The 50 NHL Players, Past and Present, Most Desperate for Attention

Rob KirkCorrespondent IIJuly 30, 2012

The 50 NHL Players, Past and Present, Most Desperate for Attention

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    They say that there is no such thing as bad publicity. Allegedly. The advent of a social media revolution means that celebrities and athletes are more accessible now than ever before.

    For everyone of us that wants to see what our favorite player, singer or actress is up to, there is no better way than to just turn on your laptop or go searching through your phone. (Author's note: To all you young spark plugs out there, please don't do this while you are driving! You're better than that!)

    While hockey may have the most humble athletes of all the major sports leagues in North America, some of these guys do enjoy the spotlight their celebrity brings. The 24-hour news culture that we live in means that the anonymity that they may have enjoyed in the past is disappearing faster than free-agent defensemen on Ken Holland's wish list.

    Some players and personalities take every advantage of when the camera or microphone is on and remind us that even in the relatively humble world of the NHL, there are indeed some larger-than-life egos that are out there.

    While the coolest game on earth (yeah, I brought that one back) is played on the ice from October to June, some of our favorite NHL personalities are dialed in all year round. For a look at 50 of the most attention-seeking hockey players, past and present, click that button below. Do it, and as always, enjoy now!

Jeremy Roenick

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    Any guy with a nickname like "Styles" can't be lacking in the confidence department. Jeremy Roenick's love for seeing himself on TV must be in narcissist overdrive now that he is part of NBC's hockey coverage team.

Joffrey Lupul

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    Lupul is a beauty because he is relatively low key until it comes to the ladies. His recent lady-friend is a testament to how he really feels about the spotlight. Dating a Hollywood "reality" television star puts as many cameras and eyes on you as it does her.

    Trust me, I know. OK, no, I don't.

Sean Avery

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    Ever get the feeling Sean Avery just says crap so that he can get his face on TV? Me too. Avery figures he can stay relevant by bad mouthing somebody or saying something controversial.

    With a hockey career that ended before he wanted it to, don't expect many more candid shirtless closet picks from Martin Brodeur's best pal.

Alex Ovechkin

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    Nobody appears in more stupid offseason photos than Ovechkin. Whether it's with Mike Tyson, an awkward restaurant encounter with the First Lady or a Turkish billionaire's yacht, the goofy Capitals winger shows up in the weirdest places.

    Hey Alex, maybe you should see if you can show up in the third round of the playoffs next year. That would be weird.

Mike Milbury

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    Long gone are the days of beating spectators with their own footwear or even driving an entire hockey franchise into the ground.

    Now Mike Milbury can be seen on NBC Sports covering hockey. When he isn't berating players with random name calling, Milbury can actually be quite entertaining.

Don Cherry

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    Nothing says "Look at me!" like a a blazer that looks like Picasso vomit. But when you see it every night, what else can you do but stare? Don Cherry's NHL career consisted of one playoff game with the Bruins in 1955 as a defenseman.

    His wardrobe and outspoken disposition keep him on TV.

Ryan Kesler

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    Do you think Ryan Kesler didn't get hugged enough as a child? Why else would he feel the need to steal attention away from his teammates? It's funny the first couple of times. We get it. Then it becomes awkward and annoying.

Dion Phaneuf

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    Dion Phaneuf falls into the category of "Dating Hot Hollywood Actress," therefore everyone will look at me and take pictures. I consider it attention-seeking behavior since rich professional athletes can pretty much pick and choose whom they want to spend time with.

Chris Chelios

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    I swear toward the end of Chelios' time in Detroit, he used to invite cameramen out to watch him surf in California. Hey Chris, we get it. You're closer to 50 than 40 and still look good with your shirt off. We're still not offering you a contract.

Mike Modano

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    Modano fits into a sort of hybrid category as a player who hung around a year or two too long, also married to a Playboy model and waffled on retirement, Favre style. He's a good-looking dude with a pile of money and a hot wife.

    Modano recently chimed in that he would consider coming out of retirement to play in Minnesota. I'm guessing the Wild are keeping his job application on file in case a position opens up in the next 12-18 months.

Dominik Hasek

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    Long removed from his glory days as arguably the best goalie in the game, retired goalie Dominik Hasek recently spoke of wanting to come back. Including his agent, that makes approximately two people who are looking forward to that.

