August 20th, 1999

Hockey Goons

by Allan Weiss • in Sports

Goon-O-Meter: 65% / 90% / 90% / 50% / 50%

tie domiTie Domi
5′10 207lb
Toronto Maple Leafs

The Damage:
Led the league with 347 PIM (penalty minutes) in 1993/94. Had 97 PIM in 38 games at the all-star break, averaging just over a minor a game — way down from his overall average of nearly a fight a game.

Sign of Greatness:
Dressed for two games in 1989/90 and amassed 42 PIM.

Telling Fact:
See sign of greatness.

A Little Quiet Time:
In parts of 10 NHL seasons, Domi has racked up 2357 minutes, an average of nearly 240 per season and slightly under a fight a game.

Banner year:
1997/98, when Domi fought his way to 365 PIM and scored only 4 goals and 14 points in 80 games.

Bang for the buck:
$ per minor - $15,679
$ per scrap - $39,196

Goon-O-Meter Rating: 65%
Inch for inch, no one dishes it out like Domi. Just ask everyone’s favourite guy, Ulf Samuelsson, what his fondest memory of a Domi left is. Can you say COMA?

Domi’s mom hates when he dukes because she feels bad for the poor sucker who’s about to get the shit kicked out of him. Domi is on the downswing of his career — he’s getting fewer and fewer stupid penalties and now and then resists the urge to punch someone’s lights out for the sake of the team. With this new-found discipline and penchant for actually chipping in offensively from time to time, Domi’s goon value has plummeted. He’s still a good bet for 250+ minutes a year, but now he usually takes someone off with him. The fact that he loses maybe two fights a season keeps his rating decent.

gino odjickGino Odjick
6′3 215lb
New York Islanders

The Damage:
Has twice reached the very respectable 370-minute mark while with Vancouver. Missed most of the first half of this season, but has managed to collect 133 minutes in 23 games. If he maintained this pace and played the whole season, he’d KO “The Hammer” and finish with 474 PIM, a new NHL record. Has averaged almost 6 minutes a game this season — which constitutes roughly half of his playing time in any given game.

Sign of Greatness:
Actually saw some playing time on the first line in Vancouver with Messier and Bure. PIM numbers didn’t suffer either — 552 over his last 105 games as a Canuck. This spoke volumes of Vancouver’s depth on the left side.

Telling Fact:
Tallied 39 PIM in a game against Montreal earlier this year.

A Little Quiet Time:
Over 9 NHL seasons, Gino has racked up 2291 minutes, a solid 255 minutes a year and just shy of a major a game.

Banner year:
1996/97, when Gino sat for 371 minutes and minimized offensive output to 13 points in 70 games.

Bang for the buck:
$ per minor - $6,464
$ per scrap - $16,160

Goon-O-Meter Rating: 90%
Arguably the most prolific indigenous fighter of all time and definitely the king of stupid penalties, Odjick is every referee’s scapegoat. If an opponent trips over his own laces, and Gino’s within 5 feet, he’ll invariably get whistled down. The Islanders needed a guy to help them work on their penalty killing when Mick Vukota left town. With the Maniwaki native around, the Isles spend plenty of time shorthanded. No one in the history of the league gets baited into penalties as easily as Odjick, yet he usually settles the score with his fists on the next shift. A first-rounder in any goon pool, he’s a true heavyweight and a gimme on the all-ugly team.

rob rayRob Ray
6′0 215lb
Buffalo Sabres

The Damage:
Led the league with 351 PIM in 1990/91. Not counting strike-shortened 1994/95, Ray has never had fewer than 211 minutes in any season. Is having a stellar 1998/99 thus far, with 139 PIM and only 3 assists in 39 games. He’s averaging 3-1/2 minutes a game, and is on pace for a respectable 260.

Sign of Greatness:
Roughed up the AHL to the tune of 446 PIM in 1988/89, and had an astounding 335 PIM in only 43 games the following season. The man is an AHL legend.

Telling Fact:
Is averaging 73 PIM per goal in his career.

A Little Quiet Time:
In 10 seasons, Ray has racked up 2407 minutes, an average of 240 per season and a double minor per game. He may be the only player in history to potentially average more PIM per game than minutes played per game.

