Recognizing players on your own team as dirty is a tough thing to do.
You have to go through every stage of denial.
This Mount Dirtymore was a challenge, which is why it was interesting.
As an homage to Puck Daddy's
popular Mount Puckmore
series, we wanted to do some Penguins-centric Mounts.
This might be the only one we do, or it might not.
This one is Mount Dirtymore, where we recognize the dirtiest players to put on a Penguins uniform in the past 20-some years.
The rules for getting a spot on Mount Dirtymore were simple:
1.) The player had to do dirty stuff while in a Penguin uniform
2.) Their first name couldn't have a Z in it
3.) And we personally had to have seen them play
That's the best part of making up your own rules.
So Dave Schultz and Krzysztof Oliwa
Players in the running for Mount Dirtymore that didn't make the cut were:
Jarkko Ruutu — Not dirty while in a Pens uniform, just a pain in the other team's ass.
He knows how to get under the opponent's skin.
He's exhibited his intelligence in this role on numerous occasions.
The fact that you laugh when you think of some of Ruutu's antics further validates this.
Remember when he just held his stick in front of Jagr's face at the faceoff? Hilarious.
Searching "jarkko ruutu d" doesn't even bring back "dirty" as a Google search suggestion.
This Google thing turned out to be an accurate barometer for our Mount Dirtymore.
It would've been easy to put Kaspar on the Mount and just say he's tough and shit and a scrapper.
But we have higher standards.
Was Matthew Barnaby a dirty hockey player? Yes and no. He was a yapper and a grinder.
He probably did some dirty shit. But he mostly went out looking for straight-up fights.
Just because he was fighter doesn't mean he should be labeled as dirty.
When he hit someone, he stayed around to see if one of the guy's teammates wanted to fight him.
Would've been another easy guy to throw on the Mount. But it would not have been warranted.
We spent a decent amount of time going through the Pens year by year.
Marty McSorley didn't do anything as a Penguin.
Rick Tocchet and Kevin Stevens weren't dirty. Too busy scoring goals.
There's also a propensity to name defensemen such as Orpik and Boughner as dirty players.
They're physical defensemen who are doing their jobs.
The instances where they "cross the line" come about because an opponent doesn't know how to play along the boards.
We opened this up for debate on Twitter on Tuesday, pleading for someone to throw Crosby off of Mount Dirtymore.
But it could not be done.
So, how can Crosby be on this over someone like Barnaby or Ruutu? Just imagine if Barnaby or Ruutu had the scoring touch that someone like Kevin Stevens had. Barnaby and Ruutu's reputations as scrappers and agitators are prevalent because they're not put onto the team to score goals. They're brought on for a reason, so any physicality they engage in simply becomes that much more magnified, and they somehow gain the "dirty" label.
"I'm not going to say I'm a clean player," he says, "because I'm not. But I don't think I've ever intentionally tried to hurt someone—unless I got hurt myself. Then I like to get even."
Is it unfair to Ulf Samuelsson that the first thing people think about when they hear his name is the Cam Neely deal?
No. It isn't unfair at all. It's warranted.
BOOM. Even spelled his name wrong. Google knows.
Three quick instances of some Ulf plays in that clip.
Two of which were under the magnifying glass of Conference and Cup Finals.
Just imagine the shit that took place amidst 82-game seasons.
We're not blasting Ulf here, nor are we blasting anyone else on Mount Dirtymore.
Just have to call things as you see it.
Ulf didn't give a shit about anyone or any rules. He was out to kill. That, to us, in theory, is a great thing.
We uncovered a fantastic article to tie into Ulf being on Mount Dirtymore.
It is an absolute quote factory. If you read nothing else today, read that article.
"If they had a poll of players, he'd win as the dirtiest player in the league," said forward Bernie Nicholls, then of the Edmonton Oilers, after he was ejected from a preseason game last fall for getting into a stick-fencing contest with Samuelsson. "Nobody else is close. I hate the guy."
And you know what Ulf's response was?
"I really don't care," said Samuelsson when told Nicholls's sentiments. "That's my job. If I can make a highly skilled player like that want to whack me instead of concentrating on getting a good shot, that's half the battle. Obviously I got under his skin pretty good."
