Skip to content’s most ‘fearless’ players

Sep 1, 2013, 10:04 PM EDT

mattmartingetty Getty Images

Enduring staggering pain is just part of the gig for NHL players. Even the supposed “finesse” guys grit their teeth through some serious agony; merely look back to Steve Stamkos shaking off a puck to the face in the 2011 playoffs if you need a good example.’s John Kreiser put together a list of players who seem most fearless, or at least most willing to sacrifice their bodies by diving in front of pucks and give/take big hits.

He chose six defensemen (including shot-blocking maestro Dan Girardi) and one forward: Matt Martin.

The entry on Martin is quite interesting:

The Islanders don’t have the reputation of being one of the NHL’s more physical teams, but opponents know they have to keep their heads up when Martin is on the ice. The 24-year-old forward led the League in hits last season with 234 after setting an NHL record with 374 in 2011-12. Despite banging bodies at every opportunity, Martin did not miss a game in either of the past two seasons. Ironically, one of his linemates this season could be Cal Clutterbuck, who preceded Martin as the NHL leader in hits from 2008-09 through 2010-11 while playing for the Minnesota Wild; they traded him to the Islanders in June.

Naturally, there are plenty of honorable mentions. Ryan Callahan has been the New York Rangers forward equivalent to Girardi, though both may not block shots with the same vigor under Alain Vigneault instead of John Tortorella. Obviously there are plenty of enforcers who would rank among the league’s most courageous players, too.

Still, it’s an interesting list that will surely open the door for fascinating discussions in the comments.

  1. ufostomper - Sep 1, 2013 at 10:09 PM

    No timo?!?

  2. bcisleman - Sep 1, 2013 at 10:24 PM

    Well deserved plaudits for Matty Marts. Put him on a line w/ Clutterbuck and Zeeker and that will put the fear of God into some folks!

  3. nysportsrule - Sep 1, 2013 at 10:26 PM

    Callahan’s gotta be on the list. He is one of the most fearless players I have ever watched play the game.

  4. pensman29 - Sep 1, 2013 at 11:03 PM

    ^ I agree he’s willing to do anything to win. Also Campbell should have an honorable mention

  5. packerswin96 - Sep 1, 2013 at 11:26 PM

    And where is Gorges?

  6. pastabelly - Sep 1, 2013 at 11:34 PM

    Not sure about fearless, but Gregory Campbell broke his leg in blocking that Penguin PP shot and stayed on the ice to kill most of the remaining power play. That merits something.

  7. pensman29 - Sep 1, 2013 at 11:40 PM

    I think that just makes him a bada$$

  8. thedavesiknowiknow - Sep 2, 2013 at 12:12 AM

    hated or not: I cringe every time Pat Kaleya hits and gets hit, and every shift is 45 seconds of grinding my molars to a powder.

  9. tjvalley - Sep 2, 2013 at 12:23 AM

    Colin McDonald is a good grinder too and he plays with Martin and Zeeker. I like clutterbuck on the third line so we have two lines that will wear them down physically.

  10. sjsharks66 - Sep 2, 2013 at 1:45 AM

    Why is Murray not on this list?

  11. cliffatola - Sep 2, 2013 at 1:46 AM

    I am a hockey fan not an Islanders fan and that guy is an absolute wrecking ball, the Isles brought in Cal Clutterbuck and already had Colin McDonald. I hate the name of the division but the Metro division is going to bring back old school Patrick Division hockey with these guys leading the way. I hate what the NHL and players did to the fans again last year with the lockout but the realignment is starting to bring me back around.

  12. blomfeld - Sep 2, 2013 at 2:32 AM


    Everyone knows that the ‘toughest’ guy in the league by far is none other than the captain of the reigning Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings, Mister Dustin Brown Esquire ! So in all seriousness and with all due respect, how can names like Stamkos and Girardi even begin to enter into a conversation like this ? I know that PHT reserves a ‘certain’ amount of humor with their reporting, but this may be going a little bit overboard eh ? …

    • pfpmb - Sep 2, 2013 at 9:46 AM

      For some odd reason, I thought the reining Stanley Cup Champions are the Chicago Blackhawks?

      • jcmeyer10 - Sep 2, 2013 at 10:36 AM

        He’s pretending lockout seasons don’t count. Or he is as stuck in the past as the videos he posts.

      • blomfeld - Sep 2, 2013 at 1:12 PM

        Please refer to the previous article where even PHT classifies last years campaign as not being a ‘normal’ season … the last ‘normal’ season was 2011-12 where the the LA Kings were crowned supreme champions ! :)

      • Lupy Nazty Philthy - Sep 3, 2013 at 4:13 PM

        Season was different, playoffs were the same as always. Hawks are defending champs.

    • claudegirwho - Sep 2, 2013 at 3:34 PM

      I don’t believe the list was most knee on knee hits. I used to like brown and how hard he worked and then it was dirty hit after dirty hit. Soon he won’t have any knees

    • mattypbillsmafia - Sep 2, 2013 at 4:05 PM

      Will you please, please, just go away?!? What middle aged man uses emoji? Your comments are terrible, your videos worse, and your grammar is horrific. PHT, PLEASE block this guy! ^^^

      • mattypbillsmafia - Sep 2, 2013 at 4:05 PM

        Meaning Blomfeld btw

      • blomfeld - Sep 2, 2013 at 9:01 PM

        Where X = predictable, Y = boring and Z = vermin, then ‘Mattybbillsmafia’ = the sum of X+Y+Z

        here ya go twinkle toes ! … :)

    • cofran2004 - Sep 3, 2013 at 8:45 AM

      yeah, that engraving on the stanley cup that says “chicago blackhawks, 2012-13 Champions” is wrong. Dont you know? Unless NBC Sports, the be all end all to hockey truth, says so, the cup being in chicago is just a formality. it still belongs to LA.

      You, my friend, are not just a tool. You are an entire bag of tools.

    • shaundre93 - Sep 3, 2013 at 1:38 PM

      I dont understand why you waste your time here. Nobody likes your videos, and nobody respects any of your opinions about hockey. Its really just obnoxious and immature at this point. With that said, Brown is a decent hockey player, but not “fearless”. Put him in a category where he belongs, with players like matt cooke and alex burrows… you know, other bush league players

  13. giantssb42champs - Sep 2, 2013 at 9:04 AM

    Matty Marts and the Isles are going to make some noise this coming season.

    • blomfeld - Sep 2, 2013 at 9:07 PM

      the only ‘noise’ they’ll be making is the sound of bubbles as they go under faster than a Titanic loaded with rocks !

  14. pfpmb - Sep 2, 2013 at 9:44 AM

    Speaking of the Isles, here’s one of the gutsiest, toughest shifts from last season by Eric Tangradi of the Winnipeg Jets.

    • claudegirwho - Sep 2, 2013 at 3:39 PM

      Good thing he has cinder blocks for hands and feet

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