Mon Nov 08 11:59am EST
(Ed. Note: "Battle of the Blades" review/report will appear on Tuesday mornings.)
It's an issue that we, as hockey fans, have tried to ignore for far too long. But season after season, it's become an unavoidable truth: The NHL is plagued with unnecessary, at times grotesque, headshots that serve as an embarrassment to the sport when casual fans view them.
There are no innocents here; every team, at one time or another, has given the hockey world a headshot worthy of scorn and disgust. And they just seem to be getting worse as the years go by.
Coming up, the 10 most unfortunate headshots of the 2010-11 NHL season.
Random order, taken from this year's NHL roster pages. And here ... we ... go:
This is not the first time Avery has donned fashion glasses for a preseason headshot, but it is the first time they've appeared to originate from the Elton John collection. (And yes, we realize the danger in criticizing the fashion sense of a clothing icon; luckily, we're not Facebook friends so he doesn't have access to our various faux pas.)
While wispy hair thing is obviously in fashion thanks to the Bieber'ing of men's grooming, it still looks like Prucha's skull is slowly being eaten by a space jellyfish.
What you need to understand about this Pascal Leclaire headshot, which resembles Pete Wentz after a trip to the dentist, is that the Senators goalie has built a small side career out of awkward headshots. Witness his ode to Cameron Diaz and his morning 'do while sucking on a Lemonhead look.
Brent Sopel's only sin here is looking like Brent Sopel. Which is to say looking like a Viggo Mortensen character in the early stages of a revenge plot. Honestly, nothing a couple of pigtails couldn't fix.
C'mon, man: You had 22 career NHL games entering this season. Stop looking so surprised you made it to picture day.
Filatov has made great strides in developing his body physically for the NHL, through rigorous offseason training. Alas, this has done nothing to prevent him from looking like Amanda Bynes in "She's the Man," as it appears to be his lot in life.
"Comb? I've had litigation pending against me for the better part of a decade and you think I'm worried about a [expletive] comb?"
Somewhere in the darkest reaches of the universe, there is a Bizarro Patrick Marleau, with tweezed eyebrows and a sullen face that never resembles that of a child who just said the secret word on "Pee-Wee's Playhouse."
By no means the only NHL player to sport a handlebar-ish goatee thingy in his official headshot: See Mike Brown(notes) of the Toronto Maple Leafs as another example. But for some reasons, Gillies' photo is the only one that has us convinced he's wearing leather chaps under his sweater.
And finally, perhaps the most regrettable headshot in the NHL this season:
Our old pals at Barry Melrose Rocks hipped us to this image, and it's rather remarkable. His mop reminds us of when Lex Luthor threw Superman's magic crystal into the ocean and created an uninhabitable, jagged rock world. The back of his head looks like some kind of scorpion's tail made of hair; the entire thing may actually be a map to an ancient castle.
So there you go ... the most regrettable headshots in the NHL this season. It's an epidemic, people. The League can pass whatever regulations or legislation it wants to prevent them; but in the end, it's on the players to police themselves.
By offering a mirror or some hair gel.