberant and physical but more hated than Marchand (#3 on the list), Raffi Torres (#5) and Maxim Lapierre (#2)? Come on!

Anyway, Maxim Lapierre edges out Brad Marchand by – wait for it – a nose, and comes in at number two on the list. Lapierre at number two is complete robbery by the way, especially considering that he was named the player NHLers would most like to fight in a Sports Illustrated players poll last March. I’ll take the opinion of actual NHLers over this ad hoc list anyday. 

Lapierre’s entry includes a video of the Canucks grinder selling a spear from Zdeno Chara during game five on the Stanley Cup Final (Lapierre would go on to score the game winning goal, and be mocked by Scott Burnside about his reaction to the Chara spear postgame). Who knows if Lapierre legitimately embellished on that play – obviously he doesn’t really deserve the benefit of the doubt based on his reputation – but I’m pretty confident that a Zdeno Chara spear would hurt pretty damn badly.

Anyway here’s how Lapierre’s entry is captioned:

Mike Milbury called Lapierre a “punk” and said he “denigrates the game” after a series of incidents during the 2011 Stanley Cup Final. Lapierre has talent, but it seems like he works double-time to cover it up with his chirping and after-the-whistle contact. He might be the league’s premier hit-and-run artist, stirring the pot and leaving others on his team to pay the price.

Pretty funny stuff, though I wish more had been made of Lapierre’s chirping and I could’ve gone for fewer Mike Milbury quotes too.

See, Maxim Lapierre definitely plays on the edge, no doubt about that, but he’s mostly reviled because he never shuts up on the ice. This is nit-picking, but I think that’s what Lapierre’s entry needed to emphasize. An offhand mention simply doesn’t do enough to capture just how annoying other NHLers find Lapierre’s chirping.

Beyond that, he’s famous for being really uniquely bad at insulting people. For example, here’s what the LA Kings Twitter account said about Lapierre’s chirping during the playoffs a season ago:

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And here’s how Drew Doughty responded when the Mayor John Hoven asked him which one player he’d like to punch in the face the most:

"Definitely (Max) Lapierre. He’s chirping all the time and running me. Last game, after the whistle blew, he tried to take my knees out. He’s a dirty player. But, we knew that before the series and expected that. If he wants to keep running around taking penalties though, I’m quite fine with that.”

– How about the quality of Lapierre’s chirps, anything good? – “Nah, he doesn’t have any good ones. He’s a bad chirper. He doesn’t have it.”

I don’t mean to quibble too much with something like a "most hated player list", but it seems to me that you can’t even begin to talk about why Maxim Lapierre is "hated" without a singular focus on his shit-eating grin, and his word a minute chipring habbit.

Moving onto Burrows, here’s what they’ve got to say why he’s hated around the league:

Maybe it’s because he had to work his way up from the ECHL, but Burrows plays the game with a chip on his shoulder…not always the good kind. This is the guy who bit Patrice Bergeron’s finger during the Stanley Cup Final two years ago. He’s also the notorious diver who showed up referee Stephane Auger with a post-whistle smirk. Burrows has too much talent to resort to cheap tricks.

Wow taking Stephane Auger’s side, eh? That’s low. Also video of Mike Milbury again? Come on!

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Here’s my thing with Burrows. I know the biting incident gets brought up over and over and over again, but if we’re being honest it’s not that rare or unique (Derek Dorsett recently was accused of biting a guy, Marc Savard has been accused of it in the past too). It’s also not like Burrows grabbed Patrice Bergeron’s finger and knawed into it with a side of fava beans and a nice chianti, Bergeron was fishhooking him and Burrows responded by biting him. It’s a punk move (and an undisciplined one), but pretending that it’s an epic cheap shot isn’t something I’ve ever found compelling.

See, where I would attack Burrows for being cheap – which I wouldn’t do because moralizing doesn’t interest me, and also because BehindtheNet.ca doesn’t measure cheapshots per sixty – isn’t the hair-pulling, nor is it the biting and it’s not the diving either. Instead I’d point out that Alex Burrows has, over the years, gone for the family jewels on a couple of players. 

Here’s a crazy dangerous, uh, sack tap on Marc Staal:

Now that’s a serious dick move (heh). It’s that sort of thing, I think, that explains why Burrows is hated. The biting, that’s just a sideshow.

Just for fun, here’s Alex Burrows kneeing Duncan Keith in the balls in the aftermath of the Daniel Sedin hit. This one, by the way, is also cheap as hell but given the circumstances (and Keith’s unwillingness to answer the bell) was also completely called for:

Anyway enough of that. For as long as the Canucks have had a lethal power-play, they’ve also excelled at "jerk puck" (a game plan in which your pests play like jerks for the purposes of goading your opponent’s into taking penalties). Alex Burrows and Maxim Lapierre are critical to that type of "mental warfare" and most Canucks fans seem happy to have them. 

I also still think Maxim Lapierre was robbed…

Read the SI most hated list here.