Growing up, children are taught that if they are good all year long Santa Clause will leave them a bounty of presents on Christmas morning. However, if you happen to spend your year being naughty instead of nice, then Santa will instead leave a large lump of coal in your stocking.
While the NHL may follow its own set of rules, it doesn’t mean that the happenings on an ice rink are hidden from Santa’s watchful eye. Although fighting and tough play are accepted and usually praised during hockey games, it doesn’t mean that these altercations sit well with the big guy up at the North Pole.
No, no, Santa is a fan of good behavior first and foremost and checks his NHL allegiances at the door as Christmas day approaches. With only a few days remaining, Saint Nick has already made his list and at this point is almost certainly checking it twice.
Here is a look at which NHL players may be receiving a lump of coal over the fireplace this holiday season.
Shawn Thornton (Boston Bruins)
It wouldn’t be a naughty list without mentioning Shawn Thornton of course. The Bruins’ forward did an equal amount of damage to both his reputation and Penguins’ veteran Brooks Orpik earlier this month when he engaged in a vicious attack against the unsuspecting defenseman. After Orpik declined an invitation to fight earlier in the game, Thornton retaliated with a slew foot followed by a buffet of punches while Orpik laid on the ground defenseless. As punishment, Thornton was suspended for 15 games.
- 41 PIM in 27 GP
- Five major penalties
- One match penalty
- Abides by “the code”
Matt Carkner (New York Islanders)
On a team that has struggled to get six healthy defenseman on the ice for the majority of this season, Islanders’ defenseman Matt Carkner has done the team little favors as a slew of misconducts have negatively affected the Isles on multiple occasions so far this season. In fact, Carkner leads all NHL players with a total of four misconduct penalties so far this season.
Along with his four misconducts, Carkner has also amassed 75 PIM in just 26 games played.
- Three major penalties
- 75 PIM in 26 GP
- Leads the NHL with four misconduct penalties
- A part of the Islanders’ “defensive” unit
Derek Dorsett (New York Rangers)
Currently leading the NHL in both PIM (103) and major penalties (9), Rangers’ winger Derek Dorsett has been one of the most prominent tough guys in the NHL this season.
Though he has been able to tally four points this season (3G-1A-4P), Dorsett’s contributions are still measured in bruises and bloody knuckles.
- Tied for NHL lead with 9 major penalties
- 103 PIM in 30 GP
- 3 misconduct penalties
Mike Smith (Phoenix Coyotes)
While fights and penalties are surely the quickest way to end up on Santa’s naughty list, it doesn’t mean they are the only way. No, no, if there is one thing Santa hates more than fighting it’s phonies – and that’s where Coyotes’ goaltender Mike Smith comes into play. Already sporting an extensive track record of diving, Mike Smith once again proved why he is the Daniel Day-Lewis of NHL diving when he took a greatly over exaggerated tumble against the Montreal Canadiens this past month.
- Habitual Diver
- Bad Haircut
Rich Clune (Nashville Predators)
After totaling 475 PIM from 2010-212 while with the AHL’s Manchester Monarchs, winger Rich Clune has been continuing his naughty ways while playing at the NHL level with the Nashville Predators over the past two seasons. Although he doesn’t suit up for every game, Clune packs a lot of chaos into each shift he takes on the ice. In just 22 games this season, Clune has dropped the gloves an astounding eight times and earned one misconduct penalty.
- 74 PIM in 22 GP
- Eight major penalties in just 22 GP
- One misconduct penalty
- Hast just three less goals than Viktor Stalberg this season
Antoine Roussel (Dallas Stars): 94 PIM / three misconduct penalties
George Parros (Montreal Canadiens): Six fighting majors in just nine games played.
James Neal (Pittsburgh Penguins): Suspended five games for kneeing Bruins’ F Brad Marchand in the head.
Phil Kessel (Toronto Maple Leafs): Suspended three preseason games for sword fighting.
Chris Neil (Ottawa Senators): 93 PIM / nine major penalties
Zac Rinaldo (Philadelphia Flyers): 90 PIM /four major penalties / three misconduct penalties
John Scott (Buffalo Sabres): Seven major penalties / one match penalty / suspended seven games for an illegal check to the head on Bruins’ forward Loui Eriksson
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