First of all, before you read any further, let me just say this: Barry Melrose is not on this list. What is the opposite of false advertising?
Most of you were just going to skip the article and head straight to the comments sections to fling the obligatory, "You don't know what you're talking about! Did you ever even PLAY hockey??!!" comments that I absolutely love to respond to.
Trust me, I don't consider Barry Melrose a hockey pundit. I consider him more of a cover-boy for why the NHL needs to crack down on shots to the head. If you want to know what won't happen in the NHL, hang on the Mullet's every word. His prediction for this year's Stanley Cup Finals: Pittsburgh vs. Chicago.
I can see Pittsburgh, because they went into the playoffs hot the final month of the season and got Crosby back. But Chicago?!?! It's like he popped NHL 12 into the ol' Xbox and looked for the team with the highest ratings. I was actually shocked he didn't pick Boston. What's easier than picking a defending champ?
But enough of the Barry-bashing already.
I kind of like Melrose, actually, in spite of the nonsense he spouts. He is pretty well spoken, rocks some pretty nice threads and basically sticks up his middle finger at the hairstyles of the Western world with his 1987 "party in the back look." If he was on Twitter, and I don't think he is, he'd probably be a good follow for every reason—except his hockey expertise.
Here are the 25 people who I recommend you follow on Twitter. The categories that I considered when ranking are: humor, knowledge, interaction with fans, impartiality and frequency of tweets.
Twitter address: @NaokoFunayama
Twitter profile description: Boston Bruins reporter for New England Sports Network (NESN). Does some Red Sox baseball work in the summer.
Bucking the traditional Boston beat reporter, Funayama provides good insight into the Bruins and the New England hockey scene.
Twitter profile description: Associate Senior Writer for The Hockey News. Curator of The Hot List and other prospect-related entities.
Ryan Kennedy is someone who lives, breathes, eats, barbeque's and grills—you get the idea—hockey.
He's one of the more well-informed hockey guys on the planet. Expert draft analysis, great international coverage and active on the Twitter, Ryan is a must follow.
Twitter address: @jessespector
Twitter profile description: National hockey writer for @SportingNews, tweeting on the NHL and anything else that strikes my fancy in life. E-mail me at email@example.com
Super entertaining reads for the Sporting News and a Twitter junkie, for sure. Writing with a distinct New York flavor, Spector will keep you entertained before, during and after hockey season.
Twitter address: @paulinagretzky
Twitter profile description: I'm a mermaid. Under the sea.
Time for the gratuitous break from serious hockey news.
Very little hockey substance here. Her last name is Gretzky, though. This is almost like a Kardashian of hockey. Her dad gets pretty cross with her when the tweets get racy.
She stopped posting the MTV Spring Break-esque photos after Wayne gave her a good talking to. She has since posted a bunch more. This is kind of a Royal-family-of-hockey-feud.
Twitter address: @robkirk
Twitter profile description: Mark 8:36. Christian. Father. WP4L. Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. Check my URL, read my stuff, then tell me why I'm wrong.
Yeah, I know. I'm no Barry Melrose or Jeremy Roenick, but I can assure you I have taken less shots to the head and probably have a better grasp on reality than those guys do (in spite of what the picture reflects).
I've been following hockey for the last 30 years of my life as close as anybody else, and heck, I fit the description of pundit as much as these other folks.
pun·dit (pndt)n. 1. A source of opinion; a critic: a political pundit. 2. A learned person. 3. Hinduism Variant of pandit.
Opinions are like ______ everyone's got them and most of them stink...except mine.
Twitter address: @AlyonkaLarionov
Twitter profile description: Host/Producer/Observer/CuriousLady/MasterOfSocialMedia.
Not sure if Alyonka and Gretzky's daughter are friends, but I think it would be more fun if they were enemies. Larionov at least has an occupation that is related to hockey, so she can be on this list in addition to being a nice break for the eyes, no offense to E.J. Hradek.
Twitter address: @Jeremy_Roenick
Twitter profile description: Working with Philips Norelco to help guys go with a real pro when it comes to shaving and grooming.
