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 Puck Daddy feature that celebrates the big moment after hockey's big moment: the post-goal hug.
It's a feature that National Post columnist Christie Blatchford would likely vomit upon seeing, what of her recently unveiled campaign against the male embrace.
In her article, titled Toronto, City of Sissies, Blatchford details her pure, abject horror at seeing a group of preteen boys at the park greet one another with hugs, rather than, say, doing what preteen boys at the park could do, which is mug unaccompanied women like Blatchford. Curse us for training the aggression out of these boys.
Then Blatchford condemns a sissified culture in which men hug ever:
I'm just plain sick of hugs, giving and getting, from just about anyone, but particularly man-to-man hugs.
Safe to assume Blatchford hates the mere notion of preteen girls playing any outdoor sports besides Extreme House, too.
Also probably safe to assume this grinchly old grinch has never been on the receiving end of a hockey hug, because there is nothing sissified about David Booth and Chris "Kiss Huggins" Higgins bringin' it in for a squeeze up top. If there was, Curtis Sanford wouldn't look so gosh darn jealous.
And if hugs are for sissies, you tell me why Matt Moulson left that embrace with P.A. Parenteau with a moustache, when he entered without one.
Christie Blatchford, you are the worst. And hockey hugs -- a subgenre of the man-to-man hugs you so decry -- are the best. Let us celebrate this fact with the following five examples:
No. 5, Chicago Blackhawks: Speaking of playing house, here's Andrew Brunette and Jonathan Toews re-enacting a childhood nightmare. Brunette is playing the kid that's afraid of the mid-sized dog that always chases him home, and Jonathan Toews is playing his father, who comforts him while warding off the dog with loud noises.
"Get out of here, dog! Growr! ... it's okay, Andrew, I'm here."
No. 4, University of Minnesota Golden Gophers: Our number four hug this week comes to us via the University of Minnesota, during a game versus Michigan Tech.
There's always one guy who has to be the star of the hug, and Jake Hansen's pole vault into the postgoal embrace is a strong indication that he's that guy.
No. 3, Colorado Avalanche: I title this hug: "Jock and Nerd." Check out the contrast in Paul Stastny and Matt Duchene's facial expressions. Stastny exhibits pure glee, whereas Duchene seems to be in quite a bit of discomfort. Either he finds this embrace exceedingly awkward or he's just a very delicate man, and Stastny is crushing his spleen.
"Paul, can you ease up a bit? I have asthma."
No. 2, Philadelphia Flyers: Wherein Jaromir Jagr is a freaking rock star, even among his teammates. In this hug, Scott Hartnell reacts to Jagr's mere presence like a preteen girl meeting a Jonas.
"OHMYGOD I'M IN A HUG WITH JAROMIR JAGR"
No. 1, Nashville Predators: Appropriately, this week's gold star goes to two guys in gold jerseys, as Colin Wilson and Jordin Tootoo work to break down some of Tootoo's emotional barriers. Clearly, the Predators' agitator isn't quite comfortable with giving hugs, which is why he keeps his arms aloft. But damn if he doesn't love receiving them. Dude looks near tears.
"You can lower your arms if you want, Jordin."
"Do you want me to let you go?"