Hockey Hugs is a feature that celebrates the best in hugging from around the NHL, because who doesn't love a good hug now and then? Seen a particularly good hug photo lately? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet @HarrisonMooney.
Welcome once again to hockey hugs, the segment that touches on touching touching, celebrates celebrations, and embraces the embrace.
One thing I love about this feature is that it gives the game's lesser lights a chance to shine. Sure, most hockey writing is going to focus on the stars of the game, what they have to say, and what they've done, but when it comes to hockey hugs, there's no bias towards the stars, because the hug is the star.
For instance, Ilya Kovalchuk and Zach Parise are probably one of the league's best scoring duos. And they've put together a sublime little snuggle up top.
But when it comes to hugs, Carolina Hurricanes' defencemen Bryan Allen and Justin Faulk can cuddle with the best of them. No doubt, these two can't put the puck in the net with the aplomb of the New Jersey Devils' top line, but they're perpetrating some top of the line squeezin', I tell you what.
Allen and Faulk's hug photo gets extra points, by the way, for the woman with the fork sticking out of her mouth just above them.
And yet, not enough points to get into the top 5. We've got some great hugs this week.
No. 5, Vancouver Canucks
Here are the Sedins and Alex Burrows, hugging the way they hug in Örnsköldsvik. Basically, two guys line up, single-file, then they smear a sweaty glove into the face of a third guy.
In Finland, this same gesture is how you challenge a foe to a puukko fight. Two very different countries there.
No. 4, Anaheim Ducks
As the Ducks celebrate a big goal, Corey Perry realizes he forgot to ask anyone to feed his fish before the team left for the road trip.
"Dang. All my fish are dead."
No. 3, Anaheim Ducks
It's back-to-back Duck hugs! I have titled this embrace "Ryan Getz-love".
"Hold me, Ryan!"
"You got it, Francois!"
Bonus points for the lady in the orange scarf who's pointing at the hug as though she's the only one that sees it.
No. 2, Ottawa Senators
I know Chris Neil is in his mid-30s, but from this angle, with his missing teeth, he looks like a 6-year-old whose Dad just told him they could keep the stray puppy that followed them home.
"I promise to feed him and walk him every day!"
"This is a big responsibility, son. Are you sure you're ready for it?
"Yeah Dad! Let's name him Barko!"
No. 1, Boston Bruins
Full disclosure: this is the first hockey hug we've ever featured that fills me with full-blown envy. If I was given a coupon for one free hockey hug, I'd make it Chara, and I'd do it exactly how Seguin's doing it -- with a triumphant leap. The photographers for Getty and AP captured this hug from different angles, so here's a little split-screen action for you:
One imagines Seguin's ears are popping as he adjusts to the air pressure at the higher altitude. He spent the rest of the game chewing gum and yawning.
The photo on the right gets bonus points for the Bruin holding up his stick as a handy-dandy height chart, so you can see how much air Seguin is really getting.
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