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Friday, January 1, 2010

NHL's Worst Player, Addendum

A little tired from the previous research, I decided to have a bit more fun with my quest for the worst player by extending my search to players that played at least 20 games.  I figured that any lower would produced some pretty outlandish results (1 game played with a -2 and 4 PIM could be extrapolated to a pretty horrid PCG), but I also figured if someone could be historically bad over 20 games it could be an interesting story.  I was not disappointed.  The added players:

Doug Doull, -.03 PCG
Kip Brennan, -.03 PCG
Kyle Freadrich, -.16 PCG
Steve Martinson, -.29 PCG

Now we're edging into some dicey territory.  You'll notice that at this point, Richard Zemlak has yet to be conquered.  No lack of characters here, either: Freadrich (at a Boogaardian 6'7", 260 lbs.) threw down with famed pugilist Ryan Vandenbussche and had a colossal donnybrook where both men lost a few chiclets.  Seriously, where's the defense, fellas?  Martinson's fight in the AHL with Shawn Antoski broke barriers; or, went around barriers, and scared the crap out of the guys in charge of the sin bins.

The final two deserve honorable mention in themselves; though combining for only 46 games in the bigs, their propensity for zero contribution was astonishing:

Chris McRae, -.42 PCG
Paul Higgins, -1.24 PCG

McRae, younger brother of renowned goon Basil McRae, only got a 21 game cup o' tea in the NHL, and after scoring just 1 goal, taking 1 shot, and recording 122 PIM, he had no takers.

Higgins is much more intriguing, if only for the massive detriment he was to his team.  Whether facing up to the apparently "murderous" (and ironically named) Larry Playfair, coming out of nowhere to jump Peter McNab, or cheap-shotting Darryl Sutter, Higgins quickly developed notoriety in the league for craziness.  A Capitals insider who was friends with former Higgins teammate Al Iafrate apparently got Iafrate to talk about him:

"Al was pretty toasted one night and I asked him about his former teammate Higgins...said he was totally nuts, guys were scared to practice with him - he'd be out there running guys left and right...also said the Leafs basically talked him into quitting..."

After his 25 game career (complete with 0 points, 1 shot, a -4, and 152 PIM), Higgins would have a few brush-ups with the Farvas, including a high-speed chase and a fight where Higgins and another guy went after each other with "baseball bats, hockey sticks, and pipes..."  I kind of wish I was there for that.

So there you have it; while I'm sure to include whispers of Zemlak and Higgins again someday, my search has been satisfied.  

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