Patrick Kane

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    His Google image search looks like a drunken version of "Where's Waldo," but Patrick Kane insists that he doesn't have a drinking problem. With his offensive production down for the third consecutive season, Kane produced some of his most offensive work at a University of Wisconsin Cinco de Mayo celebration two months ago.

Sergei Fedorov

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    One of the first of the superstar Russian players to defect to the NHL, Sergei Fedorov could have been one of the most gifted and complete players ever. A good-looking, super-talented and versatile player, Fedorov excelled at the North American version of hockey.

    He also excelled at the international rock-star lifestyle of self-absorption, self-promotion, fast cars and beautiful women.

Matthew Barnaby

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    Matthew Barnaby played with a big mouth, so, naturally, his transition following his hockey career would lead to broadcasting. Barnaby has been in the middle of some off-ice incidents that have recently cost him a nice gig at the four-letter network. 

Roberto Luongo

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    When you are a top-five player at your position, doesn't it make sense to stay with the the team that pays you the most money? For as talented as he is, Roberto Luongo seems to have had a pretty nomadic career in the NHL, and now he wants out of yet another city.

    Never to be confused with the understated, Luongo took advantage of the biggest stage of his career to offer unsolicited advice to opposing goalie Tim Thomas in the 2011 Stanley Cup Final. How'd that go for you, Bob?

Chris Pronger

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    Chris Pronger has made a career of collecting jerseys (and pucks) from different cities as well. The 2000 Norris Trophy winner has made stops in five different cities, reaching the Stanley Cup Final in three of those stops.

    While his talent (and mean streak) has never been questioned, Pronger's ability to talk himself out of each city has left some hard feelings in his wake.

Jaromir Jagr

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    Once the best player in the league, Jaromir Jagr has never been shy about chasing the top dollar and stats to cement his legacy as one of the NHL's all-time greats. His return to the NHL last year at age 39 reminded us all how good he used to be.

    After his layover in Philadelphia, Jagr chased the dollar signs to Dallas.

Patrick Roy

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    With the resume and talent to back himself up, Patrick Roy was never shy about shooting his mouth off when a mic was stuck in his face. His most famous quote was in response to another loudmouth, Jeremy Roenick, during the 1996 playoffs.

Brett Hull

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    The only thing quicker than Brett Hull's snapshot was his mouth. The outspoken right winger certainly wasn't shy about voicing his opinion on anything. One of his more famous quotes was, "I don't like hockey; I'm just good at it."

    Spoken like someone who loves the sound of their own voice.

Barry Melrose

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    For someone who has been around the game for so long and done so little, Barry Melrose sure gets a lot of face time on TV. His predictions and analysis are typically as dated as his mullet, but unfortunately, he gets to wear the crown of ESPN hockey guru.

    Bad news for those of us without TSN.

Tim Thomas

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    Goalies are a weird breed anyway, but Tim Thomas continues to alienate himself beyond the realm of typical goalie weirdness. A very public boycott of the Bruin's White House visit, followed with a public dissertation of his political stance landed Thomas on shaky ground among Bruin faithful.

    His self-imposed exile for the upcoming season is his biggest look-at-me moment to date and will probably mean curtains on an interesting career.

Paul Bissonnette

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    Paul Bissonnette is the NHL's multimedia king. BizNasty2point0 is no wallflower, and he can usually be found at the center of a party surrounded by beautiful women. Not bad for a career fifth-liner.

Bobby Clarke

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    Bobby Clarke was a Flyers legend as a player, but not without controversy. Clarke played at the edge of the rules, heading the Broad Street Bullies to their titles in the mid-1970s. Upon retirement, he went to the front office where he continued to make headlines. His teams reached the Stanley Cup Final in 1985, 1987 and 1991 (with Minnesota).

    His contentious relationship with Flyers star Eric Lindros drew headlines after the Flyers' Stanley Cup appearance in 1997 (Clarke's fourth as GM). With the relationship with Lindros taking some very personal twists, Clarke and Lindros did not speak to one another for almost 22 years, until this past year's Flyer Alumni game at the Winter Classic.

Brendan Shanahan

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    One of the premier wingers in the league, Brendan Shanahan was never shy about voicing his opinion. With a new title (Sheriff of Inconsistency) in hand, and the backing of the league commissioner, Shanahan now has an even bigger soap box to shout from.

Gordie Howe

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    I hate to throw Gordie Howe on this list, but suiting up for the Detroit Vipers as a publicity stunt was self-serving and stupid. Granted, it was as much a publicity stunt for the Vipers to put butts in the seats, but it played to the ego of Mr. Hockey.

