Rafal Ladysz of The Hockey Writers preys on our love of lists (more on that later this week) and reveals his Top 15 Hitters in the NHL, with Milan Lucic(notes) of the Boston Bruins at No. 1 overall because he brings the pane.
Complaints? We have a few. Brooks Orpik(notes) of the Pittsburgh Penguins is criminally low at No. 9. Cal Clutterbuck(notes) of the Minnesota Wild, who led the League in hits as a rookie last season, hasn't blow up enough opponents to warrant a lofty No. 6 ranking. We're not going down the Don Cherry/"Cal Buttercup" road here ... just saying that quantity doesn't necessarily connote quality, which goes for body-checks and Tampa Bay Lightning defensemen.
As for Niklas Kronwall(notes) of the Detroit Red Wings ranking No. 2 and earning a comparison to Scott Stevens ... well, the validity of that depends on whether you believe either of them jumps more than a Kris Kross video when knocking out foes. The case for Kronwall being No. 1 over Lucic can be made; legality aside, his hits can change a game or even a series.
(The "leaving his feet" thing is always a tough call because we're dealing with incredible velocity here. Not to say that Stevens never left his feet, and certainly not to say Kronwall doesn't, because he does. In fact, this would have been a stronger list if Ladysz had given a demerit to those who leave their feet on checks ... but who knows how that would have affected Ovechkin's ranking?)
Interesting list ... see anyone they missed? Wonder where Dion Phaneuf(notes) of the Calgary Flames would have ranked last summer before his stock fell. Here's a look back at the top hits from 2008-09 in the NHL; Ballard on Malkin remains scary.