New York Islanders defenseman Brendan Witt has made a career of being tough, hard-hitting and a real pain to play against.
His ability to annoy is not limited to rookies or marginal players. Just last week, he rankled Brendan Shanahan -- creating a key penalty that led to a goal in the Islanders' 4-3 victory over the Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday.
Witt took one for the team, a punch after the whistle that was a glancing blow by the left eye -- the one already black, blue and yellow.
"You always try to get underneath a guy's skin," said Witt, in his first season with the Islanders after nine-plus with Washington. "It's more of a mental game than anything. You try to keep your composure and take a couple of punches. We capitalized on the power play, which was good for us.