(Ed. Note: Our series "Puck Daddy's Guilty Pleasures" features puckheads from all walks of life answering questions about their own hockey-related guilty pleasures. It will run daily during the month of August. Have a suggestion for a "Guilty Pleasures" guest blogger? Hit us on email. Enjoy!)
Today's Special Guest: Puck Daddy's own Dmitry Chesnokov, your source for candid inteviews and all things Russian.
1. The Player You Most Love To Hate
It got me thinking — I don't really hate any player. Are there any players I dislike? Sure there are. At one point I used to dislike Peter Forsberg because I thought he was a "fake little artist," to put it in someone else's words.
But the player I think I dislike the most is Jarkko Ruutu. Objective or not, I think this guy is a major cheap shot. His "what did I do" look on his face may only be second to Matt Cooke after Ruutu injures a player or does something like feasting on Andrew Peters' fingers.
2. Other Than Your Own, The Team You Can't Help Rooting For
I would have to say the Los Angeles Kings. It is difficult to pinpoint why that is the case. I guess I just really like Los Angeles as a city after visiting it on a number of occasions.
But to be honest, I was really rooting against the Kings in the 1993 Stanley Cup Finals — the first NHL finals I ever watched (on a black and white portable TV in my room at 3 a.m. Moscow time, wearing headphones so my parents wouldn't know I was up at night watching hockey). The reason? Wayne Gretzky. I was really young and didn't like when a non-Soviet/Russian player was called "The Great One."
3. Favorite Fight or Brawl of All-Time
I am not that much into fighting, preferring actual hockey to it. I am certainly not into tough guys beating up those who don't usually fight. But karma is something that everyone should be aware of. With that in mind, I'd have to say that the Evander Kane — Matt Cooke fight, sort of, is my favorite.
Can Evander Kane be introduced to Jarkko Ruutu as well?
4. The Hideous-Looking Hockey Jersey You Secretly Love The Most
It has to be the Canadiens' old Soviet style striped mattress/felon uniform jersey. When you see just one player wearing it, it's tolerable, but when a bunch of players are together wearing it, it feels like you're having an eye exam to establish if you are color blind. "Can you read the name on this jersey? What about the number?"
I think I really saw some secret images when looking at these jerseys. But at the same time they are kind of cool.
5. Your Favorite Hockey Cliché (terminology, traditions, announcer-speak, etc.)
I really like the "top shelf where momma keeps her cookies." My other favorite is "stickhandle in a phonebooth." These two for me are true hockey broadcasters' jewels.
6. The Injury You Couldn't Stop Staring At (Non-Skate Lacerations Only)
Every time I see Patrick Thoresen's name mentioned somewhere, it takes me back to that first round first playoff game between the Washington Capitals and the Philadelphia Flyers.
The Capitals are on a power play, one goal down. Mike Green's slapshot from the blue line hits Thoresen right where no man want to be hit. Thoresen is in pain, and all of us guys in the press box of the Verizon Center literally had sympathy pains. Green scored on the rebound off of Thoresen's … groin to even the score, while Thoresen himself was taken to a local hospital with initial reports indicating he may have had to have one of his testicles amputated. Even thinking about that injury makes me cringe.
7. Your Favorite Cheesy Hockey Reference in Popular Culture
An "enigmatic Russian." I am not sure if this fits as one of the right answers. But I really like this one. To be honest the meaning of it to me is different than for most others.
8. Finally, What's The Thing You Secretly Respect Gary Bettman For The Most?
First of all, I don't disrespect Gary Bettman nor do I dislike him. I have spoken/interviewed him only a handful of times and even then he only had a few minutes. But this simple fact that he always finds that minute to answer my questions (the question is what I respect him for), even if he doesn't say much, the fact that he respects the media regardless of where they are from (there is plenty of discrimination against "foreign" media and the trend is growing), makes me respect him as a true professional who takes pride in doing his job, whether we think he is doing a good job or not.
That's what I respect him for. And thank him for never turning me down.