The Afternoon Shift – Dec. 15

Public Enemy No. 1?/Photo by Mark Newman

Griffins fans have seen some extraordinary players pass through Van Andel Arena over the years, and just as many memorable – and even some infamous – characters. Names like Ruchty, Ramsay, Neil, Bootland, Downey and Amadio have endeared themselves to fans through both their personalities and the entertainment provided by their frequent scraps.

Of course, whether you perceive a particular player to be an admired enforcer or a hated goon is often a matter of where your rooting interest lies, so an objective source can be valuable. Forget about who’s been nice; the good folks at have chimed in on who they think has been naughty, compiling their list of the 50 Dirtiest Players in Sports History.

Now, despite the Griffins’ impressive alumni roster, it’s not often that a former player is included on any sports list with a national, historical perspective. Lo and behold, though, two former Griffins have earned’s dubious nod.

Coming in at no. 17 — just one spot behind the immortal Ty Cobb — is Sean Avery, the current New York Rangers left wing who, rumor has it, has received a stocking full of coal from Santa 11 years running.

If the photo and caption above haven’t given it away, the other Griffins alumnus, Marty McSorley, was judged to be the dirtiest player in sports history. While it’s hard to believe that a player who once carried makeup in his toiletry bag could earn the top spot on such a list, it’s also hard to argue. After whacking Vancouver’s Donald Brashear in the head with his stick during a game on Feb. 21, 2000, McSorley was suspended by the NHL for the remainder of the season. The 17-year NHL veteran and two-time Stanley Cup champion never played in the league again, finishing his pro career with a 14-game stint as a Griffin during the 2000-01 season.

If you’re looking for a fun time killer at work, search through’s list and relive the glory days of sports, when heavyweight boxers bit off opponents’ ears, figure skaters put out hits on their competitors, and baseball sluggers took steroids with impunity. Good times!

One final note, getting back to Avery. He currently ranks 18th in voting among forwards for the 2011 NHL All-Star Game, thanks almost entirely to text voting. Of his 93,600 votes, almost half — 45,812, second among all players — have come from text voting.

Just another argument against the continued intrusion of technology into our lives.

Today’s Griffins links:

AHL/opponent links:

Alumni news and notes:

Vide0 – NHL alumni goals:


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