Banner year:
1991/92, when Ray had 354 PIM and turned in a strong 5-goal campaign in 63 games.

Bang for the buck:
$ per minor - $5,790
$ per scrap - $14,476

Goon-O-Meter Rating: 90%
It’s tough not to respect a guy who has a rule named after him that prohibits players from having an advantage during a fight. Yet he’s never been afraid to take the stupid penalty, which is the telling sign of a true thug. You know what you’re getting with Ray: 300 or so minutes, fewer than 10 points. Everything you’re looking for in the pool. A definite first-rounder. If he ever consistently took a regular shift and played in every game, he’d be devastating. We like Ray because he’ll go with anyone, anytime, anywhere. There are others who’ll do that, but few who’ll readily do it while a teammate is on a breakaway.

bob probertBob Probert
6′3 225lb
Chicago Blackhawks

The Damage:
Led the league with 398 PIM in 1987/88. Since he started in 1985/86, Probie hasn’t been under 221 PIM in any season in which he’s played at least 50 games. Bob has had a quiet 1998/99 so far, averaging a little better than a minor a game. His pace says 190 at year’s end.

Sign of Greatness:
Has been in on some of the truly legendary tilts in recent memory. His 51-second bout with then Vancouver defenseman Craig Coxe in 1988, in which the two combined to land over 100 shots, was clearly the fight of the decade — maybe of the half century.

Telling Fact:
Holds the Detroit single-season and career PIM records — 398 and 2090 respectively.

A Little Quiet Time:
Probert’s 13 seasons have yielded plenty of classic moments for even the casual fight fan. With a strong second half, he could eclipse the 3000 minute mark for his career. Probert’s declining numbers suggest he’s mellowing with age, but he’s still averaging better than 215 PIM a year and a couple of minors per game.

Banner year:
1987/88 was just a sick year for Probert. His 398 PIM was sweet, but how did he manage to find time to score a colossal 29 goals and 62 points? We’d normally discount a season featuring such production, but 400 minutes is always hard to ignore.

Bang for the buck:
$ per minor - $18,339
$ per scrap - $45,848

Goon-O-Meter Rating: 50%
Once the most feared man in the game, Bob Probert was a guaranteed first-rounder for the better part of his career, based solely on the fact that the you knew he was good for a fight a game. Quite often it was two, five and a game. But he’s never been really big on needless penalties. His misconducts are way down and he doesn’t really hurt his team often. He doesn’t drop the mitts as much anymore and can be a sleeping dog. Turn back the clock a decade and he’s a 10, but the new, more passive Probie gets half that.

marty mcsorleyMarty McSorley
6′2 235lb
Edmonton Oilers

The Damage:
Led the league with 399 PIM in 1992/93. Has only dressed for 20 games this year, compiling a substandard 52 PIM.

Sign of Greatness:
Was once suspended by the NHL for an eye-gouging incident.

Telling Fact:
In 21 games this year, McSorley has stayed off the sheet in 10 games and has recorded only one minor in 5 others. Tragic.

A Little Quiet Time:
In his 16th NHL campaign, McSorley has collected a running total of 3270 PIM, an average of 204 per season and 3.6 a game.

Banner year:
1992/93. Anytime you flirt with 400 you know you’ve had a magical season. Unfortunately, huge offensive numbers also tainted McSorley’s 399 PIM.

Bang for the buck:
$ per minor: $21,106
$ per scrap: $52,767

Goon-O-Meter Rating: 50%
As the veteran leader of the Oilers defense, he’s not there to scrap — he’s there to teach the kids. What is he going to teach and to whom? Can you imagine Janne Niinimaa trading blows with anyone? Neither can we. McSorley is a mere image of what he once was. He almost never dukes anymore and somewhere along the line developed a quality fully detrimental to his progress as an NHL goon: maturity. Too bad, cuz this guy was not only a true heavyweight, he was frightfully undisciplined. He’s a late-rounder at best, and no longer a threat for 300.

Tie Domi : Gino Odjick : Rob Ray : Bob Probert : Marty McSorley

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