(Created by Ziggy Linklater & Kevin Minato)
Ahhh, that’s both terrific and loosely related to today’s topic, being that what Gary Bettman has the power to do to the NHL is terrifying in and of itself.
Last season we used Halloween to look at hockey’s scariest hitters. This year we’re going to go a little more big picture, and look at the scariest people from all the different parts of the hockey world. Below is the Backhand Shelf list of hockey’s scariest players, from goal-scorers to fighters, goaltenders and beyond.
Yes, Claude Giroux has a whole pillowcase full of tricks-not-treats for tenders, and Pavel Datsyuk always has something disgusting (Good ‘n’ Plenty’s? Okay, enough Halloween metaphors) to offer, but Marian Gaborik is stone-cold business. He’s an assassin. He may present the constant threat of utter embarrassment that Datsyuk does, but it’s only because he’s a cyborg built to have breakaways end in red lights with no nonsense. Jets on, head up, pucks in.
You get the point.
Guy to fight: Zdeno Chara
George Parros loses out because he doesn’t have the balance (oh please don’t tell him I said that), and John Scott loses out because…well, Jesus, Chara. Scott my be as big as Z, but Chara has been in ESPN the Magazine highlighting just how amazing his core strength is. Nobody is as strong as that behemoth.
Goalie to face: The Bruins (real) goaltending duo
There are a boatload of good goaltenders in the NHL. Some of them are very big. But some of the biggest and the best are just…I dunno…gentlemanly. I mean, Henrik Lundqvist, Pekka Rinne…they’re sweet people.
But the Bruins true duo of Tim Thomas and Tukka Rask are not only crazy good at stopping pucks, they’re, well…crazy, for lack of a better term. We’ve all seen Tim Thomas – in the midst of winning trophies and setting records – get physical…
…but don’t forget that Rask is a madman too.
Guy to have your head down against: Niklas Kronwall
You may not like the way he hits – y’know, with his ass and all – but you cannot argue that goddamn is it a terrible idea to bury your head when coming up his wing. Whether he jumps or not is debatable (is it him propelling himself up, or the contact), but again: seriously, chin up, fellas.
Defenseman: Zdeno Chara
And not just because I think he’s the toughest guy in the League. He has also has the NHL record (and therefore world, sorry KHL) for the hardest shot, and he borderline killed Max Pacioretty. He’s scary.
Coach: Guy Boucher
One word: Bond villain.
…Wait. …Ah, whatever.
The scariest part of Guy (generic, not real name) Boucher is how even-keel he can be, like something that rarely rears its scary head lurks below the surface. Tortorella is the default answer to this question, but I’m not afraid of getting yelled at. Hell, the man loves puppies. Pat Quinn would’ve been scary…there’s a million scary guys. But Guy Boucher has connections, and he will disappear you.
General Manager: Lou Lamoriello
You think Guy Boucher will disappear you? Lou will disappear Guy Boucher before Guy has the chance to. Guy answers to Lou, who only answers to the Devil, whom he sold his soul for three Stanley Cups. Do not fuck with Lou.
(Disclaimer: he’s actually a very nice man, I may be exaggerating based on his reputation.)
Straight-Up Appearance: Milan Lucic
It’s not that Milan Lucic is the ugliest guy in the League or anything, it’s just that…on straight-up appearance, you do not want to see him coming the other way when walking home at night. He rises above the rest of us puny humans, casting shadows that leave us in his looming dark. He is watching you. He will hurt you.
Happy Halloween, hockey fans. Let’s have your votes.