August 15, 2011
(Ed. Note: Our series "Puck Daddy's Guilty Pleasures" features puckheads from all walks of life answering questions about their own hockey-related guilty pleasures. It will run daily during the month of August. Have a suggestion for a "Guilty Pleasures" guest blogger? Hit us on email. Enjoy!)
Today's Special Guest: Columnist Adam Proteau of The Hockey News, author of the upcoming book "Fighting The Good Fight: Why On-Ice Violence is Killing Hockey." (Wiley, Dec. 2011)
1. The Player You Most Love To Hate
My all-time favorite in this category is Ken Linseman, the original rat bastard of my childhood. And I think Steve Ott(notes) is cut from a similar cloth, so I'll go with him. Anybody who can motivate Dany Heatley(notes) to play with emotion can't be all bad.
2. Other Than Your Own, The Team You Can't Help Rooting For
Being a Toronto kid, I have a soft spot for teams that end decades-long Stanley Cup droughts, so I was happy for Hawks and Bruins fans that their suffering ended recently.
Other than seeing poor Leafs fans experience the same joy, I'd love to see a championship for the Buffalo Sabres; god knows the good folks of Western N.Y. have been burdened with the ass-end of pro sports karma for decades. They deserve a little payback.
3. Favorite Fight or Brawl of All-Time
Is this a trick question intended to out me as a fighting fan? My peacenik reputation precedes me, but I did grow up in the same era as my friend and bloodthirsty hound Jeff Marek, so I understand how appealing a genuine, spirited punch-up can be. If I had to choose, I think I'd pick a relatively unknown fight between Gord Lane and Garth Butcher.
Lane was a fearsome dude when I was a kid — not an obvious talent, but someone you knew other players hated to play against — and when he joined the rising power that was the dynasty-era Isles, he was that much more hate-worthy.
What I loved about this fight in particular was Lane's ultra-cocky move of sticking his chin out not once, but twice, with his arms at his side, to offer Butcher a free punch. And then Butcher following up a few seconds later with a couple quick shots that knocked Lane to his knees.
It wasn't a world-class fight, but it sure was nice watching Lane get his.
4. The Hideous-Looking Hockey Jersey You Secretly Love The Most
Try as I might, I can't let go of my affection for the L.A, Kings' purple-and-gold jersey from the 1980s. Loved the Triple Crown line back then, and now that I'm older, I love even more that they look like they're playing for Crown Royal whiskey.
5. Your Favorite Hockey Cliché (terminology, traditions, announcer-speak, etc.)
Don't know if this counts, but I will always and forever love Paul Newman's "We're working on it" line from Slap Shot. My favorite way for a player to tell a reporter, "beat it" when they ask questions about tactics that we know they'll never give away. We media slugs deserve to be told that sometimes.
6. The Injury You Couldn't Stop Staring At (Non-Skate Lacerations Only)
Can we call Tim Hunter's nose a living, breathing injury? I hope so, because I have never seen anything like it. There are so many crevices and unexpected turns on that thing, I'm surprised James Franco didn't get his arm stuck in there and have to saw/gnaw it off.
7. Your Favorite Cheesy Hockey Reference in Popular Culture
Lately, it's been the entire movie Score: A Musical, (a) because it was filmed at Weston Arena, one of Toronto's best old hockey barns and the place in which I grew up playing; and (b) because the film is truly an abomination.
I mean, I'm old enough to have had the hots for both Olivia Newton-John and Nelly Furtado, and yet not even the presence of both women in this movie is enough to make it anything less than the most blatant (and perhaps only) attempt to cross-market hockey with "Glee." Wonderfully shameful.
8. Finally, What's The Thing You Secretly Respect Gary Bettman For The Most?
Taking the high road when people call him anti-Canadian.
The strain of myopic Canadian nationalism running through the NHL does not behoove the league or the game, and it takes away from the real reasons the commissioner deserves to be criticized. Bettman is many things, but he most certainly does not go to sleep at night thinking of how to screw Canada, and I wouldn't blame him at all for being nastier with people who lobby that particular accusation.
Oh, and I also like him a bit for being nice enough to come up to me when I was in Columbus dressed in Civil War Gear. (Don't ask.) I think I'd already called for him to be fired about three or four times by that point, but he still went out of his way to say a few kind words.
That counts for something, I think.