#5 – Matthew Barnaby
The master at getting under peoples’ skin.
If Matthew Barnaby could fight with his lips, he would be heavyweight champion of the world. He’s quite a bit like Sean Avery except that he has the gift of gab, but not in a positive way. Matthew was famous for his constant chirping against any opponent no matter if it’s tough guys like Tie Domi, Donald Brashear and even Zdeno Chara. The man can certainly talk the talk but can also walk the walk as he would always stand up for himself when he had too. The man had no fear and is very courageous. His constant taunting made him a fan favourite with the New York Rangers.
He was also famous for his huge smile that players wanted to punch out because everybody knows what kind of filth that comes from his mouth. He is very quick-witted and he constantly used references from movies to his advantage to insult people. For example, he often referred to Lyle Odelein of the New Jersey Devils as “Cornelius”, a character off of Planet of the Apes. He used to also pick on minor league players coming into the NHL by making fun of their low-end paychecks plus he would always tell them that their teams will send them back down to the minors.
I really wanted to hear more of what Matthew said during his career but apparently most of the language was so offensive, it couldn’t be aired on television.
#4 – Ilya Bryzgalov
When you find out the universe is humongous big.
Ilya Bryzgalov; the entertainer, the jester and the philosopher. He is a man who has an imaginative spark to his personality. People crowd around him just so they would listen to his crazy theories. One of his philosophies is that Siberian Husky’s are like hot blondes because they’re both known for their beauty plus he has an entire theory on comparing outer space to life in general. What makes it funnier is that he has a college degree in philosophy.
Ilya is most famous for talking about his favourite subject, the universe. He’s always wondering how it’s made and constantly points out how big it is. One interesting note he has on the universe is that he compares how small the world’s problems are compared to the size of the universe. It’s interesting because that analogy matches his personality in the way that he is easy-going, calm and humourous.
Even when things aren’t going well for him, he doesn’t appear to be angry but he does get sarcastic. Even his sarcasm is funny because he makes himself the butt end of the joke and he is comfortable with it. For example, when Ilya apparently got benched from the Flyers for sleeping during a team meeting, he asked the journalists who reported the story on it to “look at themselves in the mirror” plus he told them that were doing “a great job of reporting.”
Ilya has a soft side to him. When it came to painting one of his masks, he decided to let his children design his mask when he played for the Edmonton Oilers. On one side, there is a drawing a goalie guarding and on the other side, it appears to be the 2014 Olympic games in Sochi, Russia.
I really wished he didn’t play such horrible hockey during the twilight of his career, otherwise we would of heard more of Ilya’s philosophies about things in life. He should write a book on it!
#3 – Alex Ovechkin
Don’t we love Alex in the all-star games or what?
When Alex entered the NHL in 2005, we was nothing more than a shadow to the hype that Sidney Crosby brought to the league when he entered with Ovechkin as a rookie. Fans found out right away that there are 3 things that Alex scores; goals, girls and interviews. How it sequenced was a lot like this; When he scored the goals, he scored the interviews. When he scored the interviews, he scored the girls. That cycle repeated until he got engaged to Nastya Shubskaya in 2015. Before that he lived the ultimate bachelor lifestyle in the off-season. Alex would show up to wild DJ parties in limousines filled with beautiful women and tagging alongside him is fellow countryman Evgeni Malkin. He also loves being a rockstar as he used to play in rock concerts plus he even tried his hand at rapping.
Around the locker room, Alex is a lot like Ilya Bryzgalov with his care-free attitude but he is more boisterous and playful. His antics make him a favourite on and off the ice with teammates as well as fans. One of the best moments of Alex was him making fun of teammate Alex Semin’s fighting skills using Nintendo Wii remotes. Personally, I laughed a little more than I should have but it was great. Ovechkin once interviewed rival player Sidney Crosby and it was comedic gold. He is also very funny at the receiving end of interviews as he always has out-of-the-box answers to many of his questions from interviewers. He has become more serious in the last couple of seasons but his fun side does pop up from time to time.
