Mon Aug 08 05:58pm EDT
(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!)
1. The Player You Most Love To Hate
Matt Cooke(notes), Pittsburgh Penguins. From what I saw on the "HBO 24/7 Road to the Winter Classic" show, he seems to be a great husband and father. On the ice his behavior is at times borderline criminal.
And then there's that toothless grin ...
2. Other Than Your Own, The Team You Can't Help Rooting For
Edmonton Oilers. I was born there and lived there until I was 14. I used to go to the old WHL Edmonton Oil Kings games in the 70's as a kid and root for Darcy Rota and Phil Russell. Later, I snagged my first TV gig at CFRN in Edmonton in 1980. Back in those days all the local media guys had Wayne Gretzky's home phone number and if we needed to ask him something, we'd just call him.
3. Favorite Fight or Brawl of All-Time
Link Gaetz vs. Bob Probert November 14, 1991 at the Cow Palace in San Francisco. Two bad asses going toe-to-toe and feeding it to each other.
I haven't seen another fight like it.
4. The Hideous-Looking Hockey Jersey You Secretly Love The Most
It has to be the Vancouver Canucks' "Halloween Jersey" of the 1970's. Those things were so frightening even Thomas Gradin looked scary.
5. Your Favorite Hockey Cliché (terminology, traditions, announcer-speak, etc.)
It's a tie
"The goalie stood on his head tonight." Really? Wouldn't it actually be easier to score against a guy who was standing on his head?
And... "It's time for some four-on four play."
6. The Injury You Couldn't Stop Staring At (Non-Skate Lacerations Only)
Sharks Center Mike Ricci in about the 2002-03 season getting cut in the face on three separate occasions in the same game.
I remember him skating back to the bench after a shift with all the blood and sweat streaming down his face and linemate Scott Thornton laughing out loud at him. He looked like the knight from "Monty Python and the Holy Grail." Many flesh wounds.
7. Your Favorite Cheesy Hockey Reference in Popular Culture
Eric "E." Murphy's framed Jonathan Tavares jersey on "Entourage." He was even rockin' it before HBO went all NHL on us.
Maybe he can get Ari to build the Islanders a rink?
8. Finally, What's The Thing You Secretly Respect Gary Bettman For The Most?
Under Gary's watchful eye the NHL and NBC have turned the Winter Classic into a unique standalone pro hockey event. The NHL All-Star game is supposed to do that but it's not a real hockey game. The Winter Classic is perfect and Bettman deserves the credit for it.
He also understands the two basic principles of what makes the Winter Classic the hit that it's become. It MUST be on New Years Day and it MUST be staged in a location where there's a chance it might snow during the game.