How great is that? It gets better, though.
"His job is to hurt people," said Minnesota North Star center Mike Modano during the 1991 Stanley Cup finals. "He goes for the knees a lot. He takes runs at you, and really all he's trying to do is hurt you and knock you out of the game."
Wow. It is such a surprise it took Modano this long to play for the Red Wings. What a baby.
"I've always hated Ulf, and I still do," says Mike Milbury, the Bruins' coach at the time of Neely's injury and now the team's assistant general manager. "Jerk that he is, he's always wearing that smirky grin that makes you want to punch him in the face."
As the SI article details, Ulf was so far inside people's heads, he should have been charging them by the hour.
He was dirty but oh so effective.
Our dirty scale is based on local slutbag Christina Aguilera.
Yes, Billy Tibbetts was/is a dirty hockey player.
He pleaded guilty to rape of a 15-year-old girl when he was 17 years old.
That had no bearing on the decision to put him on Mount Dirtymore, but it is always brought up when mentioning Tibbetts.
We're treading lightly here because the last thing we want to be seen as are rapist sympathizers.
Dr. James Mirtle shakespeared
an article back in 2006
defense, aptly titled "Defending Tibbetts
Our advice is to head to Google and do your own investigating on the matter.
Here's why Borglum chiseled his face:
Sure it's the only identifiable instance of Tibbetts being a joke in a Pens uniform.
But this cheap punch is something you NEVER see in an NHL game. Ever.
There's another incident regarding Tibbetts' Penguins stint that bears mentioning.
It's an entertaining, engaging read.
Long story short, Tibbetts hit Lemieux in the face with a cheeseburger on the team bus.
Yes, read that again. He hit Mario Lemieux in the face with a cheeseburger.
How much would we pay to go back in time and see the look on 66's face. Jesus.
A modest 6 Aguileras.
Don Cherry comes through again:
The fact isn't lost on us that a majority of these clips has Cooke in a non-Penguin uniform.
But there are more than a couple instances where he's wearing the Penguins sweater.
In the heat of Game 7 against the Red Wings, we kind of pushed this next one aside.
We remember thinking Cooke was gonna get a penalty when the play happened.
He gets knocked down, still has full control of his body, and sends both knees full throttle into Osgood.
If you think this was out of Cooke's control, we don't know what to tell you.
Apparently he has a fetish for trying to injure Osgood, 'cause we found this incident from Game 3 of the same Finals:
7 Aguileras. He's injured people.
Wipe the vomit off of the black-and-gold glasses. We gave Crosby a miniscule 2 on the Aguilera scale because some of this stuff actually looks kind of sad. As is the case with all great players, they are constantly hounded, sticked, hooked, speared, etc., every time they hop over the bench.
Is that a built-in excuse for some of Crosby's dirty plays? Most likely.
But you'll be hard-pressed to find multiple clips of dudes like Kane and Toews doing this kind of stuff.
Are these clips on YouTube because of the large anti-Crosby crowd? 100%, without a doubt.
Nevertheless, they are on YouTube, and they present a decent case.
Crosschecking Zetterberg's head in garbage time. Hard to defend this.
He's frustrated? Okay. So is every other Penguin on the ice. No excuse.
Another Crosby incident. Again in garbage time.
This probably shouldn't count because it's against Philly.
Still had to present it.
Another garbage-time Crosby moment.
Could've ended Zetterberg's career.
You get crosschecked in the chest? Drop the gloves and fight. Or go tell Godard about it.
Instead he takes a calculated whack at Heatley's ankle.
Heatley's push to the chest was nothing.
Yes of course this shit goes on between players all the time on the ice.
But when we decided Crosby deserved a look when we debated Mount Dirtymore, these incidents were overwhelming.
If we were starting a team tomorrow, we're picking Sidney Crosby first overall.
And Mount Dirtymore has absolutely nothing to do with other teams or players.
No clue why Alex Ovechkin's documented dirty plays would need to be brought into the discussion.
If you're interested in throwing Crosby off Mount Dirtymore, you can't just name a random Penguin goon from the '90s.
Need some documented proof.