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Body checking is a perfectly legitimate part of hockey play, it’s also brutal and great viewing for the fans. Done right, it can knock a rival player not just off the puck, but even out of the game! So we’ve hand picked the very best body checks in NHL history.
#5. Brian Campbell / R.J. Umberger
“Ran over him, like a greyhound bus”, the commentator says, and that pretty much sums up this check by Brian Campbell, a body check leader NHL. Umberger paying the price for playing with his head down.
This check may have been legal, but it certainly angered the Flyer’s players, who rallied around Campbell.
Amusingly, this incident led to the term getting “Umbergered“, meaning to be knocked flat / knocked senseless, and judging by R.J.’s expression after the hit, you can see why!
#4. Darius Kasparitis / Eric Lindros
Kasparitis, while famed for his hip checks, could deliver one hell of a body check, which he does right here on Eric Lindros, in a clean but brutal manner. This check put the Philadelphia Flyers man out for 18 games!
What makes it even more impressive is Lindros stood at 6-foot-4, and weighed in at 245 pounds.
Some pundits claim Lindros never fully recovered from this check.
#3. Darcy Tucker / Sami Kapanen
After a mighty check from Darcy Tucker, Sami Kapanen proceeds to slip and slide and generally fumble his way back to the bench, much to the amusement of the Toronto Maple Leaf fans.
Completely disorientated by Tucker’s hit, Kapanen’s actions were quite unlike anything we’ve seen before.
If your body check makes a professional NHL player forget how to skate, it’s worthy of a place on our list of best body checks NHL.
#2. Scott Stevens / Paul Kariya
The body check leader NHL himself, Scott Stevens, this time taking down Anaheim Ducks captain Paul Kariya.
Although being rendered motionless and concussed from Stevens hit, and having to be helped to his dressing room, the Ducks man came back into the play later on, even scoring a goal.
Post-match debate raged over the incident, with Kariya stating that Stevens had used his elbow. However no penalty was ever handed down, and the incident simply served to bolster Scott’s reputation as a body check leader NHL.
#1. Scott Stevens / Eric Lindros
Unsurprisingly our choice for the biggest body check in NHL history had to come from Scott Stevens, and once again features Eric Lindros, who spent more time upright on the ice than this article will have you believe.
With Lindros looking down at the puck, he failed to see the incoming Stevens whose attempted shoulder hit went wide, catching the Philadelphia Flyers power forward in the head, dropping him like a stone!
It turned out to be Lindros’s last game for the Flyers, who suffered a concussion from the ferocity of Stevens’ hit.
Nicknamed Captain Crunch, many pundits noted how Stevens was one of the few players who could change the tide of a game with a check, instead of a goal, and was certainly the body check leader NHL.
No doubt, a worthy number 1 for the best body checks NHL.
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