Wayne Gretzky

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    The Great One makes the list as much for his family as he does for himself. He couldn't be touched on the ice, but Gretzky has gotten pummeled for his post-career ventures.

    His daughter and her Instagram account, and his wife and her gambling ring, have kept the Gretzky name in the headlines for every reason but hockey.

    How has this not become a reality show? Growing up Gretzky would be television gold.

Rick Tocchet

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    Rick Tocchet grabbed headlines for the right reasons and the wrong reasons during his career covering 18 seasons and six different teams. Since he left the ice for coaching, though, Tocchet has been making news for more of the wrong reasons.

    Whether it is for masterminding a national gambling ring, or having large sums of cash seized at customs in international airports, Tocchet's name seems to keep popping up.

Bobby Hull

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    The Golden Jet Bobby Hull paved the way for his son's big mouth with an even larger one of his own. The elder Hull took advantage of being the first real mainstream superstar in the NHL, and he didn't mind letting people know about it, either. Blessed with charisma, good looks and talent for miles, the cameras and fans found the senior Hull in every city he played in.

Brian Engblom

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    Brian Engblom makes this list almost solely on the basis that while he played, his mullet wasn't nearly as obnoxious as it is now. With marginal skills as a studio voice, Engblom is more distracting due to the follicular abomination on his dome than his actual hockey knowledge.

Ed Olczyk

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    Another stiff that the NBC seems to punish hockey fans with is Ed Olczyk. He was a pretty good player in his day, but his hockey knowledge might be reflected more in his abysmal coaching record more than anything else.

    I swear NBC sticks Pierre McGuire on TV just to make us accept Olczyk as a more palatable color guy.

Dany Heatley

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    I won't touch the Heatley car crash incident that everyone knows about, but wouldn't you expect a life-changing event like that to add some humility? Heatley currently plays for the Minnesota Wild and has had a pretty solid career so far.

    What people remember most about him, though, is how much of a tool he is every time he jumps in front of a camera or microphone.

Ed Belfour

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    There is no questioning Ed Belfour's credentials as an NHL goalie. His induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2011 cements his legacy as an all-time great. Again, goalies are weirdos, so some of Belfour's "idiosyncrasies" can be explained that way.

    However, his offer to pay police officers $1 billion upon his arrest in 2000 is legendary. Belfour ended up on the police blotter again in 2007 in another alcohol-related incident. Let's hope the "Eagle's" induction will keep him out of trouble—and FUBU sweatshirts.

Jeff Carter

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    Los Angeles King center Jeff Carter has an equally impressive Google image photo search. Not quite at Kaner's level, Carter also manages to keep his carousing at a much lower key. He and his buddy and new (again) teammate, Mike Richards, were inseparable in Philly and seem to always end up on camera in (now) hockey crazy L.A.

Tie Domi

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    One of the best enforcers of all time, Tie Domi loved the spotlight. He fought anyone and everyone in the NHL, and he was best known for his battles with the late Bob Probert. While the little fireplug doesn't get as much face time as he used to, he remains one of Toronto's favorite adopted sons.

Mike Richards

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    Though Carter and Richards sounds like a drama we've all seen before, Los Angeles couldn't be happier with the former Flyers. Adding some Stanley Cup hardware to the resume will always help dispel the whispers that you aren't fully vested in the game.

Ilya Bryzgalov

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    The jury is still out as to whether the Flyers goalie is a savant or just a certifiable fruit cake. Bryz made headlines last fall for his epic appearance on HBO's 24/7 series. Then he made more headlines in Philly by sucking for two-thirds of the season.

    He finished strong, but Bryzgalov's quirkiness will wear thin in Philadelphia if he doesn't start showing he is worthy of the massive contract the Flyers gave him.

Alexander Radulov

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    Alexander Radulov is a million-dollar talent with a 20-cent brain. The Nashville/KHL forward decided to head back to Russia again after some playoff drama that got him and teammate Andrei Kostitsyn benched in the conference semifinals.

    Radulov recently signed a deal that will pay him approximately $9.2 million dollars in Russia, which is about $9.1 million more than Keith Jones thinks he is worth.

Carey Price

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    Playing goalie in Montreal for the Canadiens seems like it would be enough to occupy Carey Price's time. However, his recent discovery of Twitter can help him reach fans worldwide.

