Power Ranking the Best Nicknames in the NHL Right Now

Tom Urtz Jr.Contributor INovember 15, 2012

Power Ranking the Best Nicknames in the NHL Right Now

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    The NHL is a sports league full of talented players, and many players have affectionate monikers and nicknames that they are referred to by.

    These nicknames all vary in origin, meaning and tenure, with some being a lot funnier and cleverer than others.

    Here are the best nicknames currently in the NHL today.

24. Dustin Penner

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    Nickname: Penncakes

    This nickname is self explanatory because of the famous pancake caper involving Dustin Penner. (h/t Yahoo! Puck Daddy)

    The nickname is hilarious, and the Los Angles Kings' hulking forward has embraced it with stride.

    He ultimately had the last laugh because he ended up winning the Stanley Cup, and that is something he will be always remembered for.

    Additionally, when most people think of Penner, his lumberjack beard comes to mind, and we all know how lumberjacks love their flap jacks.

23. Matt Cooke

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    Nickname: Cookie Monster

    There are a number of nicknames on this list that make an allusion to the hit PBS program Sesame Street, and this nickname puts a new spin on the lovable Cookie Monster.

    Matt Cooke is thought of as a monster because of how he plays the game and when you look at what he did to Marc Savard.

    The nickname is an apt description when you take all the variables into consideration and factor in the play on words.

22. Daniel Carcillo

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    Nickname: Car Bomb

    Fox News Chicago helped explain the nickname:

    His fists are often thrown in anger, which can sometimes lead to suspensions and the combination of the two is best described as volatile -- kind of like a car bomb.

    That is an apt description for the rough-and-tough agitator who is a very explosive player. Carcillo is a player who will lay out hits that do a lot of damage on impact and then explode on an opponent as they linger in recovery.

21. Sami Salo

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    Nickname: The Finnish MacInnis

    Sami Salo is called "The Finnish MacInnis" because his slap shot rivals the blaster of the former All-Star defenseman.

    If anything, this nickname is a great compliment. Al MacInnis was one of the NHL's top defenders during his day.

20. Sidney Crosby

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    Nickname: Sid the Kid

    Sidney Crosby earned the nickname when he was still a kid in the NHL, and it is still an apt description. Crosby still plays the game with the creativity often found in kids who play hockey.

    Crosby reads the ice and pulls off moves that are sometimes hard to pull off in video games, so the nickname is very accurate.

19. Pavel Datsyuk

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    Nickname: Magic Man

    Pavel Datsyuk has been referred to as the "Magic Man" because of his amazing puck-handling skills. He is a true wizard with the puck, and he is capable of pulling tricks on opponents.

    He is a very talented player who literally weaves magic on the open ice.

18. Jonas Gustavsson

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    Nickname: The Monster

    Most goaltenders in the NHL fit the mould of standing somewhere between 5'10" and 6'0". Jonas Gustavsson is 6'3", and with all of his equipment on he is an imposing figure. 

    For that reason he is called "The Monster."

    Now that he is a Detroit Red Wing he will have the opportunity to come up big and have a monster season.

17. Jose Theodore

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    Nickname: Three-or-More

    Jose Theodore is a goaltender who has been known to give up his fair share of goals over the past few years.

    His last name, Theodore, is easily converted into the mock nickname "Three-or-More" because it thoroughly describes what happens to him on occasion.

    It isn't a nice nickname to have, but it is one of the best and most accurate ones in the NHL today.

16. Nikolai Khabibulin

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    Nickname: The Bullin Wall

    Nikolai Khabibulin was known as "The Bullin Wall," and it was a name that represented that the goaltender was like a brick wall.

    Nothing could get by the netminder while he was on the top of his game,

    The nickname is still popular today and it is often the headline or lede in a newspaper story whenever the Russian netminder posts a shutout.

15. Ray Whitney

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    Nickname: Wizard

    Ray Whitney is aptly nicknamed the "Wizard" because of his amazing playmaking abilities and because he simply defies the laws of aging.

    Whitney has maintained a high-level of play throughout his career, and it is assumed in a comical way that Whitney must be a Wizard who fills his Gatorade bottles with magical potions that allow him to be vibrant and productive.

14. Johan Hedberg

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    Nickname: Moose

    Johan Hedberg got the nickname "Moose" after he was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins in March of 2001. He had been recently playing in the AHL, and it was so late in the season that Hedberg didn't get a new mask painted.

    During his first game in Pittsburgh he wore his Manitoba Moose mask featuring a giant moose in the center of it.

    The fans quickly nicknamed him Moose and began chanting the nickname during games.

    The nickname has stuck to this day and all Hedberg's masks throughout the years have featured a moose.

13. Jaromir Jagr

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    Nickname: Mario Jr.

    Jaromir Jagr made his debut with the Pittsburgh Penguins during a time when the team was on the verge of becoming a powerhouse.

    The team was led by Mario Lemieux, and when Jagr's play started emulating Lemieux's, fans quickly made an anagram out of Jagr's first name to spell out Mario Jr.

    Jagr was still learning the language at the time, so he had no idea what an anagram was. The nickname still pops up every now and then these days, and it was a great that it stuck.

