The NHL has a history of having some of the toughest players ever to play hockey. In terms, of toughness there are three different types of hockey players. The enforcing player like Raffi Torres or Dan Carcillo. The Defensive player like Scott Stevens, the alternative player whose sole job is to overcome any obstacles and plays through injuries.
All these types of players are tough in their own unique way, but some stick out more than others. Here are 10 of the NHL toughest players who went above and beyond on the ice and did things not many other hockey players would even think of doing.
1. Saku Koivu
Koivu, is one of the toughest players because he battled cancer while on the Montreal Canadiens and still came back on April 9, 2002 playing fourth in line and started the game positioned at center ice.
2. Kris Letang
During the 2013-2014 seasons, Letang who played for the Pittsburgh Penguins suffered a stroke. Just three months after his stroke he was back on the ice in the second round of that year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs
3. Taylor Hall
Ever since Hall went into the NHL back in 2010, he has been overcome with injuries. He ended his first season early with an injured shoulder. His second season his face was sliced open by a fellow players skate during a warm-up, and he ended up getting thirty stitches, but four days later he was back on the ice.
4. Steve Stamkos
In the 2013 season, Stamkos broke his leg after being backchecked in front of the net and sliding into the goal post at high speed. He had surgery on his leg and was determined to get back on the ice as soon as possible, he ended up playing again after just a few months. Most players miss an entire season after breaking a bone, but he was back the same season that makes him one tough player.
5. Glen Hall
Glen Hall played an astonishing 502 consecutive games as a goalie, which is more than impressive because most NHL goalies these days play around 70 games a season. However, back in 1955-1956 and 1962-1963 he played 502 consecutive games, and he still holds the record for the most games ever played by a goalie.
6. Jacques Plante
In 1959, Plante was struck in the face by a puck and after a 21-minute rest he was back on the bench waiting to play. (Keep in mind, this was back in the day before goalies even wore masks). He ended up finishing the game, and his team won 3-1. After that game, goalie masks came into effect, and he was one the first goalie ever to wear a mask.
7. Ryan Getzlaf
During the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Ryan Getzlaf took a puck to the face, got patched up quickly. He didn’t get to finish the game, but he did show up back on the ice the following game.
8. Bobby Baun
If you think playing hockey with a broken leg is impossible, you would be wrong! In 1964, Bobby Baun who played for the Toronto Maple Leafs at the time broke his leg during the Stanley Cup Finals. Baun was hit in the leg by a shot taken by Gordie Howe, and he was taken off the ice, where they froze his injured leg, and he was back out on the ice soon after. He even ended up scoring the game-winning goal.
9. Steve Yzerman
During the 2001-2002 season, Yzerman ended up missing 30 games in regular season because of an aggravated knee injury. It was an Olympic year, and he was on the Men’s Canadian team that brought the gold home to Canada after 50 years of not winning. He played the entire time on pretty much one good knee, and he ended up taking his team the Detroit Red Wings to victory and they won their 10th Stanley Cup that year.
10. Mario Lemieux
Mario Lemieux, just like Saku Koivu is known as one of the most notable and brave players to battle cancer and still play in the NHL. The one difference between the two players is that Mario played with extreme chronic back pain on a regular basis. In the 1992-1993 season, Mario had already missed 100 games because of his back pain. In January of 93′ he announced he had Hodgkin’s Disease, and he returned only a few months later and played against the Flyers.