Mark Messier

Rangers' mark Messier
Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

The Captain is, of course, known for his 1994 Stanley Cup Championship with the Rangers.

Mark Messier was as good at scoring a game-winning goal as he was throwing a massive body check on the ice. Messier knew the importance of dominance on the ice in all aspects of the game. The center would never back down from a scrum at the net on a whistle, banging bodies into the boards at either end of the ice and would almost show his nasty side every game.

Messier played a total of 10 years and 698 games for the Blueshirts. In that time, he acquired 667 minutes of penalties while scoring 250 goals and 691 points. That was almost a point per game and a penalty minute per game in his Ranger career.

Messier battled with the best of them including some moments with Donald Brashear, a player he took on many times as the two had a dislike for one another during their entire careers in the league.

There a bunch of notable mentions, so many in fact that a part two may be coming your way. Adam Graves, Ed Hospodar, Lou Fantinato and Tanner Glass are just a few not mentioned in this piece, all of whom contributed to the tough man or enforcer era of the NHL.

Some say the enforcer era is on the way out. Teams can’t afford a roster spot to a player who has the main purpose to fight or hit and agitate. I disagree. Hockey needs that edge. Imagine an NHL if Wayne Gretzky didn’t have Dave Semenko watching his back every game.

Hitting is very much part of this sport and with that, the tough guy/enforcer will always be needed. Maybe they are going to be used in a different way or they will need to be better skaters and point producers, but the need for them will always be there.

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  1. Sean Avery over Colton Orr and Brandon Prust? Ok. Let alone boogey, R.I.P. who wasn’t here long or John Scott, ditto. I was an Avery fan, not one of the toughest in team history. Cmon, he got dummies by the rocket pretty good, too

  2. Sean Avery over Barry Beck? Beck was the toughest Ranger of all time. Any long time Ranger fan would know that. And btw Adam Graves, George McPhee, Orland Kurtenbach, Colton Orr belong on this list ahead of other’s

  3. Cmon Frank, Aver and Buek over George McPhee? Agree with James Dunn on Kurtenbach, Orr , and Graves. Guys that I would also consider over Avery/ Buek are “the flapper” Langdon, Reggie Fleming, Lou Fontinato, and all time Ranger penalty minute man Ron Greschner.

  4. Rangers greatest fighter was defenseman Larry cahan who ko’d gordie howe tko’d john ferguson. 2nd place is a tie between domi n fotiu. Domi bloodied probert in one of their fights an skated around the ice he was the new heavyweight champion. Fotiu fought everybody without a helmet and fought phila flyers often n 2 at a time before they created the 3rd man in rule

  5. In the 60’s we had Orland Kurtenbach and he was known for having the fastest fist in the NHL. I saw him knockout Terry Harper of the Canadians after harper sucker punched Camille Henry. There is no way he’s not in top 5. Oh and by the way Vic Hatfield could throw them with the best fighters in the league. He was one toughest guys and was the Rangers best fighter in the late 60’s and early 70’s.

  6. Just an FYI ****this is NOT a ranking. In fact, he’s gonna have to come up with another list, a greater list that showcases a true ranking. Also FYI, this is not based on “fighting” alone.