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.
A couple weeks ago in Hockey Hugs, we took a moment to poke fun at Christie Blatchford's absurd anti-hugging screed, but Blatchford isn't the only person claiming hugging is for girlymen. Week after week, these posts receive a handful of comments from Grumpy Guses claiming that it's a less-than-heterosexual feature.
Well. I'll have you know that, far from being sissy affairs, hockey hugs are rife with manly danger. Puckstruck recently pointed me to page 138 of Andy Bathgate's Hockey Secrets, which reads:
Although I may be knocking a time-honoured custom, I strongly oppose the traditional mauling and grabbing which greets a player after he's scored a goal. This may be considered a display of team spirit by some, but to me it's nothing more than pure danger.
I've watched players embrace and hug each other every time a goal is scored. All it takes is one slip and the whole group will go down with skates flying in all directions. A skate blade can cut an arm or leg just like a knife. Sometimes even more serious injuries can result. When I was a boy in Winnipeg I once saw a boy lose an eye in one of those hugging demonstrations. Give a scorer a pat on the back or a yell of encouragement. You can show spirit without foolish mauling which can lead to disaster.
In short, hockey hugs are crazy dangerous, and not everybody respects the threat of personal injury by pointing his skates out like Wayne Simmonds.
More death-defying hockey hugs after the jump.
No. 5, Tampa Bay Lightning
Victor Hedman has no idea tiny Martin St. Louis is even down there.
No hug for Victor, eh? Well then I'll just stand here pretending I'm an albatross. Ca-caw!
No. 4, Tim Thomas and Henrik Sedin
The most touching moment of January's All-Star Game came when Henrik Sedin nearly ran Tim Thomas over, but instead the two of them just hugged away eight months of rivalry.
"My brother and I really like tea parties. You should join us one time."
"I Don't think you quite Understood what I was Saying in my Facebook statement."
"What's Facebook? Is it like Friendster?"
No. 3, Washington Capitals
After weeks of planning, Alex Semin and John Carlson finally exacted their plan to throw Mathieu Perreault a surprise birthday party in the middle of a game. He never saw it coming. Also he broke three ribs when they sandwiched him.
No. 2, Edmonton Oilers
Speaking of freak accidents, here's recent skate cut victim Taylor Hall, as he approaches his teammates with his mangled, stitched-up, ghoul-face. Cam Barker thinks it's way badass. Sutton looks downright petrified.
"What the [Gretzky] is that, you guys? OH GOD IT'S COMING RIGHT FOR US."
No. 1, Toronto Maple Leafs
For the second time in this series, Phil Kessel and Dion Phaneuf are this week's winners, topping the list for this bizarre image. As usual, Kessel is overjoyed. Phaneuf, on the other hand, is being jealous and overprotective.
"GO AWAY JOFFREY. NO ONE HERE LIKES YOU."