NHL and Its Lady Fans: The 2011 NHL All-Sexy Team
Ladies, raise your hands (or in this case, leave a comment) if you agree it's about darned time the female population of Bleacher Report got its own B/R Swagger article to drool over and enjoy.
Well, if you agree, and you love hockey, you will love my selections for the first ever NHL All-Sexy Team.
I have spoken with other female hockey fans and done my own research as to who are the most attractive players in the NHL. After researching, I took these players and narrowed them down into this very special "team."
The players in this slideshow have two things in common: hockey ability and good looks.
However, several things make them different from each other. They may have hobbies outside of hockey that would make good conversation starters. They may be family men. They also participate in community service projects that gives them a more human side. How are you not attracted to a player who poses for pictures at the children's hospital, for example?
Without further ado, here is who I have selected for this special list.
And as always, if you think I have left anyone out, please feel free to comment. Who says we can't do a second edition of this, right?
Ryan Kesler, Center: Vancouver Canucks
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I really hope that the picture of Kesler on the introductory slide caught your attention. Otherwise, I suggest you just stop reading.
You have to love how Kesler is brave enough to strip down to almost nothing for a photo shoot for his fashion line, RK17. The line is run through clothing manufacturer FirstStar.
When he is not busy making waves in the fashion world, Kesler is tearing up the Canucks lineup. He has 33 goals and 58 points this season and is third on the Canucks in scoring. He was a 2010 USA Olympian and a 2011 NHL All-Star. He is also one of Vancouver's alternate captains.
In December, Kesler was by his wife Andrea's side as she gave birth to their second child, a son they named Ryker. They also have a daughter named Mikayla.
Ladies, if you are reading this and happen to be pregnant or are entertaining the thought of having children, I would suggest hiring Kesler as your labor coach. Surely your significant other would understand if you told him to just do nothing but stand off to the side as Kesler encouraged you to breathe through the labor pains, right?
Tim Brent, Center: Toronto Maple Leafs
Tim Brent is a relative unknown in the NHL community, but wouldn't you like to get to know him?
Brent has just 14 points with the Leafs this season, but he has contributed in other ways.
In a game against the Carolina Hurricanes earlier this year, Brent blocked three shots with his body during a Hurricanes five-on-three power play. As if that weren't enough, he kept the Canes off the board by diving to the ice and clearing the puck from the Leafs zone while laying on his stomach.
The fans went ballistic, and so should you.
If Brent can block shots like that on the ice, can you imagine what he would do for you if he saw someone trying to harm you on a dark street?
Sure, Brent is just 6'0" and weighs 188 pounds, but he is clearly not afraid to put himself on the line to protect others. Who knew that beneath the squeaky clean blonde hair and sweet smile that there was somewhat of a tough guy?
Jeff Skinner, Center: Carolina Hurricanes
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Skinner was drafted in the 2010 NHL draft, and he made the Hurricanes roster right away.
He has become one of the top rookie forwards in the league and currently has 49 points, which leads all NHL rookies, and is second on Carolina in scoring.
During the NHL All-Star Game, the league went as far as to compare Skinner to teen pop superstar Justin Bieber.
Let it be made known that I think Bieber is about as exciting as watching beige paint dry.
However, Skinner's adorable smile and the way he has taken the Hurricanes by storm (no pun intended) is enough for me to feel that he should dethrone Bieber as the top teenager in charge. The NHL is always looking to grow its fanbase, right?
I just hope it's not too dirty that he's all of 18 and here I am in my mid 20s thinking he is absolutely adorable.
Jonathan Toews, Center: Chicago Blackhawks
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Toews, known as "Captain Serious," is the youngest active captain in the NHL.
At just 23 years of age, he is already a member of the Triple Gold Club. This organization is reserved for players who have won an Olympic gold medal, a Stanley Cup and a World Championships gold medal. He also won the Conn Smythe Trophy last year.
He is the Blackhawks' leading scorer with 65 points this season.