I know some people are going to hate this pick, but Roenick is a no BS kind of guy. I like when they let him run his mouth, even if he sounds like a crazy person at times. Added bonus is that JR is the best player in NHL 94. Break out your Segas if you don't believe me!
By the way, Keith Jones would feature prominently on this list, but he never tweets.
Twitter address: @SheridanScribe
Twitter profile description: Covering the Wild Rumpus.
Sports journalism in America's toughest sports town. Objective writing and a wicked sense of humor. Sheridan is fair and objective, and often his home team's worst critic.
Twitter address: @espnSteveLevy
Twitter profile descrption: just a lucky guy who gets to co-anchor a little tv show on a small cable channel. morning skate w/coffee & clips · Man do I miss NHL on ESPN. I can still hear that music.....in fact here it is!! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SBfGwtmd0jE
Steve Levy used to host, and following his tweets, you can see he still follows the NHL even if his network won't show it.
Twitter address: @KevinWeekes
Twitter profile description: 2002 Cup Finalist,Former NHL Goaltender,Broadcaster & Co-Host on CBC Hockey Night In Canada, NHL Network Analyst,NBC NHL Overtime Analyst
Love Kevin Weekes. Always has great stories, and incredible insight from a goalie's perspective. His breakdown of the goalies this postseason has been amazing. He literally made me look at goaltending differently this year.
Twitter address: @craigcustance
Twitter profile description: NHL writer for ESPN the Magazine, ESPN.com and Insider. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.facebook.com/CraigCustance
With a regular column in ESPN the Magazine and appearances on hockey podcasts, Custance is all over the Internet and multimedia.
Twitter address: @MulinariPG
Twitter profile description: Penguins beat writer for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
One of the few Penguin writers who I can actually read without getting put into a Crosby-coma. Molinari will actually convince you that someone other than No. 87 can play hockey well in Pittsburgh. Thank you for that Dave.
Has covered the Penguins for the past 28 years and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2009. Surprisingly objective, great sense of humor, and entertaining writer.
Twitter address: @drosennhl
Twitter profile description: I'm the senior writer for NHL.com and I mostly limit my tweets to NHL news, including in-game analysis when I'm in the arena.
Great writer for NHL.com and active tweeter based out of New York area. Always has breaking NHL news and excellent in-game reports.
Twitter address: @tsnotoole
Twitter profile description: 170 pounds of twisted steel.
Jay Onrait's late night Sportscenter partner on TSN since 2003, O'Toole perfectly complements the goofy Onrait with martini-dry sarcasm and wit of his own. Active on Twitter as well, O'Toole is a great follow.
Any chance we can trade our late night Sportscenter guys for these two?
Twitter address: @rayferrarotsn
Twitter profile description: TSN game analyst , retired in 2002, had the best job ever, now have the next best job...
Though I couldn't find a picture of Ferraro rocking the Cooperalls in Hartford, just seeing the Whalers jersey with his mustache made me nostalgic. Ferraro was a pretty feisty player, and is now a great analyst for TSN.
An active member of the Twitter community, Ferraro isn't shy about putting his opinions out there and corresponding with the fans.
Twitter address: @Real_ESPNLeBrun
Twitter profile description: Official Twitter page of the ESPN.com NHL columnist and TSN Hockey Insider.
I'm personally not a fan of LeBrun, and tend to disagree with a lot of his opinions, but the man is definitely plugged in to the heart of the NHL. He's always active on Twitter and is usually the face of the NHL on ESPN.
Twitter address: @EJHradek
Twitter profile description: Sr Reporter for NHL Network/NHL.com. Host, NHL Live! Tracking pucks into the Darkness on the Edge of Town and beyond.
Former ESPN NHL dude, Hradek jumped to the NHL Network when ESPN balked at the NHL contract. He's a great writer and former NHL scout who used to host ESPN's webcast Inside the NHL. Hradek is a great columnist and blogger who is generally unbiased in his work.