    Not to mention, that cowboy hat is about as big of an attention seeker as it gets. He's probably making up for all of the face time he loses by wearing a mask to work.

Claude Lemieux

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    One of the all-time clutch playoff scorers, Claude Lemieux was always a thorn in the side of his opponents. Whether he was scoring a timely goal or sucker punching an unsuspecting opponent, Lemieux was the type of player you loved to have on your side.

    Lemieux is probably best remembered for instigating the Red Wings-Avalanche brawls of the late 1990s, and his flair for performing best when all eyes were on him.

Scott Hartnell

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    Fan favorite Scott Hartnell certainly has the personality to endure the transition from player to former player. He is outspoken and loves the camera as much as it seems to love him.

    When he's not pimping his gear for (all proceeds go to charity), he's antagonizing opponents, their fans or just working on that sweet flow of his.

Tyler Seguin

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    A Stanley Cup at age 19 and pictures with an NHL Hall of Famer's smoking hot daughter can certainly do wonders for a young man's ego, but something tells me that Boston's Tyler Seguin doesn't need help in the confidence department.

    For a guy with a lot still to prove, Seguin sure isn't shy about getting face time off the ice. Seguin is quickly emerging as one of the bright young stars of the NHL.

Eric Lindros

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    By all accounts, this was the guy who was supposed to rewrite the NHL record books as the "Next One." His ridiculous spat with Quebec and then Philadelphia may have been driven as much by his family, but Eric Lindros seemed to be in the spotlight for all of the wrong reasons during his abbreviated career.

Pavel Bure

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    The Russian Rocket was an iconic scorer in Vancouver and Florida before fizzing out in New York with a bad wheel. Bure also brought a good bit of drama with him from Russia. There were also links to the Russian mob through mutual business "associates" of Bure.

    Not exactly good publicity there, Pavel.

Brad Marchand

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    Brad Marchand got a career's worth of partying out of the way when the Bruins won the Stanley Cup in 2011. With some table-top shirtless dancing, Marchand exposed his fresh new ink, which looks a lot like "Starley Cup Champians."

    A notorious pest on the ice, young Marchand has dialed back his antics off the ice since then.

Mike Fisher

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    Mike Fisher did the definition of locking it up, securing a trade to Nashville and then marrying his lady-friend and nuclear-hot country singer Carrie Underwood. File this one under the "My wife will have a more sustainable career than me, and I can retire earlier than later and still be set for life" clause.

    I seriously doubt Dallas Cowboy quarterback Tony Romo has any Avery-esque comments about Underwood's new beau. He seemed to do OK for himself, too.

P.K. Subban

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    One of the best young defenseman in the NHL right now, P.K. Subban plays with a high energy and confidence that treads dangerously close to arrogance. He certainly won't be receiving many Christmas cards outside of Montreal, but then again, he had a tendency to drive his own fans crazy with some careless puck handling last season.

    What opponents call cocky, fans call confident. If you don't want to get hit, keep your head up. If you don't want him to score, stop the puck.

Dustin Byfuglien

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    The big Winnipeg Jets defenseman dodged a major bullet this offseason when his court case for "careless boating" earned him two days of trash pickup. In the long and storied history of sordid Minnesota boating incidents, Byfuglien should consider himself lucky.

Drew Doughty

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    Surely winning a Stanley Cup and erasing the bad memories of an ugly contract dispute could keep the Los Angeles defenseman out of the papers, right? Wrong. A claim of sexual misconduct against Doughty during this past season came to light again after all charges against Doughty were dropped.

    Great for Doughty that the charges were dropped, but those aren't headlines you want your mom collecting for your scrapbook, Drew.

Claude Giroux

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    While it appeared funny at first, the sight of Flyers star Claude Giroux playing beer pong may have raised some questions about his "recovery plans" after surgery on both wrists. Giroux shows up on social media quite a bit, but not quite at Richards and Carter level, yet.

    His recent comments about Sidney Crosby can do nothing but add fuel to an already bitter and angry rivalry between the Flyers and Penguins.

Ilya Kovalchuk

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    Nobody is more impressed with Ilya Kovalchuk than, well, Ilya Kovalchuk. Nobody can celebrate an empty-net goal, demand a trade, forget to backcheck or sign an absurd contract like the Devils winger, either.

    Though he was remarkably and unusually team oriented during the Devils' run to the Stanley Cup Final, you can expect the Russian to go sideways if the Devils can't recover from the loss of their captain, Zach Parise.