Toews was also responsible for giving a motivational speech during the first intermission of a February game with the St. Louis Blues. The Hawks were down 2-0 after the first, but Toews' speech inspired them to put up a four-goal second period to take over the game and win 5-3.
His teammates did not give specifics of his speech, but they said he had a lot to say and that his words meant a lot to the team.
If it is possible for you to pair off with Toews, you shouldn't miss the chance. If he can motivate his teammates, some of whom have more NHL experience than him, to win a game, can you imagine being able to cry on his shoulder after a bad day? He would make you feel better right away and prepare you to get back out there and tackle the world.
Furthermore, your dad would love that you found a man who is already very accomplished at such a young age and makes $6.5 million a year to boot.
Antoine Vermette, Center: Columbus Blue Jackets
Dale MacMillan/Getty Images
Although Columbus is an inconsistent hockey team with more downs than ups, Vermette is one of the sure good things about watching the Blue Jackets.
He was traded to Columbus in the 2008-09 season and became a key player as the Jackets made the postseason for the first time in franchise history. He had 13 points in 17 games after being traded. He got even better in 2009-10, posting 65 points and setting a new career high in points and goals (27).
This year, he is fifth on the Jackets with 39 points.
I don't know much about Vermette's off-ice personality, but I do know this:
That hair is to die for. I just want to run my fingers through it.
Ryan Malone, Left Wing: Tampa Bay Lightning
Malone started his career with the Pittsburgh Penguins by becoming the first Pittsburgh born player to play for the hometown team.
During the 2008 Stanley Cup Finals against the Detroit Red Wigs, Malone suffered a broken nose in Game 1. His nose got damaged again in Game 5, but he again pushed through the pain to help the Penguins win in three overtimes.
No, he's not the first NHL player to do this. However, it's hard to not admire the sacrifices he made for his team, even if the Penguins ended up losing the Stanley Cup.
He is now in his third season with the Lightning and has 34 points, good for fifth on the team in scoring.
As you can see in this picture, Malone has a great physique (he checks in at 6'4" and 219 pounds), and he is well known for his tattoos. A plethora of tattoos can give even the nicest guys a little bit of a tough guy edge.
Malone is also a family man. He has two sons, William and Cooper.
If you have no problem with a man with body art, Malone is your type.
Mike Fisher, Center: Nashville Predators
Fisher and country singer Carrie Underwood are one of the hottest couples in the NHL, and I can see why Carrie might have been attracted to him.
Fisher spent his entire career in Ottawa prior to being moved to Nashville this season. From 1999 to the time of his trade, he had 348 points in 675 games with the Senators. He was also nominated for the 2006 Selke Trophy after posting 44 points and a plus-23 in the regular season.
Since coming to Nashville, he has four points and a minus-five rating in 13 games.
Hockey in Nashville was surprisingly successful before Fisher came to town, but now that he has joined his wife, these two should help the Predators gain even more fans.
Mike Comrie, Center: Pittsburgh Penguins
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Comrie, better known as Mr. Hilary Duff, has spent his NHL career in Edmonton, Phoenix, Ottawa and Long Island. He arrived in Pittsburgh prior to this season.
Unfortunately, Comrie's last few seasons have mostly been a struggle with injuries and illness. The last time he came even close to playing a full season was his 2007-08 campaign with the Islanders, when he had 49 points in 76 games.
He played just 16 games for the Penguins this year and posted five points before landing on the injured reserve when he needed hip surgery.
However, he is currently skating with the team and preparing to make his return to the lineup.
One can only hope that Hilary makes a visit to the Consol Energy Center when he is playing again.
Will you be there with her to catch a glimpse at her husband?
Matt Moulson, Left Wing: New York Islanders
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It's not easy being an Islanders fan these days. The team is having financial struggles, everyone wants your team to be relocated and, oh yeah, they're in 14th place in the Eastern Conference and will miss the playoffs again.
But when you have a player like Matt Moulson, maybe watching hockey on the Island is a little less painful.
