November 18, 2011
Since you're reading this blog, I'll assume that you're Internet-savvy enough to have, at some point, come across the crazy, nastyass honey badger (link NSFW language), the video of that bizarre little creature that doesn't seem to mind being bitten by poisonous snakes or stung by a thousand bees, so long as he can take what he wants.
(If you aren't one of the video's 24 million viewers, I'll assume that you died some time ago and have simply yet to realize it. Please: accept your fate and cross over -- Puck Daddy ain't for no ghosts.)
To make sure we're all on the same page about things, however, here's all you need to know:
1. Despite being a small creature, the honey badger is pretty bad-ass.
2. The honey badger doesn't give a [excrement deleted].
Suffice it to say, while Randall, the video's narrator, doesn't sound overly manly, the honey badger does. Furthermore, his precise qualities -- smallness, tenacity, badassery -- line up quite nicely with a great many NHLers.
That in mind, more than a few have recently been given the moniker "Honey Badger", many by their teammates.
Your team probably has a honey badger.
Down in Tennessee, Nashville Predators fans have taken to calling rookie sensation Craig Smith(notes) the Honey Badger. This one makes a lot of sense: last year, Smith attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison, whose team is called the Badgers.
Also, he doesn't give a crap. Empty-net? Craig Smith don't care. That puck's going into the upper deck.
In Vancouver, Kevin Bieksa(notes) recently disclosed during a radio interview that all of the Canucks have animal nicknames. Alex Edler is "Eagle", Ryan Kesler(notes) is "Bull" (perhaps because he loves "Night Court"), and Jannik Hansen(notes) is ... the honey badger.
As the team's most aggressive forechecker, this too seems appropriate. Jannik Hansen goes after pucks like a honey badger in search of larva.
Apart from these two instances, however, most other players earn the honey badger label by being their team's smallest and most tenacious player. Over in Boston, Andrew Ference(notes) recently told Joe Haggerty that he's taken to calling Brad Marchand(notes) the honey badger. It makes a lot of sense. From NESN:
Andrew Ference has his own favorite nickname for Bruins pest Brad Marchand after hearing teammates call him rat, squirrel and weasel among other names from the animal kingdom.
[...] "Everybody is calling him a weasel, but I call him a Honey Badger," said Ference. "Have you seen it on YouTube? Go ahead and type in Honey Badger on YouTube and tell me what you think."
I like the way Ference seems to think he's one of the first people to have watched the video.
This nickname really works for Marchand, by the way. Besides being small and fearless, he spends most of his time in a house of B's and has a big snout.
Knowing the criteria, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to guess who among the Buffalo Sabres is considered the honey badger. That would be 5-5 Nathan Gerbe(notes), who is fearless when taking on larger NHL players (i.e. all of them).
Over the years, several people have observed that the hockey community isn't overly inventive when it comes to nicknames. As Andrew Coyne once wrote:
There is one area where hockey falls short: colourful nicknames. There is no hockey equivalent to baseball's "Oil Can" Boyd or "Catfish" Hunter. Hockey nicknames are formed in one of two ways: by dropping the last syllable of the player's name, or by adding -er or -ie (sometimes by a combination of the two).
But now we have a third way: Watching Youtube videos.