NHL on TSN's early candidates for 'No Guts, No Glory' Staff

12/10/2009 7:42:05 PM

In sports, there are few athletes tougher than hockey players.

Over the course of a season, they endure more hits, punches and injuries than anyone else. And they do it all on a thin piece of steel 1/8 of an inch thick at about 40 km an hour.

That being said, the NHL on TSN's No Guts, No Glory title honours the elite within this special group - NHL players who put themselves in harm's way and display a sense of courage that goes above and beyond the call of duty.

Past winners include 2006-07 recipient Martin Straka of the New York Rangers (taking blistering point shots off his arm and leg from Boston's Zdeno Chara - on the same penalty kill), Dallas Stars blueliner Stephane Robidas in 2007-08 (who took a stick to the jaw in a game against Phoenix, got fixed up and finished the game) and 2008-09's Matt Walker (the Blackhawks' defenceman who played with a horrific-looking broken finger after taking a shot by Calgary's Dion Phaneuf).

And here are the season's early candidates for our annual award.

Ian Laperriere:

On Nov. 26, Philadelphia Flyers winger Ian Laperriere was hit in the face with a rising puck when blocking a Jason Pominville slap shot with his mouth late in the first period of a game against the Buffalo Sabres.

Playing on the penalty kill, Laperriere was about 25 feet from Pominville when the Sabres winger uncorked a shot from the point. He lost seven teeth, broke a bone above his lip, and had close to 100 stitches administered before returning to play the third period.

"It was nasty," he said, adding he lost two fake teeth and four actual teeth. "I block shots every game, but that one, my timing was off. I thought [the shot] was lower."

Drew Doughty:

On Oct. 10, Los Angeles Kings defenceman Drew Doughty was hit in the face off an Erik Johnson slap shot in the second period of their game against the St. Louis Blues.

Doughty had to leave the game after the errant puck got deflected and hit him in the mouth. He missed the rest of the second period, but returned for the third wearing a face shield and scored a power play goal and an assist.

"It was just sort of a reaction play," Doughty said. "It happened so quick that I didn't have any time to get away. It was pretty painful."

Click here to see the video of each incident and chime in on who deserves early recognition for the NHL on TSN's No Guts, No Glory honour.