Thursday, February 18, 2010

Best Names in the NHL

I was inspired by one of John Buccigross' posts on earlier in the season to look at great names around the league.  He looked at the top 5 names in the league, so I'm going to do it a little differently.  I went down the roster for each of the league's 30 teams and have picked the best name on each team.  Here goes nothing:

Anaheim Ducks - Kyle Chipchura.  I seriously considered giving the nod to Saku Koivu, but I've always liked Chipchura's name (even when he was a Canadien).

Atlanta Thrashers - Evander Kane.  He should be a great world leader with a name like that.  Vyacheslav (Slava) Kozlov nearly got the nod for having the best first name in the history of hockey, and Johnny Oduya also received some consideration.

Boston Bruins - Tuuka Rask.  Easiest choice in the league.  No one else on the roster comes close.

Buffalo Sabres - Jochen Hecht.  From the easiest to one of the hardest, and not for good reasons.  There is a real lack of name talent on this roster.  Jason Pominville is the only one who comes close.

Calgary Flames - Eric Nystrom.  Jewish kid from Long Island with a Swedish name.  Miikka Kiprusoff was an overwhelming favorite, but Nystrom came out of nowhere for the win.

Carolina Hurricanes - Tuomo Ruutu.  The NY Yankees of names, and Ruutu bats cleanup. (You thought I could pick against a guy named Tuomo? COME ON!)  Also receiving votes: Rod Brind'Amour, Jussi Jokinen, Joni Pitkanen, Tom Kostopoulos, and Stephane Yelle.

Chicago Blackhawks - Dustin Byfuglien.  Nicklas Hjalmarsson was edged out in a photo finish.  Hard to ignore him with a name lack that and the hits he delivers on the Chicago blue line.

Colorado Avalanche - Brandon Yip.  His name is an accurate description of his play, which is why he ended up on my fantasy team.  Wojtek Wolski also received consideration.

Columbus Blue Jackets - Fedor Tyutin.  Great name and a great guy.  Wish he was still on the Rangers...for his world class name and his staunch defense.

Dallas Stars - Kari Lehtonen and Jere Lehtinen.  Have to agree with Bucci that Brunnstrom is a top name, but it's hard to ignore teammates whose names are both great hockey names and are homonyms.

Detroit Red Wings - Valtteri Filppula.  Niklas Kronwall is an outstanding name for a blue liner with heavy hits, but Filppula is an outstanding name.  Period.

Edmonton Oilers - Nikolai Khabibulin.  Few nicknames have been better than the Bulin Wall, and that helped eek out the victory over Lubomir Visnovsky.

Florida Panthers - Kamil Kreps.  I think he should have a cafe somewhere.  Nothing else.

Los Angeles Kings - Jonathan Quick.  Simple yet deadly.  Cat-like.  Andrei Loktionov was little competition for Quick and his glove hand.

Minnesota Wild - Cal Clutterbuck.  Clutterbuck ran away from the field on this one.  Also rans were Antti Miettinen and Guillaume Latendresse.

Montreal Canadiens - Roman Hamrlik.  He hits like a hammer...or at least used to before he got old.

Nashville Predators - Jordin Tootoo.  Best name for a tough guy in the league right now.  It was VERY hard to leave Pekka Rinne off, but Tootoo had more determination.

New Jersey Devils - Pierre-Luc Latourneau Leblond.  PL3 beat out Edmonton's Jeff Drouin-Deslauries in the longest name competition, and Jamie Langenbrunner was no competition on the home front.

New York Islanders - Matt Moulson.  A hockey player named after Canadian beer?  Match made in heaven.  Sad for Kyle Okposo, Jeff Tambellini, and Jesse Joenssu that they had no shot.

New York Rangers - Enver Lisin.  It's easy for me to envision John Tortorella yelling at the young Russian winger, "Don't you Enver Lisin?!?!"  Olli Jokinen (for being Finnish) and Vaclav Prospal (for having a name that sounds like Vaclav Havel) finished on the podium as well.

Ottawa Senators - Anton Volchenkov.  He just sounds like a monster...and he beat out Tuomo Ruutu's big brother, Jarkko.

Philadelphia Flyers - Kimmo Timonen.  A real lack of name talent here.  Only Ian Laperriere even made it onto the ballot with Timmonen.

Pittsburgh Penguins - Ruslan Fedotenko.  A Canadian friend of mine fought for Marc-Andre Fleury here, but there was no way I could pick a goalie who's called 'Flowers'.

San Jose Sharks - Marc-Edouard Vlasic.  His teammates call him Pickles.  That's reason enough for him to get the win over Niclas Wallin and Devin Setoguchi.

St. Louis Blues - Keith Tkachuk.  1st Round KO...over the entire team.

Tampa Bay Lightning - Zenon Konopka.  Late bloomer, but quickly becoming a fan favorite.

Toronto Maple Leafs - Dion Phaneuf.  Strong defensive corp with Francois Beauchemin and Garnet Exelby, but Phaneuf is the winner.

Vancouver Canucks - Darcy Hordichuk.  There's just something about names that end in -chuk.  they're made for hockey.  Pesky fighter Rick Rypien finished a close 2nd in voting.

Washington Capitals - Mike Knuble.  For a team so deep with talent, they really lack any semblance of name talent.  They actually have more name failures, like Alex Semin, than worthy competitors.

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