Archive for the ‘Badasses’ Category

2011-12 winner Max Pacioretty demonstrates how to be awesome

2011-12 winner Max Pacioretty demonstrates how to be awesome


The Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy is voted on annually by the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association and awarded to the NHL player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey. The writers have their work cut out for them this year, since all three finalists are unquestionably worthy of the award.

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Todd Fedoruk, all-time facial fracture champion.


Your face is made up of fourteen bones, just about all of which will break when met with a swift hockey puck (or fist, or stick, or ice). Not all facial fractures need surgery, but when they do they can lead to impressive postoperative CT scans, learning to be okay with a visor, and a new style of play.

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Konopka is trying to decide between hooking Lupul or just stuffing his stick under his visor.

While Joffrey Lupul may not be a top level player according to KHL standards, he’s a top badass according to Quiet Room standards. He didn’t meet their criteria for national or Olympic experience, isn’t a Stanley Cup winner, hasn’t won anything at the NHL awards banquet (seriously, THAT qualifies you to play in the KHL?), and couldn’t even make it based on number of games played having missed most of 2009-10 and a healthy chunk of 2010-11 with a back injury.

The back injury is exactly the reason Joffrey Lupul is Tougher Than You ™. What began as back spasms toward the end of 2009-10 Ducks’ training camp evolved into pain and numbness in his right leg, loss of power, and eventually injections in attempts to calm the symptoms. Lupul missed several games at the end of November, and after consulting specialists and having an MRI it became clear that the problem – a herniated disc in his back – wasn’t going to solve itself. Read the rest of this entry »

From Russia with Shove It

It's not Stanley, but that doesn't make it meaningless.

The hardest thing about the lockout is the lack of options.

Since September, NHL fans have been screaming for an option, but we don’t have one. We have other hockey we can watch, but the constellation of forces the NHL controls- in this case, not just the elite level of play, the famous franchises, and the Stanley Cup, but also its web of television rights and luxurious arenas- cannot be replicated by any other league. This, objectively, sucks, and fans aren’t shy about saying so. We bitch and moan and whine and fret and lament to the heavens how tragic it is that our hearts should be beholden to this imploding League. We hate that we’ll have to come back after this lockout just like we did after the last, but it’s not just the fans that the NHL is counting on. It’s also the players, vast numbers of whom will come back as well. Like the spectators, most players have no other choice they can imagine exercising. Like us, their only option is to wait, and hope.

But there are a fortunate few who seem to think they have an alternate option. In recent weeks, as the lockout rhetoric has amped up, some Russian players have given interviews suggesting that, in their minds, the NHL is not necessarily the end all and be all of hockey. Ilya Bryzgalov commented, quite practically, that the money to be made in the KHL was good and that there’s something nice about playing in your own country. Kovalchuk and Ovechkin stated that, if there was a significant cut in their salaries under the new CBA, they would consider staying in Russia. And most recently, Sergei Kostitsyn expressed a certain lack of enthusiasm for North American life, and said that as far as he was concerned, a long lockout wouldn’t be such a terrible fate.

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Welcome to the internet, official home of the dichotomy. Twitter commentary and the gratification that comes with instantaneous analysis means the middle ground has been eradicated from our lives. We can glue the goat horns on anyone well before a game is lost. We can praise a player for a step forward well before they take their two steps back. And we love it.

What follows from this is all players are lumped into a love ‘em or hate ‘em category. Think of the best players in the world. You will find that 99.9999% of them fall well short of a unanimous opinion. Sidney Crosby, Alexander Ovechkin, the Sedin twins, Steven Stamkos, Claude Giroux, etc. Go down the list and it is apparent that there are plenty of human beings who are not ‘avin what these guys are bringin’.

Love ‘em or hate ‘em? Do or do not. There is no try.

I would like to posit, however, that there is one throwback left. The one player left in this generation who we can all agree on. Who we all watch while we sit back and smirk and think “Yeah, this guy. He’s awesome.”

Pavel Datsyuk.
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If this doesn't make you want to barf/pass out/scream just a little, then there's something basically wrong with you.


February 10th, 2008

Buffalo, NY

Midway through the third period, the Florida Panthers are trailing the Sabres by one goal. Olli Jokinen nails Clarke MacArthur in Buffalo’s end, but trips over his legs as he falls. As Jokinen’s skates come up off the ice, Richard Zednik skates directly into one of them. With his neck. Hard. Zednik falls to the ice, but the first massive spray of arterial blood hits before he does. He grabs the right side of his neck, and flies toward the bench. He’s met on the ice by Florida trainer Dave Zenobi, who immediately holds pressure on his neck. Teammate Jassen Cullimore skates in to help him off the ice, and one of Buffalo’s training staff runs in with more towels, frantically signaling for help. Buffalo team physician Leslie Bisson meets the panicked group in the tunnel, and as they half-drag/half-carry Zednik to the dressing room, the Florida bench and surrounding fans are yelling for more medical staff. Read the rest of this entry »

"Bauer Bumps." Yes, I have huge, gross feet, and yes, taking a picture of your heel is hard.

The sport of hockey shapes the landscape of a player’s body over time, and not necessarily for the better. In fact, it kinda makes us semi-mutants.

While your average rec player may not get the chance to look like Ryan Kesler or Zdeno Chara in ESPN the Magazine – lean, athletic, and cut – most of us do have a few other things in common. Let’s take a look, shall we?


Bauer Bumps (Shown above – the technical term is “Haglund’s Deformity,” also occasionally referred to as heel spurs. In the years since I’ve stopped playing, they’ve gone down considerably. I wear sandals every day and live in the desert. Please ignore the rest of my foot.) Read the rest of this entry »