Puck Lists: 30 NHL players who sound like rejected Pokémon

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 10: Brooks Orpik #44 of the Washington Capitals looks at Zubat
PITTSBURGH, PA – MAY 10: Brooks Orpik #44 of the Washington Capitals looks at Zubat

Pokémon Go has spread across North America with an almost terrifying speed, getting everyone from children to the elderly out of their houses in search of a Snorlax.

The NHL is no exception.

Last week, the Red Wings made news by extending Teemu Pulkkinen to a new one-year contract. Not terribly interesting, except the tweet in question called him “Teemu Pokémon” because popular mobile game Pokémon Go had just come out and quickly earned more daily users than Twitter. (It might also have been a typo.)

Then a few days later, Kevin Hayes blew up former college teammate Johnny Gaudreau’s spot as a habitual trainer, tweeting that Gaudreau had spent much of Friday morning walking around Boston College’s campus catching all types of Pokémon while Hayes had been working out. Hayes advised Gaudreau to get a life.

“I mean, I like it,” Gaudreau said on Friday night. “I drove up late last night, so I slept in late this morning. Kevin went to work out this morning, so I woke up and campus was right there. I figured it was a good spot. Me and my brother kind of compete against each other, and he’s gonna be back up at BC, so he’s gonna be killing me in like a month or two in the game.

“I figured I’d try to take advantage of being up here, went and walked around campus, saw some fans, and took some pictures. And played Pokémon Go for a few hours.”

However, Gaudreau might not have too many tips for finding the rarest of Pokémon out in the real world.

“I don’t know the names or anything, I just know by, like, the CP number so the higher the number is, I get more excited,” Gaudreau said. “I don’t really know like what species is what, but I enjoy it. It’s a fun game and we’ll see how long it lasts.”

Hayes and Gaudreau were in town for the Comm Ave Charity Classic, a now-annual game between BC and BU alums playing pro hockey all over the world. In all, thanks to the participation of players like Brian Leetch, Noah Hanifin, Conor Sheary, Shawn MacEachern, Nick Bonino and Charlie Coyle, thousands of people showed up for a game on a Friday night in July. The event raised about $55,000 for people dealing with ALS and spinal cord injuries, in association with Compassionate Care ALS and the Travis Roy Foundation.

But all this got me thinking: Given that the NHL is terrible at marketing itself, maybe it might explore the benefits of having its own off-brand Pokémon thing, a la the Guardian Project. That could really take off!

(This list includes both anyone drafted by an NHL team and actual NHL players. Also I only know the original 151. Don’t @ me.)

30 – Johnny Oduya

Maybe this one is just a little too Farfetch’d. (sorry)

29 – Per Djoos

This is exactly the kind of wacky-ass spelling they’d put on an apple if it was also a Pokémon. And don’t tell me they wouldn’t make an apple a Pokémon. The made half a dozen eggs into a damn Pokémon. Get lost.

28 – Steve Quailer

This is before a Pokémon even evolves into Pidgey.

27 – Merlin Malinowski

If nothing else, this is a trainer whose best Pokémon is Alakazam.

26 – Mike Zigomanis

If Mr. Mime can be a Pokémon, so can one called Zigomanis.

25 – Brooks Orpik

For some reason I think of Orpik as a flying type Pokémon. Can say for sure it has nothing to do with his skating ability.

24 – Mark Borowiecki

The “boro” part means he can at least be buddies with Diglett and Dugtrio.

23 – Daren Machesney

Machop, Machoke, Machamp, Machesney.

22 – Trent Yawney

Once you wake up Snorlax you gotta get past Yawney.

21 – Sven Baertschi

The fact that there isn’t a bear-like Pokémon in the original 151 baffles me to no end. If there had been, he would be called this.

20 – Nail Yakupov

No amount of Moon Stones will make Tauros evolve into his hairier, larger cousin Yakupov.

19 – Pierre-Edouard Bellemare

I’m going by the spelling rather than the pronunciation, but if you cross Weepinbell with Rapidash you get Bellemare.

18 – Ross Lupaschuk

You catch this guy in the same area as Lickitung.

DENVER, CO - APRIL 09: Gabriel Landeskog #92 and Mikhail Grigorenko #25 of the Colorado Avalanche are being menaced.
DENVER, CO – APRIL 09: Gabriel Landeskog #92 and Mikhail Grigorenko #25 of the Colorado Avalanche are being menaced.

17 – Gabriel Landeskog

Landeskog is in the same family as Voltorb or Magnemite where it’s like “What if we just made a part of a machine a Pokémon for some reason?” Landeskog is like a gear or something with eyes and it is an electric type I guess?

16 – Vic Venasky

With a name like this you know he was hangin’ around with Team Rocket all day.

15 – Dan Gendur

He is a the Ghost type Pokémon like Gengar.

14 – Evgeny Artyukhin

So close to Articuno it’s not funny, to be honest. He should sue.

13 – Jarkko Ruutu

Know all those Pokémon that are just like, plants with faces? Ruutu is for sure a tree Pokémon.

12 – Andrej Nestrasil

My man seems like a bird type Pokémon to me.

11 – Ivan Baranka

“Baranka” is at least an attack Growlithe and Arcanine can perform.

10 – Teemu Pulkkinen

Not as good as everyone thinks.

9 – Zarley Zalapski

A name like Zalapski probably lands you somewhere in the 130s, right?

8 – Jonathan Cheechoo

7 – Jordan Tootoo

Much like Doduo becomes Dodrio, this is what happens when you evolve a Cheechoo.

6 – Radim Ostrcil

I know I just mentioned Dodrio or whatever but an ostrich-y Pokémon really out to have this name.

a.k.a. Georges Laraque
a.k.a. Georges Laraque

5 – Georges Laraque

This was for-sure considered as a name for Geodude.

4 – Denis Arkhipov

Like what if there was a Pokémon who looked like a hippo? And yeah, sure, Slowbro I guess. But I don’t remember what Arkhipov skated like and didn’t want to cast aspersions.

3 – MacKenzie Weegar

This guy was a 2013 seventh-round pick for Florida who won a Memorial Cup with Halifax in the QMJHL. He also appears in tall grass outside Celadon City in Pokémon Blue.

2 – Nathan Oystrick

I mean this name is so close to — and better than — Cloyster that it has have been on the drawing board at least.

1 – Nino Niederreiter

This feels like one of the lost evolutionary steps between Nidoran♂ and Nidorino.

Ryan Lambert is a Puck Daddy columnist. His email is here and his Twitter is here.