Moulson has 43 points this year and is second on the team in scoring behind John Tavares. He is close to matching his 48 point total from his rookie season in 2009-10.
Although Moulson needed a little time to find his way, playing a brief stint with the Los Angeles Kings after being drafted by the Penguins, it's safe to say he is comfortable on the Island.
Moulson was also drafted by the Rochester Knighthawks in the National Lacrosse League draft.
Last summer, he married the sister of Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick.
A two-sport athlete and the potential to be part of the family with two NHL connections?
Taylor Pyatt, Left Wing: Phoenix Coyotes
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Pyatt is one of the Coyotes' top goal scorers this season. He is tied with Martin Hanzal and Radim Vrbata with 16 goals on the season. He has 26 points this season, which is already an improvement on his 23-point total from last season.
In 2009, Pyatt was dealt a major blow when his fiancee, Carly Bragnalo, died in a car accident while vacationing in Jamaica. He left the team for a month after producing 16 points in 69 games with Vancouver.
He returned to the lineup in early May when the Canucks were in the playoffs. Although they were eliminated by the Blackhawks in the Western Conference Semifinals, many fans were more than happy to have him back in the lineup.
In the years since the tragedy, Pyatt has only improved his game.
It is never easy to lose a significant other, but Pyatt has coped well and has been able to move on nicely.
There is no way you can't admire that.
Zach Parise, Left Wing: New Jersey Devils
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Zach Parise has been out with a leg injury for the majority of the season, and let me just say that I can see why he must be missed on the Devils roster.
In addition to a great smile and sporting somewhat of a baby face, Parise had six points in 12 games before getting hurt. He also posted 94 points in 2008-09 and 82 points in 2009-10, making him one of the Devils' top forwards.
He played for the USA at the 2010 Winter Olympics, where he put up eight points in six games.
When he isn't showcasing his great hockey abilities, he is a Library Champion with New Jersey's public library system. Parise is a part of a great program that introduces children to the importance of reading.
As if that weren't good enough, this picture was taken during the past offseason. It would be easy for Parise to be sunning on the beach or hitting the slots in Las Vegas, but instead, he is giving up his relaxation time to read a book to a group of kids.
David Booth, Left Wing: Florida Panthers
It's appropriate that Booth plays in Florida, as he is seen here rocking somewhat of a surfer look. Even the crooked smile is kind of adorable.
During the 2008-09 campaign, Booth put up 60 points playing on a normally dismal Panthers team.
This year, he has bounced back well from a devastating concussion suffered last year. He is second on Florida with 36 points in 67 games.
It is no secret that Florida has trouble selling tickets. The situation is so dire that they spent a lot of this season marketing to fans of Panthers opponents who happened to be in Florida.
Maybe they would draw more fans if they put this beauty front and center on their marketing materials.
Ryan Smyth, Left Wing: Los Angeles Kings
Harry How/Getty Images
Smyth has over 1,000 NHL games under his belt, so he has definitely gotten around. He has had stops in Edmonton, Long Island, Colorado and is now in Los Angeles.
In 2007, Smyth was dealt from the Oilers to Long Island. He was so affected by the trade that he shed some tears in a press conference after the trade. He was thankful to everyone who helped him during his time in the organization, from the coaching staff down to his teammates.
You won't have a problem with loyalty if you could have someone like him in your life.
Currently, Smyth has 40 points in 66 games this season with the Kings. He is also a 2002 Olympic gold medalist and a 2007 NHL All-Star.
Paul Bissonnette, Left Wing: Phoenix Coyotes
Yeah, Bissonnette is a fourth liner who doesn't even get to dress in every game, but the females love him, and rightfully so.
Bissonnette is a Twitter star. He has his own line of t-shirts that sell like hotcakes. All the money from those t-shirts go to a Phoenix area homeless shelter, and he even gave up his Thanksgiving holiday to serve dinner to homeless people at a local shelter.
