NHL: The 25 Greatest Hockey Names Ever

Brad Kurtzberg@@sealshockeyContributor IJuly 31, 2012

NHL: The 25 Greatest Hockey Names Ever

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    What's in a name?

    In hockey, sometimes a lot.

    Here is a look at the 25 greatest hockey names ever. No, we're not talking about names like Orr, Gretzky, Esposito, Lemiuex or Howe, but names that are interesting, different or reflect some aspect of the sport of hockey and the way it's played.

    I'm sure I've missed some great names in hockey history and this list is really for fun, so please, add your own or any you feel that I left out.

25. Clayton Stoner

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    While the Wild defenseman is not known for his offensive production, he has played more than 50 games with Minnesota in each of the last two NHL seasons.

    And with a name like Stoner, he's either a tough defensive defenseman or....

24. Lou Nanne

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    Lou Nanne has done just about everything for the old Minnesota North Stars. He has served as a steady defenseman, briefly as head coach and most famously as GM.

    Nanne was the face of the North Stars franchise in the community for years, helping to nurture the professional version of the sport in "The State of Hockey."

23. Bruce Shoebottom

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    Bruce Shoebottom played only 35 career NHL games with the Bruins in the late 1980s and early '90s. He scored all of one career goal and four assists while playing on the Boston blue line.

    While Shoebottom never stood out on the ice, his name remains a hockey classic.

22. Janne Niinimaa

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    Finnish-born defenseman Janne Niinimaa was a steady presence for the Flyers, Oilers, Islanders, Stars and Canadiens in the 1990s and early 2000s.

    Niinimaa certainly has to win some kind of award for the number of vowels featured in his last name. In 741 career NHL games, Niinimaa scored 54 goals and totaled 319 points.

21. Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond

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    Winger Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond has the rare distinction of having a hyphenated first and last name.

    The 6'2", 210-pound native of Levis, Quebec, has played 40 career NHL games with the New Jersey Devils and Calgary Flames.

20. Radek Bonk

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    The Ottawa Senators made Czech Republic native Radek Bonk the third overall choice in the 1994 NHL Entry Draft, selecting him ahead of players like Ryan Smyth, Jeff Friesen and Mattias Ohlund.

    Bonk never became a big scorer as predicted, but he play 14 NHL seasons with the Sens, Canadiens and Predators.

    With a name like Bonk, it should not have been a shock that he became a checking center.

19. Darren Rumble

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    Defenseman Darren Rumble made his living by getting into more than a few fights while playing for the Flyers, Senators, Blues and Lightning in the 1990s and early 2000s.

    Rumble was an All-Star in the AHL but managed to play in just 193 NHL games and scored 10 goals while accumulating 216 penalty minutes.

    The Barrie, Ontario, native later became a minor league coach after his playing career was over.

18. Merlin Malinowski

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    Merlin Malinowski was a journeyman forward for the Rockies, Whalers and Devils in the late 1970s and early '80s.

    "Merlin the Magician" was never an superstar, but he had a memorable name that would have been better served if he had magic hands like Gretzky, Lemieux or Orr.

17. Ron Tugnutt

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    Ron Tugnutt became a successful NHL goalie for seven different teams between 1987-88 and 2003-04.

    Besides his rather unique last name, Tugnutt is best known for making 70 saves in a single game for the Quebec Nordiques against the Boston Bruins on March 21,1991. The game ended in a 3-3 tie despite the fact that Quebec was outshot 73-26.

    Tugnutt retired after the 2003-04 season after playing in 537 career NHL games.

16. Jonathan Quick

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    Jonathan Quick had a great 2011-12 season winning the Conn Smythe Trophy while helping to lead the Los Angeles Kings to their first-ever Stanley Cup title.

    Quick, who does have very fast reflexes, now stands as one of the best goalies in the NHL as he enters the prime of his career.

15. Dave Snuggerud

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    Winger Dave Snuggerud played for the Sabres, Sharks and Flyers from 1989-1993. He also represented the United States at the 1988 Winter Olympics.

    The former University of Minnesota star had one of those names that is just fun to say, and that's why he's on this list.

    He finished his NHL career with 30 goals and 84 points in 265 career games.

14. Larry Playfair

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    Larry Playfair was a tough defenseman for the Sabres and Kings from 1978-1990. Since his retirement, he has worked as a color analyst for Sabres TV.

    Playfair didn't always live up to his last name as he totaled 1,814 penalty minutes in 688 career NHL games.

13. Brad Bombardir

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    Defenseman Brad Bombardir played for the Devils, Wild and Predators after four standout years at the University of North Dakota.

    The Powell River, BC, native served as one of the rotating captains of the Wild during his tenure there.

    Bombardir's career came to a premature end when he suffered a knee injury in 2005-06. He finished his NHL career with 54 points in 356 games.

