This is the All-Star weekend, which means for the vast majority of players, they get a long weekend off to spend with their families, relax and rehab their bodies, or get drunk, depending on who they are. (Or a combination of all three. Who knows? I'm not here to judge.) For the lucky All-Stars, they get a weekend in...Atlanta, where they take part in pointless but hugely amusing competitions and do stupid interviews.
So, I really like the All-Star game. But this weekend I thought I could celebrate better by doing my own personal All-Star event. I think I will call it "The First Annual All Hockey All The Time All-Star Ranking!" I like the exclamation point.
Our first competition will be Best And By Best I Mean Most Amusing Foreign Forward. This is a pretty tight competition, you see, because I generally want to shy away from "most amusing" meaning "funny-looking." (That's a separate competition.) (Also, frankly, there are a lot of weird-looking North Americans out there. Maybe they're all from Love Canal?) However, this is going to go in a heartbeat to Alex Ovechkin. Even if he is pretty funny-looking, this category rests solely on this video [warning: goes straight to video]. This is one of the most amusing videos I've ever seen, a bunch of the young Caps players taking a tour of D.C....on Segways. It's also one of the most bizarre things I've ever seen, since Ovechkin spends most of the tape zipping around like a nutjob, getting in trouble with the authorities, going "YEEEEAAHHH!" and asking "To find girls. Girls, where are you?" Ovechkin seems like a pretty hilarious guy to hang around with. (Call me next time the Capitals are in town, Ovie. We don't have any Segways here, but we can walk around Parliament and take stupid pictures with the statues, which is also pretty fun.)
Up next we have Most Funny-Looking Player. This is actually a close competition between the Sedin twins, Henrik and Daniel, whose pictures I'm not going to link to because they skeeve me out too badly; and Jason Spezza. I love Jason very much, and he is an outstanding young player who will one day have a lot of leadership potential, but I'll tell you right now I don't understand the girls (and there are a lot of them, believe it or not) who hail him as some kind of sex symbol. Because...no. Just...no. He ran a couple commercials for a jeweler here in Ottawa with the tagline "Dare to Dream," and they're just so hugely stupid and goofy and...He's a good guy, just he wins for Funny-Looking.
Now over here in this category, we have Most Useless European Defenseman. Duh, this is a layup for Karel Rachunek. Now, I adore Rachunek, but I fully realize his uselessness. In nine out of ten pictures, he looks stoned off his head. He has taken maybe three pictures while smiling in his entire life. When he was playing for the Sens, Jacques Martin accused him of being "unemotional" and "cold." And this was repeated by his teammates. From everything I've read, he's pretty well-liked, just...apparently has no feelings, EVER. Not that this makes a difference to me. I love him even in his uselessness. Even if I am the only one. (And really, he's getting better! The older he gets, the better he gets as a player! I'm not kidding, guys! He's grown up and filled out...hello? Hello?)
How about the goalies? They get no love. (That's a lie.) How about Most Completely Smoking Hot Goalie? (Yes, I am about as deep as a puddle, but I don't lie about it!) Now, Ray Emery got into hot water with management when he was photographed getting a tattoo and it was in all the newspapers (there's a long story that goes along with that about a bet about eating a cockroach off the locker room floor and $500, but yeah), but frankly, I don't care. Thank you, Sun Media, for putting this into my life. YEAH I THOUGHT SO. I could do without the funky little chin-beard he has going on there, but please. That's like critiquing the landscaping behind the Mona Lisa, people.
Like your goalies a little less flashy and flamboyant? How about a little Henrik Lundqvist? with your coffee? Yeah, I thought so.
He doesn't have ENOUGH hair for you? How about Roberto Luongo? Now, that one may be kind of an exposure-therapy thing, but seriously, "Bobby Lu" is so good he has men in Vancouver volunteering to dump their girlfriends for him. He is one of the best things to hit Vancouver in a long, long time, and they appreciate him every bit.
On a different, but still goalie-related note, we have Who Is The Weirdest Goalie? Now, this category is wide, wide open category because most goalies are on the express train to Bizarro Land with stops in Strangeville, Weirdson, and Completely Batshit. Will it be Antero Niittymaki, whose name I will never be able to spell right on the first try, who once let in a goal because he was too busy watching his own replay on the Jumbotron? No, that makes him Most Self-Centered. Will it be Kari Lehtonen, who was quoted as disliking the new NHL jersey style because he "saw some pictures of [himself] on the Internet and they made [him] look fat"? No, but maybe a close runner-up for Self-Centered. Twitchy Nikolai Khabibulin?
No, this one is a toss-up. On the one hand, we have the challenger, young Peter Budaj of Colorado. Budaj is from Slovakia, which is already one strike in the "weird" arena, but apparently he has abandoned ship and doesn't play for the Slovakian national team any more, which should drive Frantisek Hossa and Julius Supler just about insane. He has a drawing of Ned Flanders from the Simpsons on the back of his helmet. I can't call him completely crazy, though, because he did this one interview and won me forever.
On the other hand, we have the incumbent, the reigning king of lunacy, Dominik Hasek. I LOVE Hasek, like, a LOT, enough that it makes some of my friends uncomfortable. His autograph is truly one of my most prized possessions, although when I met him I was so completely in awe I couldn't even speak. (That's a good story, also the time Nicklas Lidstrom touched my neck, and yes, it deserves to be in bold.) But even I realize Hasek is a nutcase with a nutty filling. Hasek once attacked a sportswriter in Buffalo--like, full-on went after him and ripped his shirt. He has had an opera written about him (and, in fairness, the rest of the Czech national team.) There are pictures of him loose on the internet doing the splits in the shower. He is a big wrestling fan. He has a history degree and is qualified to teach at the high-school level. (I would not have missed a history class EVER.)
I think that about does it for The First Annual All Hockey All The Time All-Star Rankings! Stay tuned. My next entry is going to be all about food.