Bissonnette may be all about throwing punches on the ice, but he definitely has a softer side. Even if he eventually ends up settling down with Mrs. Biznasty, he'd make a great friend. He never stops bringing the laughs, and he wouldn't be afraid to protect you if necessary.
Patric Hornqvist, Right Wing: Nashville Predators
Hornqvist plays on a team not really known for their explosive offense, but he is third on Nashville with 34 points this year.
Last year, during his first full year in the NHL, he had 51 points in 80 games. He led the Preds with 30 goals and was tied for the team scoring lead.
He was also a 2010 Olympian with Sweden, posting a goal in the Swedish team's four games.
As far as his appearance goes, I have to say I'm not normally keen on the near bleach blonde hair. However, it works on Hornqvist, and the polo shirt gives him a clean cut look. He is standing with confidence, and it's hard to not like a guy who has confidence but isn't over the top about it.
David Backes, Right Wing: St. Louis Blues
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The Blues are not going in the right direction this year, as they are currently sitting in 13th in the Western Conference with a record of 30-28-9 for 69 points.
However, one player going in the right direction in St. Louis is forward and alternate captain David Backes.
Backes leads the Blues with 48 points and a plus-15 rating. He has already matched his point total from last season and could even match his career high of 54 points, which he posted in 2008-09. His standout play earned him a spot at the 2011 NHL All-Star Game.
Backes looks very approachable here, and I am a fan of curly hair on hockey players, so it works out.
Blues GM Doug Armstrong says that Backes represents the city of St. Louis in a way that the Blues can be proud of and is a cornerstone of the franchise. Despite some tough times, Backes seems to never stop smiling, and that will help the Blues get through their growing pains.
Claude Giroux, Right Wing: Philadelphia Flyers
Giroux has slightly curlier hair than is shown in this picture, and his roster picture from this season also shows him with a missing front tooth.
He has great features, but he is also making a big impact on the Flyers at just 23 years of age.
He currently leads the Flyers with 61 points on the season, which is already an improvement on his 47 points from last year. In November, he earned a three-year contract extension, and in January, he was named to his first All-Star Game.
Giroux's pre-game ritual involves eating a grilled cheese sandwich before going to the rink. It's something so simple, but it helps him appeal to the masses.
You will be hearing about Giroux for a long time. Fortunately, we get to look at him for a long time too. He has the swagger and the talent, so he is the complete package.
Pascal Dupuis, Right Wing: Pittsburgh Penguins
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Dupuis has been with the Penguins since he was traded to Pittsburgh from the Atlanta Thrashers in the 2007-08 season.
His stats may have dropped off this year, as he has just 28 points in 67 games, but he does have some appealing features.
He is a devoted father and has four young children, and he posed with them and their two large breed dogs for the 2010 Penguins and Paws charity calendar. I have to admit, his wife is pretty as well, and he seems to have a great family.
Dupuis also never wears a helmet at warm-ups. Although I do worry about players who do this, as you never know what kind of freak accident can happen, I do know it provides for some great photos.
Do you want evidence of that, girls?
Just send me a message, and I will be happy to oblige.
Dion Phaneuf, Defenseman: Toronto Maple Leafs
Phaneuf came to Toronto in 2009 after spending the first part of his career with the Calgary Flames.
Upon being traded, he scored 10 points in 26 games to finish his season with 32 points. Although it was the second season in a row that his points total went down, he was named the next Maple Leafs captain in the offseason.
He posted two straight seasons of more than 100 penalty minutes, including a career high 182 penalty minutes in 2007-08.
When he was with Calgary, he had a little mishap during a fight with Jarkko Ruutu, who was playing for Vancouver at the time. Phaneuf went to challenge Ruutu, who hit him into the boards, but ended up being embarrassed.
It wasn't for lack of trying, though. He just had trouble staying on his skates.
Phaneuf's current romantic partner is actress Elisha Cuthbert. As you may remember, Rangers forward Sean Avery was not exactly amused when he heard Phaneuf had landed his old flame.