#2 – P.K. Subban
Welcome to Smashville P.K.!
He’s living the dream isn’t he huh? P.K. is a very special person. He is very special because he has the most heart and spirit in the game of hockey today. P.K. freely expresses his appreciation of playing in the best hockey league in the world by being himself. He has the most heart because he is one of the most generous donors that Montreal Children’s Hospital has ever had. In 2015, P.K. has pledged $10 million to help sick kids at the hospital. But it’s not like P.K. to just drop a pile of fun coupons and walk away, he actually gets his hands dirty by spending time playing with the kids and getting involved in the community. The kids at the hospital love his enthusiasm, energy plus he makes them laugh which is so important.
On the ice P.K. brings the spirit to the locker room as he is always getting himself psyched up during warm ups before every game. He is loud, energetic and confident plus his teammates feed off that. P.K. is very emotional and that’s good when you’re winning but has shown emotion in a negative way when things aren’t going well in the past. P.K. hates losing and has expressed frustration in the form of bombastic cursing and throwing Gatorade bottles in the locker room. Analysts have always said that P.K. Subban can drive your team to a win or loss becuase of his play on the ice but that’s only half true. It has everything to do with his emotion.
Another side of P.K. that most fans like is his personality shown on small t.v. stints. His best performance came when he dressed up in one of Don Cherry’s suits then started to impersonate him in a mock Coach’s Corner segment with George Strombolopoulos. P.K. is very lively, playful and happy-go-lucky when on camera and he is like that because he appreciates his life as an NHL player. He is a standout presence in any locker room you put him in as he is intrinsically motivated as he doesn’t need an outside influence to light his spark. With that personality comes with a dash of swagger and that comes when you’re as confident as P.K. You’ll see that swagger when he celebrates his goals on the ice as he’ll do a majestic celebration after he dishes the puck into the net.
There will never be a another person like P.K. Fans, teammates and everybody involved in hockey will miss him when he is gone.
#1 – Jeremy Roenick
Ladies look out! (Just kidding, he’s married)
Fiery, colourful and a true showman. That’s why he is #1 on this list. Jeremy was as great as a hockey player as he was a talker under the spotlight. He used to always establish rapport with fans by greeting them and signing their merchandise with his autograph. He’d do it more than any other player.
For Roenick, it was an understanding of what it meant to be the fan on the other side. As a child, he attended Hartford Whalers’ games; during one visit, hockey legend Gordie Howe picked up a pile of snow off the ice and threw it over the glass and on top of Roenick’s head; Howe then continued to skate around but looked at Roenick again and winked. Roenick recalled what a lasting effect it had on him and he quoted;
“I thought that was the coolest thing that ever happened in my whole life, it took three seconds. It was me, Gordie Howe and no one else…That moment stuck with me for years and years and years. It was little, it was small and it took nothing out of his power or time but it resonated with me my whole life. So, as a player, as I got older, I tried to reach out to fans, reach out to kids whether on the ice or on the street or in a restaurant. I try to do little things where I can make the same impression on a young child that Gordie Howe made on me. That’s a gift that was given to me. And I made sure I did it, every, single day. Without the fans, without their support, the NHL would be nothing, the NFL would be nothing, basketball, baseball, you name it right down the line … The two or three seconds you give each day to make sure you appreciate the people who appreciate you, goes a long way.”
Roenick was candid as he said whatever he felt like on the camera. He talked about his controversial views on the 2005 NHL lockout, made statements about the NHL commissioner and had a public exchange of words with Patrick Roy during the 1996 playoffs, a debate he lost.
Jeremy loved to gamble and was part of the controversial gambling stunt known as Operation Slapshot which forced Roenick, several NHL players and personnel to give affidavits to New Jersey authorities for allegedly placing bets on hockey games when they were playing and coaching in the NHL.
After Roenick retired from hockey in 2009, he took on a couple of analyst roles for NBC and he has also appeared on several cameo appearances in different movies and sitcoms. He lives the cameo life and just like every other role Jeremy had in his life, he embraced it and made the best of it.