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NHL controversies

For whatever reason, the NHL has always been a lightning rod for controversy.

Perhaps it’s the overwhelming passion for the game that burns within players and fans alike. Perhaps it’s the win-at-all-costs attitude that permeates professional sports. Or perhaps there’s simply bound to be problems when you’ve got intensely competitive athletes skating around on two knives while carrying clubs.

Whatever the case, the league has had its share of troubles, including a number of off-ice incidents that didn’t even involve hockey players.

This week’s Top 10 comes from our Book of Lists and ranks the most controversial incidents in NHL history.

10. Ted Saskin

Fast-tracked hiring and email hacking spells quick exit for short-lived NHLPA boss.

9. ‘No goal’

Brett Hull’s skate is clearly in the crease - which the league had cracked down on all season - as he scores the Stanley Cup-winning goal in overtime for Dallas against Buffalo in 1999.

8. Don Cherry

No shortage of contentious rants over the years by Coach’s Corner fixture.

7. Marty McSorley-Donald Brashear

The High Stick To The Head Heard ‘Round The World.

6. Maple Leaf Gardens Sex Scandal

Hockey shrine’s darkest chapter as two ushers found guilty of longtime sexual abuse of teenage boys.

5. Mike Danton-David Frost

Bizarre relationship between player and agent comes to an end when Danton is found guilty of murder-for-hire plot targeting Frost.

4. Todd Bertuzzi-Steve Moore

On-ice blindside attack results in premature, concussion-induced retirement for Moore and assault conviction for Bertuzzi.

3. 2004-05 Lockout

The NHL closes down for an entire season - the first major pro sports league to do so - as owners, players wage salary war.

2. The Richard Riots

Montreal burns after Canadiens star Maurice Richard, who knocked out a linesman, is banned for the remainder of the 1954-55 regular season and playoffs.

1. Alan Eagleson

Once hockey’s biggest power broker, he leaves the game in disgrace in the early 1990s after fraud and embezzlement convictions for misusing players’ money.

This Top 10 originally appeared in THN's Book of Hockey Lists.

The Top 10 appears Wednesdays only on

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