Although I laugh at Avery now, I think I'd rather Phaneuf, who doesn't have a history of indicating to the media that he can't let go of a past relationship.
Kris Letang, Defenseman: Pittsburgh Penguins
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If you have been paying attention to this slideshow, you know that I love one thing about hockey players: the hair.
Well, when I was watching my Penguins one night earlier this season, Kris Letang was the in-between periods interview. I was doing some work, but was stopped dead in my tracks when I saw his hair. Add that to the fact that he was pretty sweaty, and well, my Twitter feed was blowing up with females who were just as captivated as I was.
Sorry, where was I?
Oh yeah, Letang's hockey ability...
Letang has done a turnaround this season and is playing hockey worthy of a Norris Trophy nomination.
He is having the best season of his career with 46 points and a plus-10 rating. He is second on the Penguins in scoring behind the still-injured Sidney Crosby. He is often on the top defensive pairing.
Like many of the other players on this list, he also went to his first All-Star Game this year and was voted in as one of the starters.
If anyone voted for Letang because they wanted to look at him over any other player on the ballot, I wouldn't blame them. Who really cares about the ASG anyway?
Dan Boyle, Defenseman: San Jose Sharks
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Dan Boyle is experienced. And I mean that in the NHL veteran kind of description.
He has appeared in over 700 NHL games and is one of the league's top offensive defensemen. He has posted at least 50 points five times.
In addition, Boyle has won a Stanley Cup with the Tampa Bay Lightning and a gold medal with Team Canada at the 2010 Olympics. He is also a two-time NHL All-Star.
I have seen pics of Boyle both clean shaven and with a little bit of stubble, and I think he looks good both ways.
I bet all that time living in Florida and California while playing for the Cats, Bolts and Sharks has contributed to keeping him attractive. The dark hair makes him look all-around handsome.
John-Michael Liles, Defenseman: Colorado Avalanche
Liles is in his sixth season with Colorado and has been one of the team's consistent scoring defensemen since his arrival.
He has put up at least 30 points every season and has posted 40 points three times. That includes this season, as he already has 42 points.
Liles has also done charity work for The Kempe Foundation, an organization devoted to "the prevention and treatment of child abuse and neglect." In the advertisement, he wears a Batman mask and the slogan "You possess the superhuman power to stop child abuse" is written on a blue backdrop.
He participated in the ad campaign with, among others, Miss Colorado 2009 and Rod Smith, a former Denver Broncos player.
Liles has blonde, curly hair, but it gives him more of a bohemian look, a great alternative to the beach boy or still looks like he's 12 years old look that has already been described in this piece.
Sami Lepisto, Defenseman: Columbus Blue Jackets
The Blue Jackets make their second appearance on this list as we introduce recently acquired defenseman Sami Lepisto.
Prior to being moved to Columbus, Lepisto was in his second season with the Coyotes. He had 11 points and a plus-seven through 51 games and had matched his point output from 2009-10.
He has played three games with the Jackets so far and has no points and a plus-two rating.
According to former Coyotes teammate Paul Bissonnette, Lepisto was one of three bachelors on the team.
There's no better time to take your chances on this handsome Finnish blueliner.
Sergei Gonchar, Defenseman: Ottawa Senators
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Our first Russian on the team, Gonchar, has been around the NHL, playing for the Bruins, the Capitals, the Penguins and now the Senators.
He is a five-time NHL All-Star and 2009 Stanley Cup winner who has hit the 50-point mark eight times in his career. Gonchar is also a great power play quarterback, as almost half of his career goals came on the man advantage.
Gonchar was a big part of the Penguins' run to the 2009 Cup. The team was in 10th place and out of playoff contention when he returned in February of that season after recuperating from a shoulder injury. He was a big part of the reason the Penguins went on an 18-3-4 run to capture the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference.
He has been valuable almost everywhere he has gone, which makes him popular among fans and earns him the respect of his teammates.
