Hockey Swag: Who Has It and Who Doesn't in the NHL?
NHL players may not express swagger like their NBA and NFL counterparts, but that doesn't mean they don't bring their own brand of cool to the ice on a nightly basis.
Swagger means something different to everyone. To guys like Drake and Lil Wayne, it's a business model. To others, it's just a brand of body wash. But when you boil it all down, guys that have swagger just drip confidence.
They carry themselves up and down the ice with a particular sense of bravado and purpose and always seem to do things with just a bit more flair.
So who has Jay-Z swag, and who is swaggerless like David Hasselhoff?
Most Swag, No. 5: Evander Kane
Evander Kane is one of the best young power forwards in the NHL these days. He's really started to cash in on his potential and has been filling the nets for the Winnipeg Jets in 2013.
What separates Kane from other young stars in the league is that he will beat the hell out of you.
Slash Jaromir Jagr a few times and you'll get a face wash. Slash Kane a few times and you'll get your block knocked off.
Just ask Matt Cooke, who Kane one-shotted, taking on the role of striking vengeful hammer of karmatic wrath.
Most Swag, No. 4: Alexander Ovechkin
Alexander Ovechkin loves to score goals like a fat kid loves cake.
He goes off the rails every time he nets one—thankfully for NHL fans that's been happening with an increased frequency in 2013—and you know when he's out on the ice because of his incredible churning stride and tendency to demolish other forwards from time to time.
Ovie isn't quite as rambunctious now as he was as a teen, but he's still one of the most swaggerific players in the NHL.
Most Swag, No. 3: P.K. Subban
P.K. Subban is all attitude, all the time, to the point where the Montreal Canadiens actually sat him down after he ended his contract holdout and told him to knock off all the extra stuff (per thestar.com)—like his traditional low-fives with Carey Price after a victory.
You can take the player out of the game, but you can't take the game out of a player.
While he's clearly bought into the new mentality of the Canadiens, he's still one of the more entertaining and bold players in the NHL.
Most Swag, No. 2: Henrik Lundqvist
The netminder was born to play under the bright lights in New York city and gladly fills the fashion expert gap that was created when things didn't work out between Sean Avery and John Tortorella (per torontosun.com).
When he isn't perpetually vying for the Vezina trophy, he's spending time with his Swedish bombshell girlfriend, playing guitar in a rock band and paying maids to clean up his penthouse apartment in downtown Manhattan.
Or his place down in South Beach, Miami.
Or the joint in central Gothenburg, Sweden.
Most Swag, No. 1: Patrick Kane
It takes a lot of swag to displace Henrik Lundqvist as the coolest guy in the NHL, but Patrick Kane manages to do so by a hair. If King was born to play in New York, then Kaner was born to play in Chicago.
Fans of the Blackhawks adore him for netting the Stanley Cup-clinching goal in 2010 and for partying with them whenever he has the chance.
He's calmed down quite a bit in 2013 and is terrorizing defenders around the NHL with his newly found focus, but once it's the offseason, you know exactly where you'll find this guy: loving life and buying rounds for fans in Chicago.
Honorable Swag Mentions
Pavel Datsyuk: He's so uncool that it resets the meter and makes him cool. Datsyuk is one of the funnier players in the game and is practically unmatched when it comes to doing awesome stuff out on the ice. That counts for a lot.
Tyler Seguin: He's quietly developing the reputation as a ladies man in Boston, and while his game on the ice leaves a little to be desired right now, his game elsewhere is apparently playing out well.
Jaromir Jagr: No one has made more money by playing hockey than Jags. Money isn't everything, but Jagr has plenty of attitude to go along with his piles and piles and piles and piles of cash.
Scott Hartnell: Good hair and good times abound for Hartnell.
Nail Yakupov: The former first overall selection might one day give Alex Ovechkin a run for the money in the "who loves to score more" race. Yakupov brings some snarl with his game and always appears to be having a blast.
(If you think someone was criminally left off of the list, make your case in the comments. That player could make his way onto this slide.)
Least Swag, No. 5: Evgeni Malkin
Something about Evgeni Malkin just comes off as remarkably uncool.
When healthy, he's arguably the best hockey player in the world, which carries a certain amount of swag by default. But there isn't a whole lot else going on for Malkin in the cool department.
Least Swag, No. 4: The Sedin Twins
Least Swag, No. 3: Patrick Marleau
Patrick Marleau has never been the outspoken leader that the San Jose Sharks always wanted him to be. Joe Thornton wasn't drafted by the Sharks and hasn't played his entire career for the Sharks, yet he's the captain in San Jose.
Guys with swagger have a "this is my yard" mentality to a certain extent. That's never been the case for Marleau, and there have always been questions about whether or not the Sharks can win a Stanley Cup with his leadership in place.
Least Swag, No. 2: Johan Franzen
There is nothing cool about Johan Franzen.
Mule comes across as a mouth breather and is as invisible off the ice as he is on it most of the time. He's one of the higher paid players in the NHL and one of the highest paid guys on the Detroit Red Wings, yet he brings no confidence to the table on a nightly basis.
And his nickname is Mule. Not the Mule, or a Mule or Cool Mule. Just Mule. Because he just stands there in front of the net and waits for pucks to enter his general location.
If Franzen isn't lame sauce, then I don't know what is.
Least Swag No. 1: Phil Kessel
Phil Kessel is a "just happy to be here" kind of guy.
He doesn't force the issue and doesn't seem to be aware that he has one of the best releases in the NHL.
The All-Star game fiasco is one of the most uncomfortable things I've ever witnessed, and while he took it all with a smile on his face, it was still one of the most swagger-free moments ever seen on television.
He could be the king of Toronto. Instead, he's the king of uncool.
Keep smilin', Kessel. Everyone loves the underdog.