Twitter address: @capgeek
Twitter profile description: Official Twitter page for CapGeek.com's Matthew Wuest. Follow for breaking signings, official contract details and updates on the cap situations of NHL teams.
Twitter page for one of the coolest and informative sites on the net. Check to see how much cap room your team has, or how much you're team is paying that scrubby fourth liner.
A must follow.
Twitter address: @ESPN_Burnside
Twitter profile description: ESPN.com NHL columnist. Almost always off-side playing men's hockey. Fearful of onions and heights.
Burnside is one of the ESPN guys who are pretty knowledgeable about the league. He's pretty objective about a lot of the players and his articles are solid, too. He tweets a good bit and doesn't hesitate to fire back at the mouth breathers who hurl insults his way.
Twitter address: @JayOnrait
Twitter profile description: Sportscentre anchor. My Tweets express my views AND Bell Media's views. Everything I say Bell Media agrees with 100%
I'm not sure if Onrait qualifies as a pundit, but he's an anchor on Sportscentre (that's right, with an RE on the end) in Canada, and that puts him ahead of most of the guys in the southern 50 states. He also looks like a serial killer in this picture. Bonus points.
His Russ-crush on Sergei Bobrovsky is legendary, and he absolutely gives me Sportscenter/re envy. He is very active on Twitter, and his work is all over YouTube.
He's been the host of the late night/2 a.m. Sportscentre with Dan O'Toole for the last 10 years.
Twitter address: @wyshynski
Twitter profile description: I'm the editor of the Puck Daddy blog on Yahoo! Sports, and a native of the great state of New Jersey. Did I mention I love booze?
One of the coolest pages on the net, the Puck Daddy blog is doing its part to get the NHL to the mainstream masses. Wyshynski also has a daily podcast with Sportsnet's Jeff Marek.
Puck Daddy blog is a must read for the daily hockey fan. Funny, edgy writing at its best.
Twitter address: @DarrenDreger
Twitter profile description: Follow TSN's Hockey Insider!
Right up there with Bob McKenzie, Dreger is another insider at TSN who tweets hockey 24 hours a day. Well-informed and well-connected, Darren Dreger is to hockey what Adam Schefter is to the NFL.
Dreger is usually the first to know when there are deals happening. With free agency and the draft right around the corner, he is a must follow.
Twitter address: @DownGoesBrown
Twitter profile description: Hockey humor blogger Sean McIndoe. New posts Tuesdays and Saturdays on DGB and in the National Post, as well as at Grantland.
No hockey Twitter list would be complete without the humor of Sean McIndoe. DGB is a sarcastic look at the NHL through the eyes of a die-hard Maple Leafs fan.
Don't be fooled by the sarcasm, because a thorough and complete knowledge of hockey is at McIndoe's disposal. Always up to date on the most recent and relevant issues, Down Goes Brown is a must follow.
Twitter address: @TSNBobMcKenzie
Twitter profile description: The Hockey Insider
Widely regarded as one of the best, Bob McKenzie is an analyst for TSN. He is always in the know and facilitates rational conversation with opinions that are always fair and objective.
Hockey Bob is very interactive with fans and files updates and breaking news for Sportscentre. If you want up to the minute NHL, international and total hockey coverage, Bob is your guy.
Note: Bob McKenzie is not related to the Bob and Doug McKenzie from the 1980's movie Strange Brew.
Twitter address: @Buccigross
Twitter profile description: Everybody Know Me: Bucci mane big cat, growin' up was real hard on my block..JohnBuccigross@gmail.com. A butt dial is not the same as a booty call
Funny, smart, knowledgeable and accessible, John Buccigross encompasses everything that Twitter was designed for. He sends out facts every morning about anything sports related, and if there is hockey on at night, pray for overtime when you can play Bucci's "Overtime Challenge."
His blog on ESPN.com is fantastic, and provides a unique insight to hockey beyond the NHL and how it has influenced Buccigross and his family. One of my first follows when I signed up for the Twitter, Buccigross always has something interesting to say.
Please note: In no way does the author receive compensation from John Buccigross for the excessive and gratuitous references to Mr. Buccigross' awesomeness.