Most players would tell you that the grind of playing the same team up to seven straight times in a Stanley Cup playoff series is difficult enough on its own.
But throw a player or two into the mix who really knows how to get under your skin, and the task instantly becomes that much more difficult.
Maybe it's an extra hit, a fight, or a choice word or two (or more) in passing that gets into a player's head. They are the type of players that you love to play with, and hate to play against.
Today it's Your Call: Who will be the most hated player in the NHL playoffs this spring?
It's a role that Sean Avery of the Rangers has taken on more than once in his colourful career, and he will be joining New York's lineup for Game 2 against Washington. Ben Eager, a Stanley Cup champion last spring with Chicago, certainly knows what it takes to make it through the post-season marathon. He was quick to fight Kyle Clifford of the Kings on Thursday shortly after teammate Ian White was injured on a hit-from-behind at the hands of L.A.'s Jarret Stoll.
There are others who have a history of getting into an opponent's head. Montreal's P.K. Subban, Philadelphia's Dan Carcillo, Anaheim's Corey Perry, and Tampa Bay's Steve Downie are all as likely to be heard from with their scoring prowess as with their vocal chords. And don't forget about Vancouver's Maxim Lapierre, Boston's Brad Marchand, and Buffalo's Patrick Kaleta - a trio of checking forwards who play key physical roles for their respective squads.
Every team has played its first post-season match, so let the debate begin.
Who will be most hated?
Let's us know your pick in the Your Call section below!