By the way, if you are one of those who believes Russians never seem to smile (as was discussed in "Miracle"), check out Gonchar's roster pic.Then tell me that's true.
The 36-year-old makes me smile when he flashes his pearly whites. It's just adorable.
Dustin Byfuglien, Defenseman, Atlanta Thrashers
Claus Andersen/Getty Images
Byfuglien is already unique as one of the few African-American players in the NHL.
He is versatile on the ice, having played defenseman and forward throughout his career. However, he has elected to be a defenseman in his first season with the Thrashers.
Byfuglien was a key part of Chicago's Stanley Cup season last year. He posted 16 points in 22 playoff games, bringing his postseason total to 25 points in 39 playoff games. During the regular season, he set a career high with 34 points (he already has 49 points this season in Atlanta).
He was traded to Atlanta in the offseason as part of Chicago's salary dump to get under the salary cap. But he has done well for himself in Atlanta. In addition to an increased point total, he was named an alternate captain and recently signed a five-year extension with the team.
Byfuglien stands at 6'5" and weighs 235 pounds. With the size of an NFL linebacker, you can have him as both a loyal partner and a personal bodyguard.
Dennis Wideman, Defenseman: Washington Capitals
Wideman has put up 30 points for four consecutive seasons, including this year's current total of 35 points in 66 games.
He started his career in St. Louis and spent three-and-a-half years in Boston. This past offseason, he was sent to Florida in the trade that brought one of the Panthers' only stars, Nathan Horton, to the Bruins. However, he was moved again on deadline day and sent to the Capitals.
Wideman is good for an unintentional laugh, especially if he approaches the shootout like he's had one too many.
Jokes aside, I love this picture. The knit hat seems to be a mandatory part of a hockey player's off-ice attire, and Wideman is wearing it well. His look is simple: very clean cut and a winning smile to boot. He's your classic boy next door.
Ryan Miller, Goaltender: Buffalo Sabres
Ryan Miller is the Sabres franchise goaltender and was one of the top performers, if not the top performer, at the 2010 Olympics for Team USA.
He was a major reason why USA made a Cinderella run to the gold medal game, going 5-0-1 with a .946 save percentage and 1.35 GAA. His efforts earned him tournament MVP.
The 2010 Vezina Trophy winner, Miller currently boasts a record of 29-19-7 through 56 games. He has a .913 save percentage and 2.67 GAA.
In addition to being one of the game's best goaltenders, Miller is also into photography. Prior to the season, he photographed some of his fellow NHL-ers for a Vanity Fair photo shoot.
If you want to check out the photos (which feature some other fine looking NHL players), you can go here.
After looking at those photos, I am pretty sure I wouldn't mind stepping in front of Miller's camera.
Miller is also famous for telling off your mother in Japanese.
Brent Johnson, Goaltender: Pittsburgh Penguins
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Johnson has an interesting legacy in the NHL. For several years, he spent time with the Blues and the Capitals and was a serviceable backup, but not much else.
Sure, he is still a serviceable backup for the Penguins, but he has become somewhat of a cult hero in Pittsburgh.
First, he got off to a hot start when franchise goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury struggled at the start of the season. That start has helped him put together a record of 9-5-3 with a .918 save percentage and 2.24 GAA.
But it was all thanks to a fight with Islanders goaltender Rick DiPietro near the end of a February game that helped his popularity skyrocket.
DiPietro was the one who skated out of the net and dropped his gloves, and Johnson didn't refuse the challenge. He shrugged off the referee trying to keep him away from DiPietro and handled the often-injured Isles goaltender in just a couple of punches. DiPietro was thought to be fine at first, but two days later, the news broke that he had suffered facial fractures.
A little over a week later, Johnson went with Isles forward Michael Haley in a re-match that turned into more of an all-out brawl than an actual game.
If you want another look at his fight with DiPietro, check it out here.
When he's not fighting other goalies, Johnson is also a fan of Led Zeppelin and has had his mask designed after the popular 1970s band.