It's Valentine's Day on Thursday, a day dedicated to tenderness, sweetness and affection which is in no way a manufactured cash grab meant to stimulate commerce during the economically dry post-Christmas months.
But in this caustic and tumbledown world, it's all too possible to get caught up in everyday problems and obstacles of life and lose, in the words of those great poets the Righteous Brothers, that loving feeling.
That can't happen on Valentine's Day, it just can't. The holiday is just too sacred and unmanufactured and real. So if you're struggling to get into the mood, fear not. Hockey hugs is here to replace your struggles with snuggles.
I mean, just look at Matt Hendricks up there, breaking down and throwing his arms around Alex Ovechkin. How are you not moved by this display? (In case you're curious, this didn't come after a goal or anything. The Capitals are just hugging and sobbing a lot this season.)
And speaking of comfort, look right, where you'll see Nazem Kadri cradling a kneeling Matt Frattin's head in his arms. And people said the Leafs were the toughest they've ever been. I'll have you know This photo was taken after Frattin fell down during the pregame skate. "I fell down", he kept saying. "Ssshh, Sshhh, come to Nazem", Kadri responded.
Now then. Let's make those warm and fuzzies you're feeling even warmer and fuzzier with today's top 5 hockey hugs.
No. 5, Winnipeg Jets
How can you tell Zach Redmond is a rookie? Look at those teeth glimmer with perfection. They're bright enough to distract from the beady-eyed dude photo-bombing this hug at top right.
"Hey Bryan. This is just a... Little hug. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA."
"Ugh. Let go."
No. 4, Anaheim Ducks
No one pulls a fly-by on Andrew Cogliano, who will not be denied his hug.
"You're Superman and I'm Superman's cape!"
No. 3, Buffalo Sabres
You know what they say: act like you've been there before. The principle applies to hockey hugs as well. Mikhail Grigorenko blows it spectacularly on his first NHL goal. This is not how it's done. Mike Weber is probably wise to come to a screeching halt and back away slowly.
"Yeah, you scored! Make way for Mike because I am... uh... you know what? Nevermind. I'll meet you at the bench."
No. 2, Philadelphia Flyers
Mikhail Grabovski slinks away from a Flyers group hug in abject shame.
"Hey Grabovski, what do you and classic Canadian animated program Reboot have in common?"
"I don't know, Wayne."
"Both have a mega-bite! Haaaaa. Wayne! Wayne! Wayne!"
All three Flyers, jumping up and down: "Wayne! Wayne! Wayne!"
No. 1, Carolina Hurricanes
This clustercuss of a photo is the early front-runner for hug of the year. What in the flying Hell is going on here? Senators are strewn everywhere, Jay Harrison appears to be weeping uncontrollably, and Jeff Skinner is gleefully diving across the pile of red jerseys to comfort him. Is it some kind of friendship test, where Skinner has to fight through three Senators to hug Harrison? Or maybe Harrison flipped out and attacked the Senators, then realized what he'd done and lost it, and Skinner is really used to it by now?
Or perhaps the hug is just so genuine Harrison couldn't remain unmoved. If that's the case, he's not the only Harrison.
Follow Harrison Mooney on Twitter at @HarrisonMooney
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