12. Daren Puppa

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    Goalie Daren Puppa played for the Sabres, Maple Leafs and Lightning between 1985 and 2000.

    Puppa was a standout for Tampa Bay after they selected him in the expansion draft. In 1995-96, Puppa's strong play helped the Lightning reach the playoffs for the first time in franchise history.

    After three years as the starting goalie for the Bolts, a back injury derailed and then ended his career.

11. Bart Crashley

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    Defenseman Bart Crashley was a journeyman player for the Red Wings, Los Angeles Kings and Kansas City Scouts in the NHL and the Los Angeles Sharks of the WHA in the 1960s and '70s.

    Crashley had his best individual season with the Sharks in 1972-73, scoring 18 goals and 45 points in 70 games.

    He also had the perfect hockey name for a big, physical defenseman.

10. Lindy Ruff

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    Sabres Coach Lindy Ruff played in 691 career NHL games for the Sabres and Rangers between 1979 and 1991, scoring 105 goals and totaling 300 points in his playing career.

    Ruff did often live up to his last name, topping 100 penalty minutes in a season six times including a career high 194 in 1981-82.

    He is now the NHL's longest tenured head coach with one team, having been behind the Buffalo bench since 1997-98. He led the Sabres to the Stanley Cup final in 1998-99 where they lost in six games to the Dallas Stars on Brett Hull's controversial winning goal in double overtime.

9. Hnat Domenichelli

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    Hnat Domenichelli played in 267 career NHL games for the Whalers, Flames, Thrashers and Wild between 1996 and 2003.

    Domenichelli was a speedy center who scored a career-high 15 goals with Atlanta in 2000-01.

    His first name was pronounced "Nat" and that last name just rolls off the tongue, earning the fast skating Edmonton native a spot in this countdown.

8. Tony Twist

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    Tough guy Tony Twist scored only 10 goals in 445 career NHL games with the Blues and Nordiques from 1989-1999, but he was one of the toughest fighters in hockey and accumulated 1,121 penalty minutes.

    In addition to great alliteration, Twist's name is a verb which never hurts. His brash style of play and fun name helped earn Twist the No. 8 spot on this list.

7. Jordin Tootoo

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    Jordin Tootoo stands only 5'9" but his lack of height has never stopped him from challenging much bigger opponents. The tough winger became a fan favorite in Nashville because of his agitating and gritty style of play, and he should also be popular with Red Wings fans when he joins the team this fall.

    In 486 career NHL games with Nashville, Tootoo has 125 points and 725 minutes in the sin bin.

    His last name may not fit his style or match his uniform, but it is a great hockey name nonetheless.

6. Miro Satan

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    With high scoring winger Miroslav Satan, the devil is in the details.

    As most hockey fans know, his last name is pronounced Sha-tan, but he bedeviled opposing goalies 363 times in 1,050 NHL games and won two Stanley Cups during his career.

5. Garth Butcher

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    Defenseman Garth Butcher never killed anybody on the ice as far as we know, but he did accumulate 2,302 career penalty minutes in 897 NHL games with the Canucks, Blues, Nordiques and Maple Leafs between between 1981 and 1995.

    Butcher eclipsed the 100-penalty-minute mark in a season 10 times in the NHL.

4. Zarley Zalapski

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    Zarley Zalapski was an offensive-minded defenseman for five different NHL teams in the late 1980s and '90s.

    In addition to a fun and alliterative name, Zalapski had a great nickname: "ZZ Top."

    He finished his NHL career with 99 goals and 384 points in 637 NHL games.

3. Hakan Loob

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    Say his name fast enough, and you'll know why Swedish forward Haken Loob made this list.

    Loob had a career best 50 goals and 106 points with the Flames in 1987-88 but two years later, he returned to his native Sweden to finish his career.

    In six NHL seasons, Loob scored 193 goals and 429 points.

2. Jeff Beukeboom

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    Rugged defenseman Jeff Beukeboom's playing style fit his name perfectly. At 6'5" and 230 pounds, the Ajax, Ontario, native dished out a lot of punishing hits during his 14-year NHL career with the Oilers and Rangers.

    Beukeboom won a total of three Stanley Cups and accumulated 1,890 penalty minutes and 159 points in 804 career NHL games.

    Comedian Mike Myers once ran a promo for the NHL back in 1995-96 saying Beukeboom  was one of the most poetic names in hockey. We certainly agree.

1. Per Djoos

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    Swedish defenseman Per Djoos played only 82 career NHL games for the Red Wings and Rangers over three seasons in the early 1990s, but it was long enough to allow him to reach the top of this list.

    You've got to love a hockey player who's name was pronounced "pear juice."

    Djoos scored two goals and 33 points in the NHL before returning to Sweden where he played for another decade.


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