June 27, 2010
LOS ANGELES -- They've become our favorite NHL Draft tradition, along with Tomas Kaberle(notes) rumors and Little Wang: The wonderfully strange "glamour shots" taken of the draftees in their spiffy new sweaters, with hilariously awkward poses.
This year, there were three prominent themes in the images:
The "jersey lift," modeled here by No. 1 overall pick Taylor Hall of the Edmonton Oilers.
The "darkened spotlight," as in the image on this post featuring Hall and Tyler Seguin of the Boston Bruins, making the draft picks look like extras in Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" video or defendants in a Klingon war trial.
Finally, there's the "curtain splitter," which you'll see prominently featured in this countdown.
Here are the 10 most awkward rookie glamour shots in the 2010 NHL Draft, reinforcing the fact that young Russians are the goofballs of hockey.
And here ... we ... go.
10. Kirill Kabanov, New York Islanders
The controversial Russian prospect, taken No. 65 overall, was a court jester in post-draft interviews and clearly didn't mind allowing his personality out in front of the camera. Unless, of course, he misunderstood this as a gingivitis exam.
9. Johan Gustafsson, Minnesota Wild
Meanwhile, at the other end of the enthusiasm spectrum, here's Minnesota sixth-rounder Johan Gustafsson, who apparently just learned that the average temperature in the Twin Cities is about 20 degrees lower than in Koping, Sweden during January.
8. Maxim Kitsyn, Los Angeles Kings
Just a thought here, but the "shadowy face" doesn't work all that well when the draft pick apparently has the mandible of the Cloverfield monster.
7. Stanislav Galiev, Washington Capitals
A third-round pick from Russia, Galiev offers a glimpse of what it looks like when he hits the final note while singing in the shower.
6. Joey Hishon, Colorado Avalanche
Nothing like an NHL Draft Pick joining in an impromptu game of Creepy Peak-a-Boo with a photographer. This photo gets a pass if Hishon was speaking in Christian Bale's Batman voice at the time.
5. Evgeny Kuznetsov, Washington Capitals
In fairness, the instructions were "OK, big smile." Was he mocking someone with air quotation marks during this photo? "Oh yeah, I'm 'so' 'happy' to be the 200th Russian the Capitals have drafted in the last decade."
4. Max Gardiner, St. Louis Blues
By day, he's happy-go-lucky center Max Gardiner, taken No. 74 overall by the St. Louis Blues. By night, he's apparently Mickey Rourke from "Sin City." This is like that episode of "Seinfield" where the woman looked completely different depending on the lighting; a "Two-Face," to use the Seinfeldian vernacular.
3. Vladimir Tarasenko, St. Louis Blues
Here's the St. Louis Blues' second first-round choice (No. 16 overall) hoping to start the eyes closed/chipped tooth trend among male hand models.
2. Joe Basaraba, Florida Panthers
"With the 69th pick in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, the Florida Panthers select a young Michael Keaton with Tyrannosaurus arms ..."
1. Kirill Kabanov, New York Islanders
Finally, it's true: The whimsical Islanders draftee managed to make this list twice, including the top spot.
What's Russian for "whaaaaaaaaazzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzuuuuuuuuup"?
This photo would be about 30 percent less awkward if he wasn't sitting on his hands ...