Hockey is a sport renowned for it's toughness and honor. The players who put on the gear night after night deal with injuries that would put lesser men on the mend for weeks. In-game stitches and dental work are nothing new to a sport that glorifies battle scars and artificial teeth.
I dare to say that ice hockey players are the toughest on earth. I don't think any sport demands the endurance and physical play over the course of a grueling season like hockey. The physical toll taken over a season outweighs every other sport, with a tip of the visor to football which shares a premise based on violent collisions.
If you want to get a fan base riled up, go ahead and call their star player(s) soft. In hockey there is no label worse than being compared to a bulk of Charmin or a basket of kittens. The term is subjective for sure and means different things to different people. I'll attempt to define it so that there is a consistency throughout my list for the players I include.
There is no disrespect intended to anyone. To play in the NHL at an elite level, there is an absolute inherent toughness that must be acknowledged. That being said, there are certain behaviors that will draw the ire of the masses and immediately conjure up images of rainbows, Charmin and marshmallow creme.
For those ready to jump to your players defense: durable, sturdy and reliable may be synonyms for tough in the thesaurus, but not on the ice. Showing up for work every day doesn't make you the best employee in the building, and certainly not the toughest.
So put on your mittens and handle with care. Sensitive material lies ahead. Try not to make eye contact and watch your step, there could be a basket of puppies or Craig Janney's hands right around the corner. Enjoy now!