Hockey Hugs is a feature that celebrates the best in hugging from around the sport of hockey, because who doesn't love a good hug now and then? Have you seen a particularly good hug photo lately? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet it to @HarrisonMooney.
Welcome once again to hockey hugs, the special moment where we at Puck Daddy pause to appreciate hockey's special moments.
Just as last time, today's feature is dominated by the Blackhawks and Bruins, and I have two competing theories as to why that is. On the one hand, it might have something to do with the dominance on display by both teams. Chicago and Boston have shocked the world in their respective Conference Finals, jumping out to commanding leads in series that most thought would be much closer. When you're scoring all the goals and winning all the games, you're bound to produce better hug photos.
But on the other hand, maybe we're looking at this backwards. Maybe better hugs mean better performances, and it's the intense post-goal embraces that are spurring these teams to greater heights?
Is it any wonder the Bruins are playing a substantially better team game than the Penguins? Look at the hug at right. This is a team in the zone.
I suspect Detroit Red Wings' defenceman Brendan Smith believes in the hugs-lead-to-wins theory. It's probably why, even though he's not in the hug at the top of the page, he pretends that he is, mimicking Jonathan Toews' pose to near-perfection (he needs to crank up the grimace) in the hopes of usurping some of that sweet, sweet, post-snuggle boost.
Pro-tip, Brendan: next time, find another guy -- you look weird. Let these next five hugs show you how it's done:
No. 5, Boston Bruins
Milan Lucic declines Sidney Crosby's request to also hug David Krejci.
"Beat it, Cros-butt. Oh man, David, I just zinged him so hard."
No. 4, Chicago Blackhawks
Andrew Shaw and Jonathan Toews recite the poem that summons The Bickell, a spiteful, ancient demon that they discovered, just before the playoffs began, dwells deep within Bryan Bickell.
"Change! Change, O form of Bickell!
Release the might from fleshy mire!
Boil the blood in heart of fire!
Gone! Gone! — the form of Bickell —
Replace with hockey stick the sickle!!"
No. 3, Chicago Blackhawks
Michal Handzus, role player, carries Patrick Sharp around the ice to greet the fans.
"Higher, Michal. I said higher! God, you're useless."
No. 2, Chicago Blackhawks
Patrick Sharp tells Marian Hossa a shocking secret.
"And he said, 'Your wish is granted, Patrick. On the outside, you shall be as beautiful as you desire. But your soul I shall gnarl forevermore.' Then he disappeared in a flash of fire and I haven't seen him since, although he sort of looked like Bryan Bickell, I guess. "
"I, uh, wow."
No. 1, Boston Bruins
Wherein Patrice Bergeron is bizarrely calm despite being hugged by a terrifying European giant and his tiny, raging sidekick.
Seriously, look at Bergeron's face. He looks like he's about to fall asleep in there. If Zdeno Chara and Brad Marchand were screaming in my ear, that is not the face I would be making.