At the suggestion of Earl Sleek and in the spirit of keeping FanPosts alive, I give you my eight hockey guilty pleasures!
1. The Player You Most Love to Hate
Teemu Selanne. There are some people whom I simply cannot stand. He's plays with some of them. He, on the other hand, seems like a great guy. But fuck him! That lousy asshole played like a gimp for the Sharks for two seasons and deprived us of one of my childhood favorite players: Jeff Friesen.
Fuck you, Teemu!
2. Other Than Your Own, The Team You Can't Help Rooting For
The Detroit Red Wings. It's interesting that their long-term success has coincided with a massive exodus from Detroit, which means there are Red Wings fans everywhere. I think that's earned them a lot of detractors. The prospect of going to a game you expect to lose and have to witness a load of happy Red Wings fans will breed resentment in a fan's mind. Hold that expectation and resentment for 20 years (that's as long as I've been watching hockey) and you're half way to the Dark Side.
But the Sharks have an interesting history with the Red Wings. Our first playoff berth was in 1994, coming off of a NHL record turn-around, against the cup-favorite Red Wings and we beat them in seven games. Maybe you're tired of hearing that story, but the point is that the Detroit Red Wings don't represent the same things to me as they might to a Blues fan. To me, they are the Dragon we slayed all those years ago. They haven't gone away since then, obviously; the Sharks have met them in the playoffs more than any other team. The Red Wings represent the best in the league and I like them that way. I wouldn't want our biggest rivals to be anything else.
3. Favorite Fight or Brawl of All-Time
I don't know about my favorite of all time, because there were some pretty gnarly brawls from back in the day, but here's a good one from just a couple years ago of Jordin Tootoo getting his face absolutely pummeled:
4. The Hideous-Looking Hockey Jersey You Secretly Love the Most
5. Your Favorite Hockey Cliché (terminology, traditions, announcer-speak, etc.)
So many of what comes to mind are pet peeves rather than favorite clichés, so I guess I'll go with "stood on his head." That, or "he left his feet," because it pisses Drew Remenda off so much. Of course, on the flip side, I'm tired of hearing him bitch about it.
6. The Injury You Couldn't Stop Staring At (Non-Skate Lacerations Only)
I must have watched Zdeno Chara put Max Pachioretty into that stanchion upward of thirty times, but there was one game in the 1995 playoffs vs. Calgary where Arturs Irbe flat-out body checks one of their forwards. I couldn't find a good video of it, but the guy's face gets all cut open on Irbe's mask and Irbe gets suspended for it, I think.
7. Your Favorite Cheesy Hockey Reference in Popular Culture
I like catching the incorporations of hockey into Kevin Smith's movies. He's from New Jersey and is a Devils fan, or at least he was until last year. There's usually some inclusion of it in one form or another (e.g. playing hockey on the roof in Clerks, the three demon children with rollerblades and sticks in Dogma, the Penguins jersey on the wall and working outside a Penguins game in Zack and Miri Make a Porno, etc.)
8. Finally, What's the Thing You Secretly Respect Gary Bettman for the Most?
His class. The guy takes all kinds of abuse and he takes it like a champ. After getting booed so loudly he had to actually shout into the microphone when presenting the Stanley Cup in Vancouver, he declined to respond with any kind of spite or animosity. But seriously: he needs to bring back home whites, get rid of the trapezoid, and do it yesterday.