First Interchangeable Parts brought you a guide to the hot players on the Devils; now, on the eve of the Playoffs, we bring you the definitive (because we’re always right about everything) how-to guide to determining squee-worthiness in players around the rest of the league. Before we get started, though, there are some terms and conditions. We don’t watch any teams in the west, so they don’t count. We can’t watch the NY Rangers without streams of blood pouring from our eye sockets, so even though they have the odd hottie (hellooo “Handsome Hank” Lundqvist!) they don’t count. Flyers orange is such a heinous hue that anyone wearing it, no matter how hot on the outside, becomes rotten from the inside and is likewise disqualified from consideration. But those exceptions aside, we like to keep an open mind to as many hotties as the league can throw our way.
After years of study on this topic, we’ve developed a highly sophisticated classification system for hockey hotties. For starters, we’ve found the best approach is the approach that screams, “no shame!” Accept that we spend thousands of hours consuming hockey content and that at some point, there are more intangible factors at play than just dreamy good looks when we start objectifying hockey players. Skill is a big one. A charming sense of humor is another. Or finding out the player in question actually had high SAT scores. Or drives a Prius. We decided to set a standard across the league of minimum hotness a player has to reach in order to be eligible to be considered an actual Hottie, so we could be totally objective and completely without shame. No longer would we have to embarrassedly confess to crushing on Ugly McTurdface and suffer showers of scorn — if Ugly McTurdface was above this Mendoza Line of hotness, he was totally acceptable. But where to set the bar?
At the outset of the 2006-2007 season we found ourselves watching a ton of Hurricanes games, and discovered in their lineup our perfect Mendoza: Anton Babchuk. He sports Derian Hatcher-esque hair and No-Skill Gill talent, all while exuding an air of that Baby Ruth guy from The Goonies. In short, he’s really ugly. It is really hard, but not impossible, to be uglier than Babchuk. So if Ugly McTurdface could win a Tale of the Tape against the dynamic stylings of Babchuck’s Playdoh facial features and single-brain-cell physiognomy (although we’re sure he’s a very nice guy), there’s no shame in admitting him to the ever-growing pantheon of NHL hotitude. (It should be pointed out that the ladies of Interchangeable Parts are not exactly Helen of Troy, so no offense is meant towards Mr. Babchuck and anyone who finds it in their heart to love him.)
This seemed like the perfect solution, but it turns out it wasn’t. See, there are ever so many hockey games, featuring ever so many hockey players, and our attention spans are ever so short. And the only thing we’ve ever seen wrong with the length of the hockey schedule is that it basically forces the obsessive fangirl to adopt a sliding scale of hotness standards for the league. Guys who cause a girl to recoil in horror and shriek “Dear god, what is that thing?” in October start to take on a far more appealing glow as the dog days of February roll around. And again, there are those extenuating circumstances we mentioned before. The sense of humor. The leading-the-league-in-scoring-as-a-19-year-old. The Prius.
Thankfully the Carolina Hurricanes were there to help us once again, in offering up a newer, uglier baseline: Rod Brind’Amour. It is not possible to be uglier than Rod The Bod. (Again, we’re sure he’s a perfectly nice guy. Well… actually we’re not, but again, no offense is meant.) Perhaps it smacks of grade inflation to set the hotness Mendoza line at the level of the ugliest guy in the league, but it certainly makes life easier for the fangirl who wants to live without shame. Plus it paves the way perfectly for the playoffs, that special time of year that has it’s own Hotness Classification: The Playoff Onlies.
Playoff time places a lot of stress on a fan’s brain. There are so many stats to keep track of, match-ups to be dissected and feared, shifts in momentum, tensions between teams and players to be analyzed — all without thinking anything that might anger the Hockey Gods. So it’s only natural that the brain would compensate, using its resources to focus on important Playoff Matters, all while focusing less on upholding traditional Hotness Qualifications. Add to that an ever-decreasing pool of crush-worthy players and we end up with the crush that’s only honored during the post-season. Perhaps it’s that unsung fourth-liner who scored that amazing overtime goal. Maybe it’s the hoary old defenseman who threw that thundering check. Or it could just be a combination of our playoff-impaired brain and Ugly McTurdface’s features-obscuring beard. Whatever the case, it’s inevitable; we’ll spend a few weeks in the Spring swooning over some guy, then come October we’ll be horrified to discover what he actually looks like without all that adrenaline and alcohol (our “playoff goggles”, if you will) messing with our judgment. That is the Playoff Only.
Armed with our classification system you too can watch the playoffs and safely indentify those players who are hot and those that are not. And remember: there are no wrong choices. Well, there is one, but his team won’t be defending their Stanley Cup this year.