This is a tough one for me because Messier is one of my all-time favorite players. Was he dirty, no question yes. Was he tough, yes but no where near the the tough guy status. His fight card is sh-t. He was a bully and it surprises me that guys did not seek redemption against him.
A huge reason is that he always had super heavyweights on his bench. Guys like Semenko, McClelland, McSorely, Debrusk, Kocur, Simon, Brashear, McCarthy.
Messier got his teams to play tough and borderline dirty and they stuck together. With the exception of vancouver it worked.