NHL players and broadcasters make their business by giving paying customers a healthy diversion from their business life. Yet a decent smattering of those involved in the game will seize almost any opportunity to loosen up themselves and their colleagues as well.
Players, when appropriate, will temporarily cool the heat of battle. Announcers, meanwhile, will thread knee-slapping phrases and fervor to viewers or listeners with almost no limitation.
Here is a dazzling dozen of current on- and off-ice personalities who are some of the go-to contributors to hockey’s lighter side.
Paul Bissonnette is less of a player than he is a pugilist and less of a pugilist than he is an opportunistic, off-ice humorist.
With that said, during his involvement in the NHL, he has logged considerably qualitative and quantitative face time on any given network that covers his team or his league.
Flyers fans can only hope that, from his second year with the team onward, Ilya Bryzgalov is not as in awe of the demanding Philadelphia market as he is of the universe.
Sometimes, the Boston Bruins’ television play-by-play announcer gets a hard-earned laugh out of his audience. Other times, he draws a smirk and a head shake when he tries too hard to be colorful.
It doesn’t matter either way. Jack Edwards is simply one of those sportscasters who never loses sight of the fact that this is a form of entertainment.
No more questions need to be asked about a player’s lighthearted character traits when he manages to crack up his opposing players and coaches in the middle of a game.
That teamwork-related metaphor about scratching someone else’s back was never meant to be taken literally, but that did not stop Scott Hartnell during Claude Giroux's pregame interview. In fact, when Hartnell is not in the heat of competition, it is apparently a struggle for him to avoid amusement.
If only events like the skills competition occurred more regularly. Then maybe Patrick Kane would exhaust his inner child on the ice and thus better assure his Chicago employers that he has nothing but energy for business at the right moments.
The longtime Pittsburgh Penguins play-by-play man admits that his scroll of peculiar phrases has been painstakingly compiled through the years. The preparation is always worth it, as local fans get a simultaneous cheer and chuckle every time the Pens light the lamp.
A rare instance of a former player becoming a play-by-play broadcaster, Randy Moller is the energetic and cultured radio voice of the Florida Panthers. Like Lange and Edwards, he is about as likely to dish up an ear-perking expression on game night as a participating goalie is to make an important save.
Sure, almost none of his goal calls make a single ice chip of sense, but leaving everyone in dumbfounded confusion is one textbook definition of an eccentric character. Moller has his place among hockey's top humorists.
Anybody else miss the NHL’s densest individual combination of skill and spirit yet?
As was verified at a charity auction shortly before last season began, Panthers fans covet Kris Versteeg’s entertaining presence almost as much as Panthers management depends on his scoring.