12. Joe Pavelski

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    Nickname: The Big Pavelski

    This nickname is an ode to one of the great cult comedy classics of the 1990s, The Big Lebowski.

    Pavelski takes on the role of "The Dude" as a laid-back individual who simply abides. For San Jose Sharks fans who know the movie well the comparisons are uncanny, and it makes this a solid nickname.

11. Joe Thornton

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    Nickname: Jumbo Joe

    Joe Thornton is a large hockey player, and his size of 6'4" and 235 pounds earned him the nickname "Jumbo Joe."

    When he skates and fully extends his stick while trying to break up a play he has a pretty big wingspan, akin to a jumbo jet. 

    The nickname makes sense in more ways than one, and it is one of the better nicknames that have been given to NHL players.

10. Alex Ovechkin

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    Nickname: Alexander The Great, The Great Eight 

    The two nicknames are interchangeable, and they are often combined when referring to Alex Ovechkin.

    Ovechkin is one of the NHL's top players, and he is one of the most creative and talented scorers in the league. His dominance upon arriving in the NHL was similar to the dominance Alexander The Great had during his conquests.

    Although Ovie has had a few down years he is still one of the greatest players in the world.

9. Brian Campbell

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    Nickname: Soupy

    This is another great hockey nickname that is very easy to understand.

    The Campbell's Soup Company is one of the largest soup brands and distributors in the world, and defender Brian Campbell happens to share the same namesake.

    It is short, sweet and to the point, and one of the better thought out monikers in the NHL.

8. Brad Marchand

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    Nickname: The Little Ball of Hate

    Brad Marchand is a hockey player on the small side, standing 5'9" and weighing 183 pounds. His nickname has been used to describe the way he moves with speed before he hits opponents.

    He is a feisty player and he is literally like a ball of hate rolling around the ice, seeking victims left and right.

    It should also be noted that Pat Verbeek had this nickname first.

7. Jason Pominville

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    Nickname: The Mayor

    Rick Jeanneret 's play-by-play call for goals scored by Jason Pominville spawned the birth of this amazing nickname.

    Whenever Pominville scores a goal, Jeanneret exclaims, "And the population of Pominville goes up by one more."

    This call then led to Pominville being referred to as "The Mayor."

    It is a very fun nickname, and many fans attempt to do an impression of the famed announcer whenever Pominville lights the lamp.

6. Marc-Edouard Vlasic

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    Nickname: Pickles

    Marc-Edouard Vlasic is affectionately known as "Pickles," a reference to the brand Vlasic's Pickles. This is a simple nickname that is hilarious and fun for fans and teammates of Vlasic.

    It would be interesting one day if Vlasic decided to become a spokesman for the brand, because the Sharks in turn could have some interesting promotions based on the partnership.

5. Paul Bissonnette

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    Nickname: BizNasty

    Paul Bissonnette is a fourth-line grinder who is the most popular player on Twitter. He cracks jokes at his own expense, his followers, the musings of the day and anything else he cares to tweet about.

    The nickname started from his original Twitter handle @PaulBizNasty, but when he was kicked off the site he had to reemerge under the handle @BizNasty2point0.

    The nickname is simply a rendition of his last name, but it a great nickname nonetheless.

4. Ilya Bryzgalov

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    Nickname: Mr. Universe

    Ilya Bryzgalov's nickname is another well-known moniker that is very accurate and hilarious.

    This clip from HBO's 24/7 does an amazing job explaining why reporters, fans and players have taken to calling Bryzgalov "Mr Universe."

    The goaltender always appears to be out of this world whenever he addresses the media, so this nickname is a great fit for Bryzgalov.

3. Jonathan Toews

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    Nickname: Captain Serious

    Does it ever seem like Jonathan Toews appears to be super serious at press conferences or during media availability?

    Can you recall the skilled Chicago Blackhawks captain showing some emotion recently?

    This fan video does a better job than any words could do to describe this nickname.

    Watch to find out why Toews is known as "Captain Serious" and why it is one of the NHL's best player nicknames.

2. Teemu Selanne

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    Nickname: The Finnish Flash

    Teemu Selanne's arrival to the NHL came in a flash, and it reminded many people of the superhero The Flash.

    Selanne had lightning speed, flashy moves and a rocket of a shot.

    When you take into consideration the amount of things that Selanne has done in his NHL career, and his abilities at age 42, this is one of the coolest hockey nicknames of all time.

1. Johan Franzen

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    Nickname: Mule

    Johan Franzen's nickname has an interesting story behind it.

    Via the Associated Press:

    As a rookie in 2005, Johan Franzen whizzed past Steve Yzerman on the ice. A nickname was born. The 6-foot-3, 220-pound Swede showed he’s more than just big when he scored twice and had an assist to lift the Detroit Red Wings to a 4-3 series-opening win over the Colorado Avalanche.

    "He’s big and strong and he reminded me of a mule that day,” Yzerman recalled Friday. “His offensive game really started to show up last year and now that his confidence has grown, he is holding onto the puck and making plays.”

    When you look at what Franzen has done for Detroit as a player, when you factor in the dedication and reliability of his tenure in Hockeytown, "Mule" is an apt nickname and an honorable one for Johan Franzen.